The Tapestry Weavers (c.1655 – c.1660; Spain) by Diego Velazquez

The Tapestry Weavers - Diego Velazquez - c.1655 - c.1660; Spain

Artwork Information

TitleThe Tapestry Weavers
ArtistDiego Velazquez
Datec.1655 - c.1660; Spain
Dimensions220 x 289 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationMuseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

About The Tapestry Weavers

“The Tapestry Weavers,” also known as “The Fable of Arachne,” is a mythological painting by the Baroque artist Diego Velazquez dating from approximately 1655 to 1660. This oil on canvas masterpiece has dimensions of 220 x 289 cm and resides at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain. Its genre reflects a blend of daily life scenes, the world of work, and intricate mythological elements.

The artwork portrays a tapestry workshop with several figures engaged in the process of weaving. The foreground shows the physical labor involved in weaving, with weavers depicted amidst their tools and materials, capturing the realism for which Velazquez is renowned. A group of women is visible, engaged in various tasks, including spinning yarn and managing the loom. The scene conveys a sense of communal effort and concentration on the meticulous craft.

A key focal point of the painting lies in the background, where a tapestry is being displayed that illustrates a scene from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”—the story of the goddess Minerva and the mortal woman Arachne. These mythological elements, blended with the realistic depiction of the weavers, invoke the theme of artistry and its relation to divine talent.

The subdued color palette and careful attention to light and shadow reveal the typical characteristics of Velazquez’s style within the Baroque period. The painting is known not only for its representation of mythological narrative but also for its commentary on the nature of illusion and realism in art.

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