The philosophers of laughter: Velazquez' portraits of jesters at the court of Philip IV
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractPrevious art historical scholarship has approached the portraits of court jesters painted for the Buen Retiro Palace by Diego Velazquez between the late 1620s and 1630s as fascinating character studies that provided the artist with the opportunity to display psychological nuances and to experiment with painterly techniques that were precluded in his formal portraits of the royal family and members of the court. In addition, they have been discussed as an interesting intermingling of Northern and Southern Italian traditions of jester and dwarf imagery. This thesis will show that Velazquez was also deliberately including sophisticated references to prevailing philosophical ideas concerning inverted realities, and that these paintings, as well as their placement, provide information about the function of the jester as an instrument of opposition and comparison for the monarch at the court of Philip IV.
Degree ProgramGraduate College