Kenneth Clark on Velazquez

by John Holbo on May 15, 2017

No one is willing to wait in moderation for God-knows-how-long on a Sunday to see their comments to my Samurai Jack post finally show. Evidently, it’s just not worth the trouble! Well, here’s some more elevated art criticism. I’m reading a Kenneth Clark essay on Velazquez, and he’s remarking on how we prefer the buffoons and dwarfs. “Take away the carapace of their great position, and how pink and featureless the King and Queen become, like prawns without their shells.” That’s true! He looks like a prawn. Her, too. How did I miss it before?




John Holbo 05.15.17 at 7:02 am

But I disagree with Clark that looking like a shelled prawn makes you uninteresting. Humans who look like prawns are interesting.


Francis Spufford 05.15.17 at 10:13 am

Isn’t the feeler-like moustache essential to the crustacean effect?


John Holbo 05.15.17 at 10:45 am

But note how, in the linked image, that feather thing in her hair is kind of like a prawn tail. Remarkable.


Val 05.15.17 at 11:23 am

He also looks as if he has misapplied lipstick on, but that is probably the painter’s fault.


Jesús Couto Fandiño 05.15.17 at 2:12 pm

Ah, the late Austrias. A case example on why “marry your cousin” is not a winning long term strategy for producing head of state.


john c. halasz 05.16.17 at 4:17 am

I’m sure you’re familiar with the works of Arcimboldo, not exactly restricted to the exoskeletons of crustaceans, but close enough:

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