30.7 cm x 26.8 cm x 1.9 cm (12 1/16 in. x 10 9/16 in. x 3/4 in.)
Waltercio Caldas (aka Waltercio Junior)
(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1946 – )
Latin America, Brazilian
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 2003
In Velázquez Waltercio Caldas has subverted the expectations of the art history textbook. By appropriating and altering the well-known and widely reproduced images of the seventeenth-century painter Diego Velázquez, this contemporary Brazilian artist has succeeded in destabilizing the greatest painter of the Spanish School.
To create this work, Caldas produced an immaculate replica of an art history coffee-table book showing Velázquez’s famous works, but all the images and text are slightly blurred, and the human figures in the reproduced paintings are absent. A sense of visual frustration and fascination grows as we try, in vain, to decipher the information contained within. The book asks us to consider whose work we are seeing: Velázquez’s or Caldas’s. The question is heightened by our general belief that an art book is a source of reliable and true information about the history of painting.