The Surrender of Breda

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The Surrender of Breda, Diego Velazquez, 1635
By DIEGO JEREZ

 La rendición de Breda (in English The Surrender of Breda) is a painting by Diego Velazquez during the Spanish Golden Age. The historical context is that the Spanish Empire is involved in a war against the Kingdom of France, the kingdom of England, the Kingdom of Denmark and The United Provinces of Netherlands. That war was called the Eighty Years war or the War in Flanders. In 1624 with 18,000 soldiers, the Spanish army under the command of Ambrosio Spinola, attacked the city of Breda protected by a garrison of 14,000 soldiers under the command of Maurice of Orange. At this point the battle was going well. The problem started when the besieged received the support of 6,000 English and 2,000 danish. Fortunately for the Spaniards, they received 500 soldiers that could resist the charge of the Danish army, and the English could not break the siege. As a result the besieged decided to surrender. Spain's loss turned into be a victory. 
Velazquez
painted symbolic signs. For instance, the Spaniards got bigger and more pikes than the rebels. Another symbol is that there are columns of fumes going straight to the sky on the rebels' side, which means the destruction of the rebel army. In the background a Tercio is taking the city. The last symbol is the clearness of the sky, which means  that God wants Spain to win a war against the protestants. An important detail that we must consider in this work is that Velazquez has not painted the battle, but the end of it when Nassau hands the keys to Spinola. The battle scenes of the Renaissance insisted on the power of the conqueror over the vanquished. Velazquez intentionally departs from this puts both generals on an equal footing. If you realize there is no mood to humiliate the enemy. Spinola does not allow Nassau to give the keys of the city on his knees as was usual, but he places his hand on his shoulder with condescension, which highlights the chivalry, gallantry, and honor of the victorious Spaniards. The victory is without arrogance, because forgiveness exalts more than vengeance, clemency is an allegory of the prince. It is evident that the attitude of nobility of both commanders and the patience show us virtuousness.

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