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The Waterseller in Seville, Oil by Diego Velazquez (1599-1660, Spain)

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The Waterseller in Seville

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The Waterseller of Seville epitomizes all that Velázquez set out to achieve in the genre paintings. It is widely said to be the greatest of all his Seville paintings. The subject of the painting is the waterseller. This was a common trade for the lower classes in Velázquez's Seville. The jars and the topic of victuals recall the paintings called bodegón. The seller has two customers: a young boy, possibly painted from the same model as used for the boys in The Lunch and Old Woman Cooking Eggs, and a young man in the background shadows, (time has caused him to fade somewhat - he is clearer in the Uffizi version). In the foreground sit the seller's gigantic pots of water, glistening with streams of running water. So large and rounded, they almost protrude out of the painting into the observer's space. The seller hands a freshly poured glass of water to the boy. In it sits a fig, a perfumer intended to make the water taste fresher - something still done in Seville today.
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Diego Velazquez

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