Monday, June 4, 2007

Paintings I Like, pt. 8

Diego Velázquez, Innocent X, 1650. Oil on canvas, 56" x 47."

I'm going to resist the temptation to reel off superlatives about this portrait, I'll just offer this: apparently Pope Innocent X was unhappy with it because he said it was "too real."

Giovanni Battista Pamphili (his real name) was a voracious art collector, and his will stipulated that his collection could not be broken up after his death. The Doria Pamphili collection in Rome, which houses this picture and the equally impressive Bernini portrait-bust, is testament to the fact that wealth and a good eye are not always companions. The vast majority of the collection could be housed in the dumpster, and the history of western art would be none the worse for it.