The Surrender of Breda is a painting created by the Spanish painter Diego Velazquez in Golden Age during 1634-1635. It was based on a real event in the history. It depicts a graceful moment of Spanish triumph over Dutch Republic during the Eighty Year’s War. On June, 1625, the general Ambrogio Spinola, who was a friend of Velazquez, conquered Breda, a military fortress of Dutch. It was commissioned by Philip IV 10 years after the triumph when Breda had already been recaptured by Dutch. And Velazquez painted The Surrender of Breda as a symbol of Spanish nationalism and paid a tribute to Spinola.
Though painting was to advocate for Spanish, the invaders’ triumph, Velazquez did not make propaganda for Spanish “bravery”. Unlike many other typical surrender scenes, in the Surrender of Breda, there is neither heroic victor on horseback nor losers on their knees. Instead, the rivals appear on foot as equals. At the center of the battle painting is the key that stands for the ownership of the city. Velazquez painted Spinola placing his hand on the rival’s shoulder while the Dutchman turns over the key to him. All of these are done in an atmosphere of peace and mutual respect. The winners stand in the right part of the painting, with high and strong horse, dignified soldiers and spears in order, while the losers in the left with scattered fags and spears, making a sharp contrast between two parties. In view far behind, war fire is disappearing, and the flame melt with sunlight into light gray fog. The whole background appears in pale blue, which shows peace and calm. The focus of the painting is not on the war itself, but the reconciliation. It’s considered as one of Velazquez’s best works.