The Waterseller of Seville, by Velázquez
The Waterseller of Seville is a Baroque painting by the Spanish painter Diego Velázquez (he was the main representative painter of Baroque in the Hispanic Monarchy) The painting was finished in 1620 and nowadays it’s located in The Wellington Museum in London. The story of why the painting is in London is the following: At first the painting was a present for the priest Juan de Fonseca and it was used to let him in the Court of Madrid, then Ferdinand VII gave the painting as a present for the British general Arthur Wellesley to show gratitude for the British collaboration in the Peninsular War.
It belongs to the Baroque movement and it also belongs to the first painting stage of Velázquez, in this stage he painted many paintings which have religious and ordinary themes (as this one)
The dimensions of the painting are: 106 x 82 cm and its technique is Oil on canvas (predominant since the Renaissance)
The painting is representing a daily situation, in which a waterseller, a young boy and a man in the background drinking something, are represented. The theme of the painting is simple: the portrait of a waterseller but there’s a theory that says that this painting is like an allegory of the three ages of the man. And there is also a theory that says that the young boy is the same boy who appears in another Velázquez’s painting: Old Woman Frying Eggs
Velázquez in this painting used a large range of brown and ochre colors, and also the contrast between the dark background and the foreground is an important feature of the Waterseller of Seville. The composition is complex, because the painting is divided like in two triangular blocks, on one side we have the triangle in which the heads of the men are, and on the other side we have the triangle in which the two vases and the glass of water are.
There’s a detail inside the glass of water:
(I have made this photo)
As a painting of the Baroque period, The Waterseller of Seville, has many Baroque’s painting features: The painter received a lot of influence by the Italian painter Caravaggio through copies of his works which came from Italy to the Iberian Peninsula.
- A great realism (you only have to see the great detail of the glass of water of the dents of the vane)
- Contrast of light and shadow
- Complex composition
- The technique was oil on canvas
A curiosity about the Waterseller of Seville is that Velázquez made three different versions of the painting:
(I have made this photo)
- Book of “Artis, Historia del Arte (Bachillerato Segundo Curso)”
- “Espasa enciclopedia”