Artibus et Historiae no. 5 (III)1982, ISSN 0391-9064
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JOHN F. MOFFITT - Diego Velázquez, Andrea Alciati and the Surrender of Breda
Some years ago, two investigators (John Brown and C. Gottlieb) identified the pictorial source for Velazquez's Surrender of Breda (Las Lanzas) as having been derived from an emblem included in Andrea Alciati's influential Book of Emblems. Whereas this emblem, "CONCORDIA", somewhat echoes the principal action in Velazquez's epic surrender-scene, nevertheless it does not have any real bearing on the Spaniard's central narrative, namely the exchange of the keys to the city of Breda. This motif, however, is found in another of Alciati's emblems, the 167th, which deals with the cautionary subject of "IN DONA HOSTIUM" (Against Gifts from Enemies). In order to darify the very different intentions of Alciati's two emblems, the commentaries to the Liber Emblemata written by Diego Lopez (Declaration Magistral, Valencia 1615 and 1655) are quoted in extenso, and then these are compared with contemporary historical accounts of the events at Breda (particularly the reactions to these in Spain) in order to attempt to reveal the likely true significance of Velazquez's Las Lanzas.