After Velázquez: Letters
In this set of letters I am interested in Velazquez’s use of the mysterious blank letters in many of his paintings. It seems to be a sort of artist signature, but they are left blank. I wonder what he is trying to tell us? What new symbolic meanings might these letters have had or might they have the ability to take on. It is very interesting that we have very little of Velazquez’s writing especially because he served in many ways as a sort of ambassador or representative of King Philip IV of Spain. Velazquez was very interested in literature on art theory and practice. Upon his death his library contained around 154 books mostly related to the art of painting. It is important to understand that very few members of society outside of nobility and clergy were literate. Individuals who owned 20-30 books were considered scholars during this age. In understanding this, I was interested in what those close to Velazquez might be able to tell us and if these insights might fill the space of the letters. By chance, I happened to find quotes by Rubens and Pacheco who both were great mentors to Velazquez. These quotes about Velazquez might offer painting recipes and dictates or fulfill any number of needs. They also provide a personal outlet for me to communicate with Velazquez. Alongside the letters, I was interested in recreating the spaces of the painting environment that they might have existed in. I am beginning to consider the interaction of present day spaces by including an image from Seville from goggle maps near the church of San Pedro where Velazquez was baptized. I found it curious that the rock in the image is signed with the initials TK and this coincidence reflects the traditional artist’s signature sometimes present in paintings. Materials are very important in these sets and include items specific to the creation of Velazquez’s original paintings. I am interested in exploring sincerity and investigative humor in these actions of recreation. I am also interested in weaving together narratives of truth and fiction that mirror an eccentric form of art historical research.