The Jester

The Jester

There is a much complete series of jesters painted by Diego Velázquez (1599-1660), Don Sebastian de Morra is my favourite one. In all those paintings portraying these misshapen, fool human beings which are really unique in the history of Art, Velazquez is capable of bringing out his innate sense of elegance, a certain distance, a great tenderness and deep respect for the models whom he never derides. The melancholic expressiveness, a cautious and discreet look in their eyes, the wonderful red and green harmony of the clothes. The painter Ramon Gaya wrote beautiful and accurate words on these paintings:

‘All the scholars devoted to Velazquez have tried to decipher every probable meaning hidden in the series of jesters. Most of the time, they have turned Velazquez into a kind and tender man whose masterful hand is resting on these unfortunate human beings. Sometimes, he apparently has an impartial eye and reaches, like a scientist, the pathologic centre of those small individuals. He has been turned into a humourist, a social critic; from time to time, some have considered him a mere painter, that is, an aesthete barely interested in painting bulges. In front of these silly jesters, so ridiculous and pathetic for most of us, Velazquez is the only one who understands he is in front of God. These paintings are sort of altars, painted altars where the reality is safe, this is the beautiful, dark and heavenly quality of these paintings.’

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