I decided to make the last Diego Velazquez blog about his masterpiece. Well, I am getting a bit ahead of myself. The thing is that my mama sent me some info on this painting. To make her happy, I am going to post it. So, I sorta skipped ahead. Like we all know, Las Meninas is a totally awesome painting. Its been called "The theology of painting" (whatever that means). Another guy was so shocked by the realism of this painting that he doubted if it was a painting (Teophile Guatier). After Velazquez painted it, hundreds and thousands of painters have imitated it.
On the surface, the theme seems a bit trivial. The princess and her ladies in waiting (aka Las Meninas) have entered Velazquez's studio. They are looking at the subjects that Velazquez is painting. Velazquez is stuck in mid thought. The subjects of Velazquez could be the viewer. However, the mirror is reflecting the king and Queen. They are in a portrait pose. The issue is that the painting is big enough to fit more people. So, its a group portrait that includes the subjects. You know whats funny about Velazquez depiction of Velazquez? He was already roaming his 50s. However, he painted himself like a 40 year old. He also painted himself dressed like a knight. For a while he was bothering the king to become a knight. After the painting was completed, the king knighted him. He added the red cross of his order later.
Now, lets take the characters by pieces. The Lady in Waiting on the left hand of the Princess is called María Agustina Sarmiento. She is offering the Princess a little silver platter with a red cup. The six year old Princess Margarita is accepting her offering in a candid, childlike "Queenly" fashion. On the meantime, she is observing the viewers with curiosity. She is only half aware of "Las Meninas".
Toward the right, we see her other Menina, Isabel de Velasco, She is showing her respect, via a small reverence. Next to Isabel we have the princess pet midget, Maribárbola. She is a German import. This dwarf too is looking at the viewer. The odd Kid kicking the dog is also a dwarf. His name is Nicolasillo Pertusato. His childlike appearance, and playfulness makes him the perfect "kid" playmate of the Princess.
Behind the first group of Meninas, we see a nun and an older lady. The nun is called Marcela Ulloa. She takes care of the younger Meninas. Beside her, there is an unknown woman. Her hands are crossed as she listens to the pios talks of the nun. She too seems more interested in the subjects of Velazquez painting. The guy by the door, is called José Nieto. We are not certain if he is coming or going. I think he is a noble of sorts.
Now for the scenery, its pretty big. The open and closed windows makes the place look bigger. Some of the windows are opened. The figures in this painting are almost life sized. That is how big they are. I suppose I should wrap things up. The events in this painting were part of the day to day routines of the palace. The king and Queen liked to visit Velazquez often at his studio. They always had small talks with the painter. The princess too, liked his studio. When the prince died, his room was converted into Velazquez's painting studio.
One of the paintings by the windows, is said to be the painting of the prince. You see, that line across Velazquez. For a while, this painting was hosted in the Alcázar de Madrid. One day, that placed burned down. They had to save the paintings quickly. Many got cut cut around a section to make them fit through the window. The Menina to the left, got sliced in half. Recently, it got restored quite beautifully. For a while, she did look kinda messed up. The restoration was the handiwork of John Brealey. Not only did he fix that lady in waiting, he also took out all the yellowing sooth that accumulated over the years. This painting is now this pretty thanks to his masterful hand. Well, I think that is everything worth mentioning. Like we all know, Las Meninas is still a 5 stars worthy painting. I hope that you liked this little blog of mine.