Velázquez Painting Analysis

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The Velázquez Painting circa 1618 depicts a scene of a server who works in the kitchen and three other figures who are situated in a room in the background. Compared to the other figures, the server is secluded and, more importantly, distant from the figure who has a faint halo above his head—the Jesus figure—and therefore seems to be the lesser in the spiritual sense. However, despite his or her seclusion and distance, Velázquez places the server figure in the center of the painting. The unusual emphasis given to the server over the Jesus figure and his companions compensates for the spiritual disparity between the server and the Jesus figure. Yet, by utilizing the placement of the kitchenware, the postures of the figures, and the server’s seeingness and hearingness, Velázquez reveals the server’s physical relationship and symbolic transformation from being the lesser to being equivalent to the Jesus figure.
At the bottom right corner of the painting, the clove of garlic is in front of the mortar and pestle, suggesting that the tools and the ingredient are ready to be used. All of the kitchenware on the table is clean and within the server’s reach, implying that the server is in the process of performing a kitchen chore. Judging by the server’s light brown skin and the texture of his or her hair, he or she is probably of African
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The container and the alcarraza rest on each other and have similar designs with a handle on each side. Contrary to the jug and vessel’s relationship, the container and the alcarraza present a more equal and closer relationship by their alikeness and physical contact. With the comparison to the server and the Jesus figure, Velázquez hints on the symbolic similarity between these two items, which mirrors the ideal state of the server—being regarded as equal in the spiritual sense to the Jesus

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