Diego Velazquez A Venus at Her Mirror
La Venus del espejo, also known as The Rokeby Venus or A Venus at Her Mirror, is a painting by Diego Velázquez in the National Gallery, London. It dates from 1644 to 1648. In the painting the goddess Venus is depicted lying on a bed, looking into a mirror held up by Cupid. The face reflected in the dimmed mirror appears to be that of an older woman, which has long intrigued experts. Some think it is a commentary on the vanity of beauty which is transitory due to aging. Some think the face in the mirror was over-painted by another artist at a later time. Another explanation is that the face is not aged, merely out of focus, a sharper face would distract our immediate attention from the form of Venus. By seeing the nude first, and the face afterwards, we are "caught" in voyeurism. The face in the mirror is also substantially larger than it should be, and the mirror is angled such that, in reality, it would reflect a different part of the goddess's body. The painting is unique for being the only surviving female nude by Velázquez, and one of only two such paintings in all of 17th-century Spanish art, which was often censored by the Spanish Inquisition. It was revolutionary for its depiction of the nude female form with its back facing the viewer. The composition has only three main colours: red, white and grey, which include the pigment of Venus's skin.
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