by Nathalie Azoulai
A contemporary of Van Dyck, Bernini and Zurbarán, Diego Velázquez is considered the most Italian Spanish painter because of the major influence Caravaggio and Titian had on him. “The Impressionists rediscovered him in the late 19th century,” said the curator of the current Paris Grand Palais exhibition, Guillaume Kientz. “Edouard Manet called him the painter of painters.” And it shows through every painting by both Velázquez and Manet, the colors, the hints, the softness of a ribbon, a pink fabric's vibrato, artistic soulmates...The rarity of Velázquez's paintings – there are scarcely more than 100 – have made this retrospective a particular challenge. For two years, Kientz has been negotiating with public and private collectors, among which the Madrid Prado that has accepted to lend 7 of its 48 Velázquez paintings. But be ware, this massive exhibition won't include the famous Meninas, a loan too rude to ask the Prado, according to Kientz. But even without them, it's still worth it. Running till July 13, 2015.