MichaelCD - The Blog.

The thoughts of Michael Cadwallader. Coffee loving, history book reading, Cheshire man.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Diego Velazquez - Las Meninas

And now my favourite painting of all time. The masterpiece titled Las Meninas, by Diego Velazquez.

Is there an another painting that poses so many questions? We see the Infanta Dona Margarita and her retinue. We can see the court dwarves on the right. And we can see Velazquez himself on the left. By placing himself in the painting, Velazquez has posed us with many questions about what he was painting. Perhaps he is using a mirror, and he's painting the scene we see before us. But what is the significance of the figures in the background? We can see the Infanta's parents, King Philip 4th and his wife Mariana, in either a mirror, or a painting. Most critics think that they are reflected in the mirror, and are posing for Velazquez, from the same vantage point as the viewer of the picture. Perhaps the Infanta's retinue are attempting to cajole her into joining her parents within the portrait?

As I mentioned before, there are so many meanings within the painting. But it also magnificently well painted. And, a print of this painting hangs on my wall. Every time I see it, it fills me with joy so completely that I always think of Robert Motherwell's' words:
Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it.


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