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The Surrender Of Breda

Painting, 1635, 307×367 cm

Description of the artwork «The Surrender Of Breda»

"The Surrender Of Breda" Diego Velazquez is one of the most famous and important works of European historical painting. Large-scale painting (307 x 367 cm) was created specifically for the newly built Royal residence of Buen Retiro (unfortunately destroyed during the offensive on Madrid, the French in the early nineteenth century). The name of the castle Buen Retiro translates from Spanish as "blessed solitude". However, his design, which was done by the king's first Minister, the Duke Gaspar Guzman, count de Olivares (1, 2, 3), was not intimate, and extremely solemn and ceremonial. "The surrender of Breda" was only one of 20 large paintings, which were intended for the Hall of kingdoms, and was supposed to glorify the military feats and conquests of the Spanish monarch (and the patron of Velazquez) Philip IV.

Breda – Dutch city, an important strategic point in the war with Spain, the Netherlands. Predominantly Protestant Netherlands, sought to defend their independence from Catholic Spain. But Madrid, whose crown in the early seventeenth century combined, almost half of the territories of the Old and the New world, did not want to lose their Northern colonies. In 1625, the year heroically resisted Breda was besieged by the Spaniards. For nine months the siege continued. And after all of the Nonsense fell under the pressure of the Spaniards.

Velasquez shows the moment when the commandant of the Dutch Fort, Justin of Nassau with a nod sends the key to the Spanish Admiral Ambrosio Spinola, which, in turn, respectfully patting an opponent on the shoulder. Portraying the Central group, Velasquez almost literally quotes the painting by Peter Paul Rubens "The meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek".

We see no confrontation between the bitter rivals and not shameful surrender of the city, and perhaps the act of signing the world. Both commander are full of nobility and valor: Velasquez treats the keys of Breda almost like a meeting between old friends. Only groups of officers on either side of them show that there are winners and losers. The winners of the Spanish left. Slim number of Spanish copies looks at the sky: their density indicates the number of the Spaniards, and the fact that spears are almost parallel, in their brilliant military discipline. The Dutch left, by contrast, appear fragmented and confused. But the Spaniard Velasquez very carefully refers to the self-esteem of opponents: he is not showing them either broken or humiliated. By the way, "Surrender of Breda" also known under the alternative title "Spears" and in the extreme right of the Spanish (with the handlebar mustache, the proud look and a hat with a plume), many researchers have seen the self-portrait.

No, Justin of Nassau, nor Ambrosio Spinola (whom Velasquez was briefly familiar) failed to appreciate the magnificent art of Velazquez: by the time of the creation of the painting (about 1635) neither one nor the other was already dead. But painting saved them for history. Now every once in the halls of Madrid's Prado, may own eyes to look at one of the most objective historical paintings in history. Here, neither side shows more right or less noble than the other, and the winner and losers demonstrated unprecedented between enemies of mutual respect.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Genre scene

Style of art: Baroque

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1635

Size: 307×367 cm

Artwork in selections: 20 selections

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