PIERROT LE FOU
Past the age of fifty, Velasquez no longer painted anything concrete and precise. He drifted through the material world, penetrating it, as the air and the dusk. In the shimmering of the shadows, he caught unawares the nuances of color which he transformed into the invisible heart of his symphony of silence . . . His only experience of the world was those mysterious copulations which united the forms and tones with a secret but inevitable movement, which no convulsions or catacylsm could ever interrupt or impede. Space reigned supreme . . . It was as if some tenuous radiation gliding over the surfaces, imbued itself of their visible emanations, modelling them and endowing them with form, carrying elsewhere a perfume, like an echo, which would thus be dispersed like an imponderable dusk, over all the surrounding planes . . .
The world he lived in was sad. A degenerate king, inbred infantas, idiots, dwarfs, cripples, deformed clowns clothed as princes, whose only job was to laugh at themselves and amuse those lifeless outlaws who were trapped by etiquette, conspiracy, lies, and inextricably bound to the confessional by guilt. Outside the gates, the Auto-da-fe, and silence . . . A spirit of nostalgia prevailed. But we see none of the ugliness or sadness or any of the signs of gloom and cruelty of this crippled infancy. Velasquez is the painter of the evening, of the plains, of the silence, even when he paints in broad daylight, even when he paints in a closed room, even while hunting and war thrashes around him. Spanish painters never went outside except at those times in the day when the air was radiant, when everything was burnished by the sun. They discoursed only with evening . . .