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The Meninas

Qr Code

original title

Las meninas

The artwork




Oil, canvas

318 cm, Width: 276 cm


The artist

Diego Velázquez

June 6, 1599


Where to see it

Museo Nacional del Prado

"... how delighted you would have been to see Velázquez, who in himself alone is worth the journey... He is the painter of painters. He did not astonish me, but delighted me.“
Quote from Manet's letter to Fantin-Latour, Madrid 1865

Why we love it

This is one of the most important works by Velázquez and in the history of art, but it is important because it highlights how the painter hides the main characters inside and even outside the painting.
11 characters belonging to the royal family of the Spanish King Felipe IV distributed in three planes:
– The main character; the infanta Margarita Teresa, surrounded by her two maids, las meninas.
– In the second plane to the left, the painter Diego Velázquez portrays himself while he paints.
– The third plane is the most important of the work: Three characters, one in the background opens a door that is used as a vanishing point for the painting, to use the backlight. On the left, in what appears to be a painting with two characters, which is actually a mirror, are Kings Felipe IV and Mariana of Austria.

Velázquez’s intention was to make the viewer see that what he is actually painting is a portrait of the king and queen who would be in front of the room.
This work was almost lost in a fire in 1734, but fortunately it was rescued and restored after minimal damage.

This is just our small contribution, your curiosity can do the rest.


17th Century selfie

The artist inside the artwork

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