August 31, 2012 at 6:43 am
It’s been 12 years since I visited the Prado (Spanish for meadow), but I don’t remember that painting. Not surprising, religious iconography never did it for me…but Las meninas. Velazquez was something else.
Ophelia Benson says
August 31, 2012 at 7:19 am
Las meninas is my favorite painting of all time – it blows me away. I’ve never been to Madrid but would go just to see it. Funny you should mention it, too, because just yesterday I made a joke somewhere – probably Facebook – about doing all the painting as caricatures, and I put dibs on Las meninas.
Timon for Tea says
August 31, 2012 at 7:35 am
I didn’t know that painting either, it is easy enough to spend half your life in the Prado and still miss hundreds of masterpieces. It is a terrific painting though, full of energy and very taut.
Of course Las Meninas is the greatest work in the collection but its ubiquity in Spain (where it has something of the status of the Mona Lisa as a synechdoche for ‘great art’) robs it of some of its impact if you spend much time there.
August 31, 2012 at 7:39 am
If you get the chance, go to Madrid. Hang out in the Plaza Major, try the bars in Malasaña, walk around the Grand Via, Cibeles, Parque de buen retiro, palacio real etc. Of course, Reina Sofia and Prado are museums worth the trip on either’s account. Guernica, Las Meninas, …. Screw it, if you like Las Meninas, that’s reason enough. Book your flight.
August 31, 2012 at 7:41 am
What a strange painting Las Meninas is. Thank you for putting me onto it.
August 31, 2012 at 7:46 am
Doesn’t the infanta have the Hapsburg chin? It’s Carlos quinto or Felipe Segundo as young girl…Still, that’s taking away from the meta stuff happening in the painting: who’s looking at who and who is the subject of the work?
August 31, 2012 at 8:07 am
I just love the meta stuff. I love the way Velasquez is eyeing us. I love it that we’re the royal parents dropping in for a look at the portrait session – that we’re the very top people, and everything is focused on us, but we’re not visible, and in fact we’re not the royal parents at all. Sooooo meta.
August 31, 2012 at 8:14 am
All that meta stuff is one of the reasons that I sometimes get unreasonably annoyed by certain post-modern theorists in the arts – the way they seem so pleased with themselves at challenging perspectives and assumptions that Valasquez had thrown into the air 400 years earlier without ever striking a pose as some kind of daring ‘outsider’ or mouthing inanities about subversion.
We may not be in the position of the royal couple, though. It may be that they are reflected from the large canvas. The optics would work for that and it lends another layer of representation.
But who is it on the stairs?
August 31, 2012 at 8:47 am
Timon, I know, same here – and what’s even worse, postmodernists say that people like Velasquez “anticipated” the brilliant dazzling genius of postmodernism. Excuse me?! It’s usually understood that the people who do it first have taught the people who do it later, not the other way around! It’s so smug. [grinds teeth]
August 31, 2012 at 9:08 am
But who is it on the stairs?
According to the totally fallible Wikipedia it’s: José Nieto Vazquez. The queen’s chamberlain…
The optics are the genius of the painting. We could be the audience, seeing Velazquez paint us, or we could just be spying a moment of Velazquez eyeing a portrait of the pareja real whilst the infanta and retinue go about their business and it’s the guy on the stairs who’s the audience, or it could be Velazquez doing a self-portrait….
The part I enjoyed most when I learned about this painting is how Velazquez was paid by the royal family to do a straight portrait of the infanta, and instead did nothing like it, but still there she is, amongst many other potential subjects. Genius.
August 31, 2012 at 9:19 am
And it gives you that slip-sliding “wait who am I” feeling…and the wonderful unease at Velasquez’s considering stare. It reminds me of Shakespeare.
August 31, 2012 at 9:21 am
It’s nice, artistically, but I still like various aspects of the photoshop one, esp PZ, for example. I truly thought he was adorable in that, but this guy looks bored or tired, not as lively. While I know having “No life” is part of the painting, I prefer livelier things.
A+ Hermit says
August 31, 2012 at 9:22 am
Hmmmm…I’m looking at that and thinking a photoshop with Thunderf00t as the Jesus figure being mourned by Paula Kirby and assorted slymepitters would be more appropriate…if I were small minded, petty and had time to waste on such childishness…
August 31, 2012 at 9:24 am
I don’t get art. But I get Las Meninas (in my own way)….Apologies for derailing again.
August 31, 2012 at 9:28 am
On topic, Ophelia, you did come across regal. Which, whilst merited, I doubt Paula Kirby meant. P.Z. is P.Z. a cuddly, fluff ball of evil spit and bile.
It’s strange, that I esteemed Paul Kirby so much and would never have expected this. But not. I take people on their word, until they hang themselves with the rope they chose to dole out. And I am not a great judge. In otherwords, just because a person can spell, it doesn’t mean they know anything..
August 31, 2012 at 10:09 am
Is it just me, or does the woman in the middle of the painting look like she’s rolling her eyes, and the guy on the right is facepalming?
Like, she’s all, “Jesus Christ, again with the persecution complex? Get over yourself!” and the dude is like, “What does this guy think he is, god’s gift to man?”
The woman on the top left is saying, “I warned you… you cross the Romans and they’ll hang you out to dry!”
And the woman on the bottom left is saying, “Jesus, who does your nails? These are fabulous!”
Forbidden Snowflake says
August 31, 2012 at 12:10 pm
You cross the Romans and they “cross” you.
I like your interpretation, Stevarious.
Jafafa Hots says
August 31, 2012 at 9:29 pm
I dunno, kinda just looks like an after-after-party.
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