Las Meninas reality and illusion
Las Meninas reality and illusion. Las Meninas, or “The Maids of Honor” by Spanish painter Diego Velazquez is unique both as the product of master, and as the first image of the hidden life of the court. Court painter of King Philip IV – Diego Velazquez finished working on the painting “Las Meninas” in 1656. Art critics still argue what scene is depicted by the artist, raising questions about reality and illusion. Some of them state that the painting has no general plot and is a bit of instant photography. Much more common are two other points of view. According to the first, Velazquez painted the portrait of the time of the Spanish king and queen, when their daughter entered the studio – Infanta Margarita. The other version – the Infanta herself was a model of the artist, and her parents came to visit their daughter. There are philosophical interpretations, e.g. in the look of the artist is seen a devotional respect for his crowned lord.
Directly opposite version belongs to the art critic Alexander Jakimowicz. He believes that the painting – a manifesto of freedom from any of artist palace conventions and restrictions. But the most interesting explanation of the plot “Las Meninas” belongs to Vladimir Kemenov, who believed that Velasquez painted a picture in a picture. He paints “Las Meninas” how he paints “Las Meninas” by reflection in the mirror.
Infanta Margarita – five year old daughter of the Spanish King Philip IV and Queen Mariana of Austria. Unlikely Velasquez is now occupied with her portrait – a huge canvas, on which the artist works, not suitable for the image of a little girl. This size (approximately 3 × 3 m) is only one of his paintings – “Las Meninas.”
Mirror. It reflects the parents of Infanta Margarita. Version that they pose for the artist, too, can be called into question – there is no evidence that such a companion portrait existed. King and queen were always painted separately. And again, the canvas size in the picture is not suitable for such work.
Diego Velazquez – detail of Las Meninas (Velazquez’s self-portrait).
Keys on the belt of Velasquez – a sign that he was responsible for opening and closing doors.
The red cross of the Order of Santiago adorns the chest of Velazquez. It is known that Velazquez was eager to be knighted. His dream was realized in three years after he had painted “Las Meninas”, so the artist added the red cross on his waistcoat. The keys on his belt and insignia cast doubt on version that Velasquez rebelled against palace morals.
Meninas were the young girls, the maids of honor. Right – Dona Isabel de Velasco, left – Dona Maria Agustina de Sarmiento.
Paintings on the far wall of the room. Right – “The Flaying of Marsyas” on the left – “Athena and Arachne.” In both mythological story tells of how the Olympian gods punished mortals daring to compete with them in the fine arts. Velázquez portrays himself on the background of these pictures at the inspired moment of work.
Pitcher. If royal child wanted to drink, according to etiquette, the vessel with water was brought by a page. In our case it is Dona María. She stands on one knee and offers Margarita silver tray with a small jug of red clay Bucaram.
Chaperone (mentor) of Infanta – Dona Marcela de Ulloa. Her floor robes is a sign of mourning for the dead husband.
Guard damas – court, playing the honorary role of escorting ladies.
Don Jose Nieto Velazquez – possibly a relative of the artist, the Grand Marshal, the queen’s chamberlain
Maria Barbola – favorite dwarf of Infanta
Nikolasito Pertusato – dwarf jester