Velazquez- Las Meninas: Analysis and Interpretation
Diego Velazquez
Velazquez's selfportrait
Velazquez’s Las Meninas is a portrait of Infanta Margarita, the daughter of King Philip IV. This article focuses on the way Velazquez painted Infanta Margarita’s psychological perplexity in front of the large window of his studio. It also focuses on Infanta Margarita’s beauty, her intelligence, and above all her interest in the beauty of the visible world!
Las Meninas
By Diego Velazquez

Velazquez - Las Meninas: The Surprise!
Here is a wonderful description of the light passage from the window to Infanta Margarita’s face, taken from Wikipedia’s article on Las Meninas: “As the light streams in from the right it brightly glints on the braid and golden hair of the female dwarf, who is nearest the light source. But because her face is turned from the light, and in shadow, its tonality does not make it a point of particular interest. Similarly, the light glances obliquely on the cheek of the lady-in-waiting near her, but not on her facial features. Much of her lightly colored dress is dimmed by shadow. The Infanta, however, stands in full illumination, and with her face turned towards the light source, even though her gaze is not. Her face is framed by the pale gossamer of her hair, setting her apart from everything else in the picture. The light models the volumetric geometry of her form, defining the conic nature of a small torso bound rigidly into a corset and stiffened bodice, and the panniered skirt extending around her like an oval candy-box, casting its own deep shadow which, by its sharp contrast with the bright brocade, both emphasizes and locates the small figure as the main point of attention.”
(Quoted in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Las_Meninas)
Most likely Infanta Margarita’s discovery of the “beauty” inherent in the visible world was subconscious. But that discovery planted in her mind a permanent interest in the arts. “In the summer of 1666, saddened by her father's death, the 15 year old Infanta left her native Spain and traveled to Austria. She was accompanied by several Spanish attendants, and was solemnly welcomed by her future
husband, her uncle Leopold. Their wedding took place in the city of Vienna, on 12 December 1666. Despite the difference in their ages, some 11 years, they were very happy together, as they shared a number of interests, especially theatre and music.”  (Quoted in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Margarita_Teresa_of_Spain )
Velazquez spotted Infanta Margarita’s psychological perplexity in front of the large window of his studio. He analyzed her behavior and he was definitely delighted when he noticed that she showed an unusual interest towards the sun light coming from the window. Velazquez’s smile, behind his easel, is delicate and friendly. It seems to me that Velazquez wanted to surprise the art loving king with this painting. What was the surprise? The surprise was Margarita: Her beauty, her intelligence, and above all her interest in the beauty of the visible world!
In 17th-century Spain, painters rarely enjoyed high social status. Painting was regarded as a craft, not an art such as poetry or music. It is generally believed that with Las Meninas Velazquez wanted to convince 17th century Spain that painting deserved a position among the liberal arts. Even though Velazquez holds his brush and color palette (the tools of his craft), the fact that we see his canvas from the back diverts our attention from the tools of his craft and instead we focus our attention towards the center of the painting where we are witnessing an event from the daily life of the palace: Margarita has dropped into his studio to see him at work!


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Diego Velazquez's Diego Velazquez - Las Meninas Infanta Margarita
Diego Velazquez - Las Meninas Infanta Margarita
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This art print was created using a sophisticated digital printer. The Giclee printing process delivers a fine stream of archival ink on archival paper, resulting in vivid, pure color and exceptional detail that is suitable for museum or gallery display. It can be framed or wood mounted.
Diego Velazquez's Diego Velazquez - Las Meninas Infanta Margarita
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