Art Essay: Las Meninas Essays Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Painting, Women, Family, Teenagers, Youth, Maiden, Portrait, Spain

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/11/09

The artwork which I will be analysing is an oil painting on canvas entitled Las Meninas. The painting was created in 1656, by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age. The dimensions of the artwork are 318 cm x 276 cm (125.2 in x 108.7 in), and is currently located at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain. The artwork maintains itself as a part of the museum’s permanent collection and is on display in the “Portrait/Royal/Imperial” exhibition area which is a permanent viewing exposition.
A basic description of the work can be described as almost a snapshot of a family portrait. The piece contains eleven individuals (five young girls, four men, two women including a dwarf) and a sitting dog. However a man and women can only be seen through a mirror reflection on the wall. It looks as though the elegant young girls are preparing for an important event, as everyone depicted in the work is dressed quite elegantly and seem to be part of a royal family perhaps. There is also a man painting in the piece, presumably Velazquez himself, rendering a portrait of the man and woman standing erect within the mirror reflection. It can be said that Velazquez may have incorporated himself within his work to amplify his state of success or superiority by his affiliation to this wealthy family.
A variety of art elements play a large role within this painting such as time and motion. It looks as if the painting reveals a family that is frantically yet elegantly as possible, preparing themselves for a large/important event of some sort, perhaps a wedding. Velázquez captures this
element by character positioning. Two of the girls are not even facing the viewer but are dispersing their attention elsewhere, as the youngest girl to the furthest left is devoted to the center girl who seems to be the central emphasis or focal point of the piece, while the furthest young girl to the right, looks to be the youngest and is distracted by the dog lying on the floor. It is quite evident when looking at the fashion style of the individuals (like the artist/courtier gown and the Spanish maiden dresses), that the time period is set during the Golden Age in Spanish history; specifically because it is Baroque style and the clothes during this era were indeed very distinguished.
An element that also plays a large role in this painting is the lighting. The piece can be described as a very complex one, especially with elements of both light and dark scattered. However with this alteration, respectively the piece does look quite balanced, despite the commotion of its subject matter (characters). The center lower area of the piece is very bright and distinguishes the young maiden as the central focal point, while scattering shadow and darkness evenly distributed around her in a delicate gradient fashion. The figures are portrayed very well and have life in them; the softness of the skin, every crease in the dress, their vacant stair, etc. When looking at principles of design and unity, it can be said that even though there are many people depicted in this scene, that ultimately it does weigh itself out and doesn’t just display a cluster of figures on one side of the canvas. Again, the focal point here is quite clear, as the figures seem all in legitimate proportion, considering the room and its surroundings in comparison, also the man standing in the doorway in the background. I truly enjoy the elegance of this piece as it looks like an important family, especially the central young maiden who looks almost like a princess being accentuated. I truly admire Velazquez’s exquisite detail and colors.

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WePapers. (2020, November, 09) Art Essay: Las Meninas Essays Examples. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from
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"Art Essay: Las Meninas Essays Examples," Free Essay Examples -, 09-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 29-Nov-2022].
Art Essay: Las Meninas Essays Examples. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 09, 2020. Accessed November 29, 2022.

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