the great magician of art

5 july 2023

Digby hall , hound street, sherborne at 3 pm and 7 pm


Diego Velazquez – Las Meninas


Diego Velazquez – The Waterseller

Although not always acknowledged nowadays, this 17th century Spanish artist is one of the most influential painters in the history of art. Born in Seville in 1599, where he made his name producing penetratingly observed scenes of everyday life, he moved up to Madrid where his portraiture was so successful that by the age of twenty-four he was the only artist permitted to paint the king of Spain. After his death, the cool elegance of his style, his ability to discover a sense of dignity and humanity in even the simplest of subjects, coupled with his breathtakingly daring treatment of the paint was widely admired by generations of artists from Whistler to Picasso, who famously described him as “The Great Magician of Art”.

Douglas Skeggs

Douglas Skeggs read Fine Art at Magdalene College Cambridge and has been a lecturer on paintings since 1980. In that time he has given over 8000 lectures to universities, colleges and art societies. He was the director of ‘The New Academy of Art Studies’ for three years and is presently a regular lecturer at ‘The Study Centre’, ‘Christie’s’ course ‘The History of Art Studies’ and other London courses. Among his more improbable venues for lectures are the bar on the QE2, MI5 headquarters, the Captain’s Room at Lloyds, and an aircraft hanger in a German NATO base. Overseas he has lectured in Belgium, France, Germany and Spain, and has taken numerous tours around Europe. He helped set up the Abercrombie & Kent “Private Label tours” and is presently cultural adviser to Ultimate Travel He has written and presented various TV documentaries, notably the Omnibus programme on ‘Whistler’ and the exhibition video on ‘William Morris.’ Three one-man exhibitions of his paintings have been held in England and Switzerland. He has published five novels, which have been translated into 8 foreign languages, and his book on Monet, ‘River of Light’, has sold 30,000 copies in England, America and France.