Temptation of St.Thomas Aquinas (c.1631 – c.1632) by Diego Velazquez

Temptation of St.Thomas Aquinas - Diego Velazquez - c.1631 - c.1632

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Artwork Information

TitleTemptation of St.Thomas Aquinas
ArtistDiego Velazquez
Datec.1631 - c.1632
Dimensions203 x 244 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationOrihuela Cathedral, Orihuela, Spain

About Temptation of St.Thomas Aquinas

The artwork “Temptation of St. Thomas Aquinas,” created by the celebrated Baroque artist Diego Velazquez circa 1631-1632, embodies the religious fervor and compelling dramatic narratives emblematic of its period. Executed with oil on canvas, it bears the significant dimensions of 203 by 244 centimeters and is currently housed at the Orihuela Cathedral in Orihuela, Spain. As a religious painting, it stands as a testimony to Velazquez’s skill in illustrating spiritual themes with emotive force and visual intensity.

The artwork depicts a poignant moment in the life of St. Thomas Aquinas, who is shown being assailed by the tempting allure of a seductively dressed figure. The central figure of St. Thomas, robed in the black and white of his Dominican order, seems to resist the advances with a composed demeanor, his gaze averted from the allurements before him. An angel intervenes from behind, rewarding his virtuous resistance by draping a pure white girdle around his waist, symbolizing the gift of chastity. The angel’s dynamic position and the spread of its wings add a theatrical air to the narrative.

To the left, there is a doorway through which a figure appears to look on, adding a sense of depth and a narrative layer to the painting. Velazquez has also included symbolic elements such as scattered books and writing implements on a small table, indicating the scholar’s abandonment of temporal concerns in favor of spiritual purity. The artwork’s chiaroscuro enhances the tension within the scene, focusing the viewer’s attention on the interaction between the saint, the temptress, and the angel. The rich colors, the interplay of textures, and the masterful representation of fabrics underscore Velazquez’s acumen in exploring religious subject matter with technical prowess and emotional depth.

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