Velazquez’s Las Meninas





Velazquez’s Las Meninas

Las Meninas is a 1656 painting done by Diego Velazquez, who was the leading artist from Spanish golden age. It is contained in the Museo Del Prado at the heart of Madrid. The painting shows a large room capturing several figures of representative members of King Philip IV at the Spanish court. The dominant character is that of infanta Margaret Theresa as she is surrounded by her maids of honor. In the analysis of the artwork, it can be determined as an interaction between the viewer and the character. She has stopped to see the artist at work, but she is perplexed. It creates an element of surprise to the viewer especially on the analytical basis of the position held by Theresa in the kingdom. It creates a sense of uncertainty and the mood is not ideal for understanding the additional role of the other characters.

The chaperone, a bodyguard, two visible dwarfs, and a unique dog at the foreground can be seen in the painting. The focal point created by the additional characters at the foreground help in increasing the consistency of relations throughout. The maids of honor are important for the functions of Theresa in the painting especially with her role in the leadership of the people. The additional representatives help create a warm environment for the viewer as they bring comfort to the artwork and represent a home setting for the King. The choice of attires and placement of the characters at the foreground are consistent throughout the painting and they help reflect an impression of teamwork. In addition, the humane nature of the leading character helps the viewer endear to her for the inclusive aspect of leadership and the subordinates.

At the background, the painter represents himself close to the door. Diego Velazquez can be seen overlooking Theresa and her entourage while standing next to the portrait of the king. The denotation of Velazquez from his artwork at the back creates a mood of anxiety and interaction to the viewer. In the latter case, the viewer is left to wonder on the angle of analysis as the representative figures are all in the artwork. It leaves the space for the viewer’s contribution towards social hierarchy according to the leadership at the time. It encourages the creation of a vision of the majesty status as shown by Theresa’s attention from all her maids of honor as well as the chaperone and bodyguard. The painting is warm and inviting to the eyes especially with the details all squeezed within the space.

In the background, there is a conspicuous reflection of the king and queen at the mirror. Their reflection shows that they are meant to be outside their picture, and instead, they are represented through internal pictorial positioning in Las Meninas. One can be able to tell the distinct placing of the king and queen’s position in the artwork as representative of hierarchy and authority, I like the fact that the princess is at the forefront embracing the positional depiction within the leadership at her reach. In addition, with the overlooking image of the leaders, there is a generated sense of tranquility and understanding. However, there is a question left on the essence of the dwarfs in the artwork. Their distance to the princess does not help to understand their relationship.




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