Las Meninas 1656 by Diego Velazquez | Oil Painting Reproduction
66 cm
75
cm
Las Meninas 1656
Artist: Diego Velazquez
Size: 75 x 66 cm (29.5 x 26.0")
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Price: $345.00
Selected size: 75 x 66 cm (29.5 x 26.0")

Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez

Painted in 1656, Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez is a masterpiece of the Spanish Golden Age. 

The intriguing composition, masterly technique and unusual nature of the painting make it one of the most discussed group portraits of all time.

Las Meninas Analysis

Las Meninas is significant not only as a masterpiece of Baroque paintings, but also for its famed sitters and complex artistic techniques. The president of the Royal Academy, Sir Thomas Lawrence, once described this particular Velazquez painting as a depiction of true “philosophy or art”.

Velázquez was court painter to King Philip IV of Spain and consequently painted many royal family and court members. It has particularly significance as a historical snapshot, capturing a precise moment in time. Indeed, some figures directly gaze towards the viewer whilst others appear lost in their own world.

Translating literally as “the ladies in waiting”, servants, chaperones, bodyguards and a pet dog flank the young princess (or Infanta) Margaret Theresa. At this time, she was Philip IV’s only surviving child. Positioned just behind them, Velázquez shows himself diligently painting a large-scale work.

At the back of the room, a shadowy figure reveals another space beyond. Identified as José Nieto Velázquez, this man was head of court tapestries, the Queen’s Chamberlain and possibly related to Velázquez. Whether he is arriving or leaving the scene has long been a topic of intense scholarly analysis. Whatever the explanation, the effect of luring the viewer deeper into Velázquez’s royal world is inescapable.

Why is Velázquez in Las Meninas?

As a Velázquez painting ostensibly depicting the royal court, it is reasonable to question why the artist himself features. He is one of the characters staring directly out of the painting, perhaps suggesting his mastery and awareness of the viewer’s reaction.

Unusually for the time, Velázquez became close friends with King Philip IV. The King often sat and watched the artist at work for hours on end. 

After Velázquez’s death, Philip simply stated “I am crushed”. This close relationship goes some way to explaining Velázquez’s boldness in incorporating himself in the royal scene. The exact reason for his inclusion is ultimately unknown however.

Velázquez wears the red cross of the Order of Santiago on his chest. The artist did not receive this until 1659 however, three years after creating the artwork. Possibly apocryphal stories state the King himself painted it on.

Why did Velázquez include a mirror in the background of Las Meninas?

Amongst Diego Velázquez art, Las Meninas is unusual for the large mirror in the background. It’s essential to the meaning of the painting however, and reflects an image of the Spanish King and Queen themselves. Positioned centrally on the canvas, some argue they symbolically replace the viewer within the work.

As Velázquez’s patrons, they were ultimately responsible for his many commissions and high standing in society. In line with this theory, art historians suggest the mirror reflects the canvas Velázquez is working on. As the only known double portrait of the royal couple, it adds yet more layers of meaning and interest to the work. 

Contrasting with the open doorway (luring the viewer deeper into Velázquez’s world), the mirror pushes the viewer’s attention forwards again, back into the pictorial space. Philip IV rarely allowed his portrait to be painted in later life, making his inclusion in Las Meninas (no matter how small) particularly significant. 

Further explaining the mirror, Velázquez may have seen Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Marriage (also featuring a masterfully rendered mirror at the back of the room), which hung in Philip IV’s palace at the time.

 

Buy Diego Velazquez reproduction oil paintings 

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was born in Seville in 1599 and died in Madrid in 1660.

He was a 17th century Spanish painter to the Court of King Philip IV. and is one of the most famous and respected artists of the Spanish Baroque art movement. 

Valesquez is famous for his portraits of members of the Spanish Royal Court, as well as paintings of the most important figures in Europe of the time. 

Velasquez’ paintings were largely unknown outside of Spain until the 19th century, but subsequent famous artists, particularly Picasso and Dali, have stated that his paintings influenced their own work. 

Valesquez completed his famous religious painting of Pope Innocent X in 1650.  This portrait has been lauded by art critics as the finest portrait ever to be created.  It is housed at the Doria Pamphili Gallery in Rome.

Another of his paintings, the Coronation of the Virgin was completed in 1645 and this painting held by the Prado Museum in Madrid. Velazquez was commissioned to complete this painting for Queen Elizabeth of Bourbon's Prayer chapel at the Alcazar Palace.  This oil painting was the last his religious paintings

Venus at Her Mirror, also known as the Rokeby Venus was painted in 1647.  It is one of the most beautiful famous nude paintings.  The painting was acquired in 1906 and now forms part of the permanent collection at the National Gallery in London.   However, in 1914 it was the target of vandalism, when a British suffragette, who was protesting at the arrest of Emily Pankhurst, slashed the painting in several places. The painting was badly damaged but it was subsequently repaired and restored. 

Velasquez Spanish Golden Age paintings include The Feast of Bacchus which is said to have inspired both the artists Peter Paul Rubens and Tiziano VecellioTitian.

Are you looking for Spanish Baroque oil paintings?  Take a look at our catalogue of reproduction canvas paintings by the famous artist Velasquez.

We offer a 100% money back guarantee or replacement service. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your painting please contact us within 7 days of receipt, advising the reason you are unhappy and we will provide you with all the information you need for its return or replacement.

We ship free to anywhere in the world via FedEx or DHL expedited service with online tracking.

Your painting will be shipped rolled in strong plastic tubing, ready for stretching and/or framing locally. This is the conventional method of transporting hand-painted oil on canvas. Learn more about how your painting is shipped.

We are able to offer a framing service intercontinental U.S. Please contact us if you would like a quotation. Alternatively, should you prefer, we can recommend a framer in your area.

Notes About Your Painting

Please note that replica oil paintings are finished with an additional 10cm (4") of extra canvas on all sides, allowing ample surplus canvas for stretching and framing.

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