I was very happy to see this painting on my last visit to the Met. It was my first encounter with it and I was floored immediately. This is one of the many amazing works of art the Met keeps in storage because they don't have enough exhibition space, so the only works to be displayed are by the biggest names in art history. Juan de Valdes Leal is a name I've never heard of, but I didn't care because I was so into the work. Maybe its my Hispanic heritage that responds to Spanish paintings, with their wonderful use of rich earth tones. What I like the most about this painting is seeing that the artist was not being precious about what he was doing. When looking at the canvas up close you can witness quick brush strokes piled on top of each other. That's why I love old master paintings because they are usually very expressionistic, sometimes blobs of paint can be found throughout a composition. Velazquez and Rembrandt are a good example of thick quick paint applications. These guys new what they were doing and they knew just how to drop the brush on the canvas. Juan de Valdes Leal was no exception.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Pieta, probably 1657-60
oil on canvas, 63 1/4 x 56 1/2 inches
Victor Wilbour Memorial Fund, 1954
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York