Spanish Still-Life Painters: Find Out Interesting Information about Bodegon Painting

bodegon definition

We are accustomed to the French “nature morte” and the English “still life”, but there is another term that still life is called today – bodegon.

In Spanish, “bodegon” means “tavern”. Initially, this word was used to refer to paintings depicting cuisine, food, game, fish, dishes, merchants, and cooks, as well as scenes with commoners busy with food and drink. Such images were attributed to the bodegon painting. In fact, bodegones combined the everyday scene and Spanish still-life.

As an independent genre, bodegones emerged in Spain – the name appeared in the 17th century. Although the genre was considered “low” in the highest artistic circles, many eminent artists paid serious attention to the bodegon. The creator of the genre is the Spanish painter and printmaker Francisco Herrera the Elder; his student was the famous Diego Velazquez. More than a dozen bodegons have survived, belonging to his brush.

For Spanish bodegones of the 17th-18th centuries. Characteristic of the realism and “pomp” of snacks and drinks in transparent glasses. The paintings often feature flowers and fruits that adorn the banquet table.

Spanish Still-Life Painter

This article presents a selection of the most significant and famous paintings by Diego Velazquez, the most famous painter of the “golden age” of Spanish painting. The largest collection of paintings (about 50) is in the Prado Museum in Madrid. That is why this museum is a must-see. As you read all the information, you will understand what is a bodegon and its significance.

Old Woman Frying Eggs

Spanish still life

An Old Lady’s Fried Eggs is one of the young Velazquez’s most famous paintings, painted around 1618 and currently on display at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh. Before entering the “golden cage” and becoming the court painter of King Philip IV of Spain, Velazquez painted many beautiful still lives.

Bodegon is a naturalistic genre of Spanish painting that combines elements of genre painting and still life. This term was first used by Francisco Pacheco – the teacher himself, and then by Diego Velazquez.

Three Musicians

bodegon painting

Three Musicians is one of the earliest works by Velazquez of the so-called Seville era. This is one of ten still-lifes that Velazquez painted while living in Seville until 1622.

Two guys are singing on a string instrument, and the third boy, “the youngest” (but not the dumbest one), is already drinking a glass of wine …


Spanish still-life painter

The painting “Breakfast”, which will be discussed in this article, was painted by Diego Velazquez in 1618 and today is exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.

The reservation is not accidental: only the young Velazquez in the period between 1617 – 1619. At least seven versions of this picture were made, which differ both in the number of characters and in some minor details.

Of course, at that time Velazquez had not yet become the court painter of Philip the Fourth and did not have time to visit Italy – but this does not mean at all that the fame of the creations of the “great and terrible” Caravaggio, who owned chiaroscuro like no other artist, did not reach his native to Velazquez Seville.

History of the Genre

Bodegon is a kind of still life, mostly pictorial, which in a certain way represents inanimate elements within the framework defined by the artist, it organizes, but not without symbolic intent. There are no misleading overlaps in the composition of objects in relation to actual manipulation. In a broader sense, the term “still life” is used synonymously with still life.

Real still life is born on the day when the artist makes a fundamental decision regarding the choice of an object and the organization of a group of objects into plastic objects. Depending on the time and environment in which you work, the intention of your deep artist does not change, as he fills him with all kinds of spiritual suggestions.

Since the Baroque period, these paintings have become popular in Spain in the second quarter of the 17th century. The tradition of still life seems to have begun and is more popular than ever in Southern Europe in contemporary developing countries, today in Belgium and the Netherlands (then Flemish and Dutch painters). In the north, there were many subspecies of still life. The breakfast portion was accompanied by a rally, a bouquet of flowers, and vanity. In Spain, it attracted far fewer customers, but one type of bread with food and dishes on the table became popular. The classic idea of ​​putting fruit on a stone tablet, now considered a Spanish invention, was common in ancient Rome.

Now you have learned the bodegon definition and read about the Famous bodegon paintings thanks to our article.

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