Velazquez

There is less difference between the early, middle and late works. In the first, The Drinkers reveals his characteristic flattening, smudging abbreviation of unaccented parts, bringing into strong relief the lighted head of the god. It is in dark, autumnal browns, reds and golds. In the middle years he makes more use of fresh, clear, daylight blues, greens and whites, and is less daring, more conventional in subject and form. The Lances (1172) is apt to be felt as a rather banal, academic piece of exact representation, until one realizes that much imitation has made it so. Its fresh, gay coloring is, however, more original than its design of spears and soldiers. The third period is most versatile of all, with much specialization; each picture carries some technical problem to its logical extreme. The Buffoon Pernia (1199) is an extreme of simplification into flat, broad color-planes, in light vermilion and gray, some-what like the best Chinese mortuary portraits. The Idiot of Coria (1205) is nearest to Rembrandt, in its dark greenish, melting shadows and soft glowing yellow lights. Moenippus (1207) is radically distorted, with compressed, elongated features and sprays of repeated curves. Mariana of Austria (1191) is his most gorgeous design of rich, realistic textures, in full splendor of rose and gold silks against dull black and silver-gray. Mercury and Argos (1175) is the most simplified and sketchy, blurring all details in a swimming mist of thin reds and browns, but leaving a firm rhythmic foundation of solid limbs.