Today, in our second On the Square essay, Patricia Snow reflects on the work of Diego Velázquez and what the recent discovery of a lost Velázquez painting at Yale University Art Gallery might tell us about the artist:
If The Education of the Virgin is a Velázquez, it both integrates what he had already achieved—the painting is at once a religious painting, a scene from ordinary life, and a portrait—and anticipates everything important still to come, namely his long career in portraiture and his late great masterpiece, Las Meninas (1656). Indeed, if the attribution is correct, we have been given a kind of early bookend, a reference point for thinking about Velázquez’ career as a whole. It is as if the hidden end of a long see-saw had arisen out of the past. From a little girl looking out from a painting early in Velázquez career, to a very different little girl looking out from another painting in 1656, Velázquez travelled a long way, and not entirely in a felicitous direction.