Valazquez’s “Las Meninas”

25 Feb

Velazquez's "Las Meninas"


Las Meninas (meaning The Maids of Honour in English) is an oil painting that was done by Diego Valazquez. In 1656, it was created in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain. Diego Velazquez was the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age.

Close up on mirror

 The painting shows a large room in the Madrid palace of King Philip IV of Spain. There are several characters in the painting. Some seem to be looking out of the canvas and towards the viewer, while other characters are interacting with each other. In the center of the painting is Infanta Margarita (aughter of King Philip IV of Spain). She is surrounded by her bodyguard, her maids of honor, her chaperone, two dwarfs and a dog. On the left side of the painting Valazquez portrayed himself working on a very large canvas.

Ruben's "Minerve Punishing Arachne"

In the background there is a mirror on wall with a mirror on it that shows the upper half of the bodies of the king and queen. It is as if we are seeing the scene as the king and queen would be seeing it. It has been thought that the large canvas that Valazquez is paint on in Las Meninas is a portrait of the king and queen, and the image he is painting is what is reflected into mirror.

Ruben's "Apollo’s Victory over Marsyas"

The two portraits on the back wall are thought to be oil sketches by Peter Paul Rubens: Minerve Punishing Arachne (left) and Apollo’s Victory over Marsyas (right). I found this work appealing because I enjoy how royalty dressed and lived during this time period. I find it to be incredibly beautiful and interesting. The thought and detail that went into the painting is incredible.

Work Cited

Rubens, Peter “Apollo’s Victory over Marsyas.” Home Page. Web. 25 Feb. 2011.

Rubens, Peter “Minerve Punishing Arachne.” Home Page. Web. 25 Feb. 2011.

Velazquez, Diego. Las Meninas. 1656. Museo Del Prado, Madrid. Monster Geek in London., 4 Dec. 2010. Web. 25 Feb. 2011.

“Velázquez’s Las Meninas.” Home Page. Web. 25 Feb. 2011.


2 Responses to “Valazquez’s “Las Meninas””

  1. Julia February 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    I also chose “Las Meninas” as my blog post! I love his idea of turning the picture around and painting what the subjects are seeing as they sit for hours on end for a portrait. It is amazing the kind of detail he put into a painting that is not from his point of view as the painter. How he himself is present in the frame.

    I didn’t know about the back two paintings. Did they have a significance to the painting as a whole?

    In your post are you making the connection of how royalty effected his painting? How he was never in short supply of work being the court painter for King Philip IV? Other than that you stated everything else.

  2. tboandfriends March 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    I agree with the other comment that you’ve got everything covered, except that the connection to the royalty is left unexplained. The only other thing I would like explained is why the royal family had dwarves serving them. Is there some story behind their presence?

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