The Waterseller of Seville (1623) by Diego Velazquez

The Waterseller of Seville - Diego Velazquez - 1623

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Waterseller of Seville
ArtistDiego Velazquez
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions81 x 106.7 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationApsley House, (Wellington Museum), London, UK

About The Waterseller of Seville

“The Waterseller of Seville” is a renowned artwork by the artist Diego Velazquez, painted in the year 1623. This oil on canvas masterpiece is a prime example of the Baroque art movement and is primarily a portrait genre piece. It measures 81 by 106.7 centimeters and is currently housed at Apsley House, also known as the Wellington Museum, located in London, United Kingdom.

In the artwork, we observe a scenario likely set in the streets of Seville, depicting an elderly waterseller offering a glass of water to a young boy. The figure of the waterseller is dominant in the composition, his features detailed and expressing the marks of time and experience. His keen eyes are directed towards the boy, watching him as he is about to drink. The waterseller’s clothing suggests a simple and humble status, yet he carries a sense of dignity and poise in his posture.

What is particularly striking in the work is Velazquez’s masterful use of light and shade, creating a vivid sense of realism and depth. The contrasting textures of the clothing, the gleaming surfaces of the earthenware vessels, and the transparency of the water in the glass are rendered with extraordinary skill, demonstrating Velazquez’s technical prowess.

The scene is composed with an economy of elements, yet it speaks volumes about the social context of the period it portrays. There is a third figure, an undefined man in the background, whose blurred features gaze outwards, adding a layer of depth and enigma to the composition, and perhaps representing a silent observer of the common transaction.

Overall, the understated dignity of the waterseller, the attentive gaze of the boy, and the nuanced interplay of light contribute to a composition rich in texture, character, and narrative, marking it as one of Velazquez’s early masterpieces.

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