Discussion response

Submit your 250-500 word critique to a thread in the Module 1 Discussion Board. Once you have submitted your post, you should read a minimum of two critiques posted by your fellow students. Respond to your peers by critically reading their submissions and addressing the following issues:

  • How thorough were your peers’ answers to Goethe’s three questions?
  • How is your own critique different from your peers?
  • What are your opinions on the pieces your peers chose to critique?

1.The painting that I reviewed was Philip III because it was the one that stood out visually. The first thing that I noticed was the lack of a background really pushes the portrait forward. Next, the angle of the picture also adds drama as if we are looking up to Philip III. It is as if the artist is highlighting the Kings stature. Finally, the lighting in the picture adds some depth and realism. Its focus is directly on the face, bringing it right to the foreground. The artists give some dimension through the use of this light source as well. You can see how his hair and clothing almost disappear into the dark background, while the ears are just slightly out of focus. I believe the portrait highlights Philip’s stature in society. At the time of his death he was a King in the countries of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, Sardinia and Duke of Milan. In my opinion the artist does succeed because the portrait looks larger than life because the angle and how close the portrait appears. This is a cool piece of art that I personally like. I am not normally a big fan of portraits unless it’s a family photo. However, this piece of art was both vibrant and dark. The artist use of light is my favorite part.

2. How does the work you chose highlight elements of Baroque style? You may also discuss your own personal reaction to the artwork as well.

For this assignment I chose to critique a portrait of king Felipe IV. I believe it is a ideal example of Baroque style because it has an extraordinary attention to detail, and portrays the King in his golden suit of armor. In one description of the Baroque style, it is described as a “period that is defined by the grandeur and opulence of its art,” (Abdou, 2018). I find this portrait to show a stoic individual, although the lack of facial expression seems to be standard in many portraits of that time period. There also seems to be childlike qualities to his facial composition, such as large pouty lips and full features, that makes me wonder if Velazquez was trying to create similarities between King Felipe IV and his son Baltasar Carlos, both of which he did several portraits of.

What is the artist trying to say?

I believe that Velazquez was trying to portray King Felipe IV as an honorable and formidable individual. His posture is erect and his chest is wide and covered by golden armor, yet his eyes are soft and forgiving. As I mentioned above, this may be another attempt to give him childlike features, or may to portray the King as having empathy.

Does he or she succeed?

I imagine that Velazquez succeeded in creating the features as he intended, and that those that viewed the painting were left with the impressions that Velazquez was hoping for. Portraits at that time were critiqued by those they were made for, so I am sure King Felipe IV was satisfied with the work, or we most likely would have never seen it.

Was the artwork worth the effort?

It is my belief that all artwork is worth the effort. As a recreational painter myself, it took a long time to realize that I enjoyed the painting process itself more than admiring the finished product. As far as the description in our text is concerned, if a painting is worth the effort than the artist has communicated and important or unique perception, (Sporre, 2015). I believe this artwork is worth the effort, as there is great depth and insight into who King Felipe IV shown in the work.


Sporre, D. 2015. Perceiving the Arts: An Introduction to the Humanities, 11th Edition. Pearson. Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Abdou, K. 2018. Exploring the Extravagance and Drama of Baroque Art and Architecture. Retrieved from: https://mymodernmet.com/baroque-period/

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