Art: Velazquez's Binding Ethic

The genius of Spanish realism is seen in the U.S.

If painters had batting records, that of Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez, court painter to Philip IV of Spain, would be perfect. Not only did he paint the best official portrait of the 17th century -- the head of the wary, coarse, cunning old Pope Innocent X, in the Galleria Doria-Pamphili collection in Rome -- but he also made what is perhaps the greatest nonmythical, secular painting in all art history: Las Meninas, in the Prado. Neither is in the wonderful show of 38 paintings by Velazquez, about half lent by the Prado, which opens at the Metropolitan Museum of...

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