Object 2 : Diego Velázquez’s painting The Rokeby Venus

May 27, 2021

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This painting was created by Diego Velazquez between 1647-1651 and now displayed at The National Gallery. It’s the first nude oil painting from the back of a woman figure in history and therefore a significant part of the art history.

This painting is hence included in this exhibition as an example emphasizing how a historical painting led to controversies back then along with more recent controversies as it was slashed by a female activist whilst on display at the national gallery almost 300 years after Velazquez painted it. This indicates the similarities of the perception of art between 17th century and 21st century. This illustrates the subjective nature of art as a communicator of knowledge and how that may lead to further challenges surfacing because of the different ways it was received by the public at different points in history.

I have also included this painting in this exhibition because it emphasizes the challenges raised from the view of ‘beauty’ raised from a female activist. It is debatable up to this day as some people still view this art piece as a “paradigm of female beauty”1, and some simply view it as a work of art. This accentuates that through the communication of Velazquez’s painting beauty can be seen through different angles.

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