Alone with Velazquez

It is an unalloyed joy to be alone with possibly the greatest portrait ever painted, the glowering look of Pope Innocent X notwithstanding, the way the sitter both questions from on high yet looks pinned down by the painter’s searching- but today that was my experience in the Doria Pamphilj palace in Rome, which hosts the great masterpiece by Velazquez.

As an artist it is particularly absorbing to be able to copy and yet never quite reach the limits of a great artist’s finest work, yet one must always try. This doesn’t of course mean it has to be in the same medium, or be faithful optically, but the search implied in the act is worth every minute, if only to understand.

So, sketchbook in hand, I took the central part of the portrait and drew in pen on paper.

Dom Ramos.

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