The Fable of Arachne or the Spinners by Diego Velazquez

The Fable of Arachne or the Spinners was made by Diego Velazquez at the age of 58. This painting was according to the legend "Metamorphosis". In ancient times, there was a common female Aniekeci who invented the spinning and weaving, which annoyed the goddess Athena. Athena angrily took the smart girl into a spider. God felt this very unfair and restored the girl’s original beauty and wisdom and made Athena become the ugly old woman. Actually the painter took advantage of the scene which the female workers worked in the Spanish royal tapestry.

In this painting’s layout, the figures were arranged symmetrically. The prospect figures were in the darkness, but the background was bright, forming the sharp contrast. Figures in the darkness were highlighted by the condensing light to form the different visual hierarchy. A beam of light casted on the female worker on the right who was dressed in white skirt and dark blue dress, who was the most perfect figure in European paintings. The painter carefully depicted her working scene. Through the tight white skirt and naked neck, she showed the female plump, vigorous and energetic beauty. The soft curve changes in her cheek and neck as well as the line depiction of her plump body made the female shape with great artistic charm and embodied the aesthetic concept of the painter. Other figures had become the foil of the protagonist. Through the arch in the middle, there was another bright world: a group of ladies were enjoying the tapestry. These ladies were not only the real noble ladies in the court, but also contained various meanings: they represented the painting, sculpture, architecture and the art of music. Their comfortable life and the busy work of the female workers formed the sharp contrast. The painter’s deliberate arrangement aggravated this painting’s social significance, showing the painter’s special feelings for the lower people. This Velazquez painting was very colorful and constituted the rhythm of changes in the use of light and shade. As critics said, “Every stroke is the truth.”

The Fable Of Arachne Or The Spinners 1656

The Fable Of Arachne Or The Spinners 1656

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