Diego Velazquez

Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez
Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez

Las Meninas, painted in 1656 by Diego Velazquez is more than just a depiction of the Spanish King Phillip IV, his daughter, Infanta Margaret Theresa, and the royal court. This painting is considered to be one of Velazquez’s very best. The composition is very theatrical and plays with the intended subject of focus.

The painter himself stands at the left in front of a large canvas on which he is working, while the king and queen, reflected in the mirror quietly look on. All eyes seem to look at the little princess but her gaze locks with your own, the viewer. Thus it is an entirely consuming painting as it emphasizes the viewer as well as memorializing all the players in the painting. 

Valezaquez, while spending almost all of his life as a royal courtier and court painter, captured likenesses as no other painter at the time. He did not make sketches or preliminary drawings and his strokes were confident and he did not overwork paintings. He painted his subjects as they really were, as human beings, capturing the truth of the moment.