Sunday, October 29, 2006

Velázquez of the Day

A painting from one of the 17th century's great masters.

The Needlewoman (1640). A simple portrait in whose details we can find a template for the cosmos. Faint brushstrokes establish the play of movement in hands & shoulders.

The highlighted bust: a robust physical reminder in the middle of drab clothing and dutiful work. Our bodies are not ephemeral; and as Wilheilm Reich and Robert Bresson might have agreed after a long conversation (or a short one), we don't have bodies, we are our bodies. Appearance is only the first step towards recognition of immanence. Compare.

Intent eyes, downcast--concentrated upon labor, and mysterious and complete in themselves to the viewer. Here is evidence of a psyche that is opaque and inscrutable to us. Compare.


phyrephox said...

Fascinating break-down, I wasn't even familiar with this Velásquez. The rhyme of the hands is impressive, but for all of Bresson's many, many moments of actors looking down (and then up, and then down), I think there could be a better shot of the downcast, introspective girl.

Zach Campbell said...

Yeah, the shot could have been better, but I was just scanning what I could find on the Web, and was going more for thematic suggestiveness rather than graphic correspondence ...