Diego Velazquez - The Lunch - (Tres hombres a la mesa (El almuerzo)) - Hermitage Tour
The work of Diego Velazquez (1599—1660), Court Painter to Philip IV, is represented in the Hermitage by two canvases. The Lunch (Tres hombres a la mesa (El almuerzo)) produced by the eighteenth-year-old artist in the genre of bodegon which was especially popular in Spain and apparently showed the Spaniards’ interest in Caravaggio. The bodegon (“tavern” in Spanish) is a common tavern scene with an indispensable still life on the table. Velazquez depicts lifelike Spaniards lit by a narrow directed stream of light which seems to take the figures out of the darkish background. But here, like with Caravaggio, the subject matter can be interpreted in a more complex and profound way. The still life in the foreground — a pomegranate, bread, and a glass of wine — are Christian symbols and the depictions of a boy, a youth and an old man probably suggest the three stages of human life.