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ARTNIT

Jan van Eyck's Arnolfini Double Portrait, also known as The Arnolfini Wedding, The Arnolfini Marriage, or the Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife, and Diego Velázquez's group portrait Las Meninas overshadowed the time gap of two centuries, variations in style techniques, and art period influences of the two artists. Upon first glance, Arnolfini Double Portrait made in 1434 and Las Meninas made in 1656 do not look similar and are likely to vary from one another. But, more similarities than differences are evident between Arnolfini Double Portrait and Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas.

In 1957, Pablo Picasso isolated himself from his family, friends, and the world to create a series of fifty-eight paintings, variations on one of the most influential paintings in the world, Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas. The series is a confrontation with one of the most important works in the history of Spanish painting and also a commentary on contemporary events in Spain, observed by Picasso from his exile in France. By painting this series, he sought to understand the key elements of a work he admired while also giving his Las Meninas a life of their own. Pablo Picasso himself understood this series as a whole and as such donated it to the Museum in Barcelona in May 1968 in memory of his secretary and close friend Jaime Sabartés who died the same year.

Pablo Picasso was especially attracted to Diego Velázquez's masterpiece Las Meninas because it dealt with his central theme of painter and model. In 1957, he started an extended series of variations on Las Meninas where he produced a personal interpretation of the whole of Velázquez's work. Las Meninas, after Velázquez, is the first, largest, and most widely recognized variation of Las Meninas, and is the most faithful to the vertical composition created by Velázquez. It is situated in Picasso Museum, Barcelona.

At the most basic level, the painting Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez is a group portrait of the five-year-old infanta Margarita, her ladies-in-waiting, and other members of the court, the King and Queen of Spain, and Velázquez himself. At the same time, it is essentially about the relationship between reality and illusion, life and art, a consuming preoccupation during the Spanish Baroque. Also, it might be seen as a summary of Velázquez's life and art up to that point. It contains his only known self-portrait surrounded by royalty, courtiers, and objects that represent him and his milieu.

Las Meninas was among Diego Velázquez's, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age, final works and speaks to the fact that he was no ordinary court painter. Most scholars continue to date the painting to 1656. Although it was originally described as a painting of Philip IV's family, in 1843, the work was dubbed Las Meninas in an effort to acknowledge its status as far more than a traditional family portrait. This group portrait perhaps most fully summarizes the pinnacle of Diego Velázquez's art. It was kept in the royal palace until 1819 when it was moved to the Prado Museum in Madrid.

Many eighteenth-century artists, French Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard among them, sought ways to depict artistic inspiration. The painting Inspiration, from 1769, in popular Rococo style, differs from many of his other paintings, especially the portraits painted during his early years, in that it is warmer and more longing than the others. This portrait, likely of Louis François Prault, a publisher in Paris, is one of a series that is now known as the Fantasy Figures. The painting Inspiration is today in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

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