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The Fable of Arachne, c.1657 by Velazquez

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The Fable of Arachne, c.1657 | Velazquez | Painting Reproduction
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Painting Title:

The Fable of Arachne, c.1657


Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velazquez (1599-1660)


Prado Museum Madrid Spain



Original Size:

220 x 289 cm


This painting reproduction will be completely painted by hand with oil paints on a blank linen canvas. We add additional 1.6" (4cm) of blank canvas above the offered size which will be used to stretch the canvas on a stretcher-bar.

The Time it Takes to be Created:

To paint your Velazquez Hand-Painted Art Reproduction time is needed. The painting should not be made too hastily, nor should any deadlines be pursued. For the painting to acquire high quality and precision of detail, time is necessary. It also needs time to dry in order to be completely ready for shipping. Depending on the complexity, the level of detail, and the size of the painting, we'll need 4-5 weeks to make the painting.
Should a change of deadlines become necessary, or should your order arrive at a time when we are overloaded with work, then we will notify you by e-mail concerning how much time we would need to complete your painting reproduction.


We do not frame our oil painting reproductions. Hand-Painted Art Reproduction is an expensive product, and the risks of damaging a painting stretched on a frame during transportation are too high. The Fable of Arachne by Velazquez is, therefore, not framed, and will be sent to you rolled up and packaged in a strong and secure postal tube.
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The reproduction of a painting with oil on a canvas - the process of painting in pictures step by step
The paintings we create are only of museum quality. Our academically trained artists will never allow a compromise in the quality and detail of the ordered painting. TOPofART do not work, and will never allow ourselves to work with low quality studios from the Far East. We are based in Europe, and quality is our highest priority.

Las Hilanderas is a late masterpiece by the Spanish painter Diego Velazquez, painted for Pedro de Arce. The private patronage of the painting has caused it to be shrouded in some mystery, one uncertainty being its date of creation. Stylistic elements, such as the lightness, the economical use of paint, and the clear influence of the Italian Baroque, have lead many scholars to assert that it was painted in 1657. Others place it earlier, at some time between 1644-50, perhaps because certain aspects of its form and content recall the bodegones Velazquez painted in his early career.
The second ambiguity concerns the subject matter. Traditionally, it was believed that the painting depicted women workers in the tapestry workshop of Santa Isabel. In 1948, however, Diego Angula observed that the iconography suggested Ovid's Fable of Arachne, the story of the mortal Arachne who dared to challenge the goddess Athena to a weaving competition and, in losing the contest, was turned into a spider. This is now generally accepted as the correct interpretation of the painting.
In Las Hilanderas, Velazquez developed a layered composition, an approach he had often used in his earlier bodegones, such as the Kitchen Scene with Christ in the House of Martha and Mary. In the foreground is the contest. The goddess Athena, disguised as an old woman, is on the left and Arachne, in a white top facing away from the viewer, is on the right. Three helpers assist them. In the background, a raised platform (perhaps a stage) displays the finished tapestries. The one visible to us is Arachne's, showing The Rape of Europa - another Greek myth. This is in fact a copy of Titian's version of the subject, which was in the Spanish royal collection.
The painting has been interpreted as an allegory of the arts and even as a commentary on the range of creative endeavor, with the fine arts represented by the goddess and the crafts represented by Arachne. Others think that Velazquez' message was simply that to create great works of art, both great creativity and hard technical work are required. Other scholars have read political allegories into the work.

Reviews (1)

Topic: The Fable of Arachne, c.1657 by Velazquez
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Velazquez - The Fable of Arachne (Las Hilanderas)

Painted between 1644 and 1648, the painting represents a scene in Juan Alvarez' tapestry and carpet workshop in Madrid.

In the background hangs a tapestry with a representation of Ariadne, in which Veronese motifs appear. The mythological title, attested by ancient sources, is valid only for the tapestry; for the picture as a whole the title of Las Hilanderas, the Tapestry Weavers (caught at their work in the textile factory), is more justified. Here, too, the over-all composition is of an extreme simplicity: two diagonal lateral wings, lighted in contrast to the shadowed background; in the centre a triangular figure against the light, contrasting with the background illuminated by a vivid blade of sunlight; stepped planes moving in alternate lateral jumps towards the background. The scene is a striking close-up. As in the master's last period, and through the impulse derived from his Italian visits, Velazquez, without abandoning his Caravaggesque compositions of linked masses and dialectics of light and dark, is more and more attracted to the pictorial freedom of the Venetians.

He is taken by their direct impasto, quivering brushwork, the charm of a dense, warm atmosphere rendered by nuances and reflections. The approach permits an improbable perspective (elsewhere the perspective is strict and measured) to obtain a more intimate movement on all sides - the weavers and the women - with the pulsating effects of light which gives a vitally cheerful movement to the scene. Here are seen some of the most exceptional and original renderings of movement, as in the hand of the girl on the right, which is multiplied to indicate its gesture, and in other parts that are veiled or caught in action, like the spinning-wheel.
20th December 2015 1:36pm

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