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Velázquez’s Las Meninas

The work of art of Diego Velasquez de Silva entitled Las Meninas is claimed to be the “Theology of painting” by art critic Luca Giordano. Other art critic such as Palomino states that Las Meninas was “truth, not painting” and Téophile Gautier says that “wondered where the picture was”. Las Meninas interpretations were made even for other fields such as mathematics, moral politics, politics and astrology.

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Many questions had also risen from the painting that were given with other long names before it was finally called Las Meninas derived from the Portuguese word for Maids of Honour of the Royal children in the 17th century.

One of these questions was who and what was the portrait being painted in front of the canvass being hidden from us. Is it the royal couple being painted, or is it really the royal princess being the one prepared to be painted? The figures painted in Las Meninas suggest to me that Diego Velasquez de Silva is painting a portrait of King Philip IV and Queen Mariana as they are reflected from a mirror glass behind Las Meninas.

The focus of sight of the self-portrait of Velasquez, the picture of the dwarf Maribarbola, the picture of the queen’s palace marshal Jose Nieto, and the picture of a guardadamas all suggest to me that it was the portrait of the royal couple that were the one really being painted by Velasquez in the front of the canvass that were hidden from us. Las Meninas is somewhat a snapshot of the painting session of Velasquez with the royal couple which is being viewed by their Infanta Margarita together with her court. Infanta Margarita is shown to be not focused with either the portrait being canvassed or the royal couple being painted.

This could be caused by the offering of a jug of water by the queen’s maid of honour, Doña Maria Agustina Sarmiento. The two lady servants are too focused with assisting Infanta Margarita. The male dwarf beside Maribarbola was then busy with playing with a dog in front of them. The lady in waiting beside the guardadamas may be described in Las Meninas as being bored or sleepy. Though some were not focused with what Velasquez was working on, it is enough for me that Velasquez, Nieto, Maribarbola, and the Guardadamas was looking with the royal couple so as to conclude they were the one being painted by Velasquez.