Las Meninas

Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez is a painting with some puzzlement. It is hard to tell whether the painting is a Genre scene or a history painting. It could be both, indeed this is a painting of everyday life for this family, but it also documents a particular point in time for a well to do family. The painting takes place in the home of King Phillip IV. The focal point of the painting is his daughter princess Margharita. She is being attended to by a kneeling woman and surrounded by several others. (Adams 670) If you look closely at the canvas itself, you will notice that it looks to be divided into thirds. Now it could be an after effect form its recent cleaning or it has always been there on the surface. It is possible that the image is much more vibrant after its cleaning and the images in the background are blurry because of it.
The Infanta is in the center of the painting and it dressed elegantly. Her maids that are surrounding her are dressed in the same manor suggesting wealth above the normal classes. The child has a look that reaches out side the canvas and draws the viewer into the action. The woman that is to her right is also looking in the same direction suggesting that she is actually looking at someone or something. The mirror on the wall in the background further suggests this.
There are three light sources in the painting. The two main one s are the windows that are to the right of the painting and the third is the doorway. The window to the right of it illuminates the image on the wall in the background. The glare that is visible on the edges of the mirror proves that it is a mirror and not a painting. The mirror is on back the wall where several paintings are. These paintings are a lot darker and are in shadow. This creates a secondary focal point by making the mirror stand out against them. The image in the mirror is known to be the King and his wife. (Adams 671) The presence of a reflection creates a t…


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