Friday, December 26, 2008

Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velásquez

Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velásquez. Holiday Breakfast with Booberry and Joint, 1618.

Ah, Professor Wundrum's holiday post did dredge up the memories -- long walks in the snow in Leiden, holiday trips to Zaanse Schans, huddling under the covers to await Sinterklaas! I must say, this holiday season was not terribly different for me, though instead of traipsing amongst the canals of Holland, I basked in the glow of the beautiful tree at Rockefeller Center! New York City is truly a wonder. And instead of waiting for Sinterklaas, as I did as a boy, I hid my present to myself (a new stocking cap stuffed full of candied plums) under my tea cozy and went to bed early to finish the most recent issue of Granta.

Indeed, the wakker en bak subjects of Velásquez's painting (A Spaniard! Few painted lush buds with such raw, sensual emotion!) remind me muchly of my childhood -- a bottle of Mr. Boston's egg nog, a fresh box of Booberry (a seasonal dish, meaning that one must save it for at least a month in order to enjoy it during the holidays!), a smouldering joint.

And much like my own experience, the three men (an elder, a virile youth, a child) are frugal and perhaps poor, but their enjoyment of the Christmas spirit is undiminished. I must say that I enjoy this, one of Velásquez's earliest post-apprenticeship paintings, more than some of his later courtly paintings; perhaps his embroilment in the intrigues of Philip II curbed his impulses toward the lower classes, or perhaps he simply became too comfortable. Ah, well -- we have this, for now! And for me, there is a bag of freshly candied plums from Harry & David, and and Siri Hustvedt on the anxiety of influence! Merry Christmas to all!

1 comment:

Hermann Wundrum said...

Jan, your delightful post has filled my senses with many things: the tang of candied plums, the mash of Booberries and milk (and brings to mind a tattered copy of Spooky Sereals), the fragrances of fresh smoke, an image of Valasquez's Youth with Bong and Old Woman Cooking Eggs and the taste of Bergamot.