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Ponedeljak, 27 Septembar 2021 11:11

Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez is a painting about art, illusion, and reality Istaknut

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 has a large multi-figure complex composition of striking intricacy. The painting plan is divided into a grid system, of quarters horizontally, and sevenths vertically and into seven layers of depth. Diego Velázquez instills order by utilizing a system of curved and diagonal lines. He ordered the figures in the foreground along with an X shape with the infant Margarita in the center and shines the brightest light directly on her, and dresses her in the brightest white. Also, he creates an implied line that guides the viewer's eye through the painting, introduces the characters, and creates variety and movement in the composition. Strict vertical and horizontal lines of the framed objects and the door created stability and unity in the background. Although Margarita is the main focal point, true power is given to the viewer. Six of the characters stare directly out at us.


To create depth and space in Las Meninas, Diego Velázquez uses linear perspective. The black frames on the right wall, and the ceiling hooks, guide the viewer's eye towards the vanishing point. Scale and proportion enhance the illusion of spaces. The repetition of elements in a painting often creates a rhythm, as the dark picture frames create rhythm through the repetition of lines. The repeated triangles in the composition connect the foreground and the background, creating another rhythm. The mirror on the back wall with its reflected images of the king and queen suggests a continuation of space beyond the painting and asserts Velázquez's control over the illusion.

Diego Velázquez created a spectrum of warm and cool color combinations with different values of grays and browns. Bright red-orange guides the viewer's eye at important areas and also creates rhythm. There are three sources of light in painting. One source casts a shadow under Margarita's skirt. The second light source comes from a window on the right illuminates Margarita's face and casts shadows on the faces of her attendants. The third source of light is the door opened by Don José Nieto, a royal assistant.

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