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Las Meninas 
Diego Velázquez  (1599-1660) Spanish court painter
Oil on canvas  
10' high x 10' wide 
(click on the image to step closer)

Diego Velazquez (1599-1660) 
"Though he has not yet been to Italy, Velazquez had been profoundly impressed by the discoveries and manner of Caravaggio, which he got to know through the work of imitators. He had absorbed the program of "naturalism", and devoted his art to the dispassionate observation of nature regardless of conventions." (Gombrich, P. 318-319)  

Keep in mind that this is during the time when Van Dyck (1599-1641) was at his height painting his quintessentially flattering aristocratic paintings of the court of Charles the first. (natasha) 

"Velazquez's mature works rely to such an extent on the effect of the brushwork, and on the delicate harmony of colours, that illustrations [and Jpegs] can give only a very little idea of what the originals are like. Most of all this applies to his enormous canvas (some ten feet high) which goes under the name of Las Meninas (the maids of honour). We see Velazquez himself at work on a large painting and if we look more carefully we also discover what it is he is painting. The mirror on the back wall of the studio reflects the figures of the King and Queen, who are sitting for their portrait. We therefore see what they see -- a crowd of people who have come into the studio. It is their little daughter, the Infanta Margarita, flanked by two maids of honour, one of them serving her refreshments while the other curtsies to the royal couple. We know their names as we also know about the two dwarfs (the ugly female and the boy teasing the dog), who were kept for amusement. The grave adults in the background seem to make sure  the visitors behave. 

"What does it all signify? We may never know, but I should like to fancy that Velazquez has arrested  a real moment of time long before the invention of the camera." (Gombrich, PP. 321--323) 

Diego Velázquez's  
King Philip IV as a Huntsman 


By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2003 all rights reversed
Created 1999
Updated 2/20/2003