Head of a Man (c.1616) by Diego Velazquez

Head of a Man - Diego Velazquez - c.1616

Artwork Information

TitleHead of a Man
ArtistDiego Velazquez
Dimensions40 x 36 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationHermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia

About Head of a Man

“Head of a Man,” an artwork by Diego Velazquez, was created circa 1616 and is executed in oil on canvas, characteristic of the Baroque period. The artwork’s dimensions are approximately 40 x 36 cm, falling within the realm of portraiture. This piece is housed in the Hermitage Museum located in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The artwork showcases a profile view of a man looking upwards towards the left. The painting captures a moment of seeming introspection or concentration, with the subject’s eyes appearing engaged and his mouth slightly open as if mid-conversation or deep in thought. The color palette predominantly features earth tones, with a rich sienna-orange for the man’s clothing, contrasting against the paler tones of his collar and the subdued background that provides little distraction from the subject.

Velazquez’s skill in rendering the texture of skin and fabric is evident, with the collar’s fabric appearing crisp against the softer material of the man’s garment. The light source, coming from the painting’s left, highlights the curvature of the man’s face, nose, and the outline of his lifted chin, giving a three-dimensional feel to the composition. The brushwork is subtle yet deliberate, building form and volume through the interplay of light and shadow—a technique typical of Baroque art that aims to evoke emotion and the feeling of presence.

Overall, “Head of a Man” is an exemplary piece of Velazquez’s early work, showcasing his mastery over portraiture and his ability to convey character and mood through his art.

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