Sign in  |  Register

The New Criterion

It operates as a refuge for a civilizing element in short supply in contemporary America: honest criticism
- The Wall Street Journal


January 2007

Velázquez in London

by Christie Davies

On "Velázquez" at the National Gallery, London.

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez is often thought of as a painter of people but his early pictures are best regarded as still lifes. Three Musicians (1616–1617) should be renamed “Bread on a table napkin,” Tavern Scene (1616–1617) should be called “Knife and bursting Pomegranate,” and An Old Woman Cooking Eggs (1618) “Eggs being Cooked.” These early paintings, all of them on view in this excellent exhibition at the National Gallery in London, organized by the American art scholar Dawson W. Carr, are remarkable not for the people in them but for the objects.[1] The party line on these early paintings is that they show how the young Velázquez was able to use his precocious skills to dignify the humble; he was not just a court painter. What we actually see are stereotypes; youngsters with crude sim ...

This article is available to subscribers and for individual purchase

Subscribe to TNC (Print and Online editions)

Subscribe to TNC (Online only)

Purchase article credit and clip this article

If you already have an account login first

Christie Davies's most recent book is Jokes and Targets (Indiana).

more from this author

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 25 January 2007, on page 53

Copyright © 2015 The New Criterion |

E-mail to friend

The New Criterion

By the author

Love bites

by Christie Davies

On “Love Bites: Caricatures by James Gillray” at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Exhibition notes

by Christie Davies

On "Rubens and His Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne” at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

You might also enjoy

The Wadsworth Atheneum reborn

by Marco Grassi

On the newly renovated Wadsworth Atheneum.

Caro in Yorkshire

by Karen Wilkin

On “Caro in Yorkshire” at The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Exhibition note

by Alexandra Mullen

On "Alice: 150 Years of Wonderland” at The Morgan Library & Museum.

Most popular

view more >

Subscribe to our newsletter!

* indicates required


The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
On May 5, 2014, The New Criterion and PJ Media presented the second Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity. The award is given to highlight egregious examples of dishonest reporting. Also awarded this year was the Rather, a new award for lifetime achievement in mendacious journalism.
The Duranty Prize is named after Walter Duranty, the New York Times Moscow corresponded in the 1920s and 1930s who whitewashed Joseph Stalin’s forced starvation of the Ukrainians (the Holodomor) and many other aspects of Soviet oppression. Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his efforts. It has never been revoked.
Audio copyright Ed Driscoll,

Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
Roger Kimball introduces The Kennedy Phenomenon, a conference presented by The New Criterion on Tuesday, November 19.

The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"
Roger Kimball reads Peter Collier’s paper on oft-overlooked unsavory details of the Kennedys' lives. Much of the paper is drawn from Collier’s book, coauthored with David Horowitz, The Kennedys: An American Drama.