[38]. This appearance of a total face, full-on to the viewer, draws the attention, and its importance is marked, tonally, by the contrasting frame of dark hair, the light on the hand and brush, and the skilfully placed triangle of light on the artist's sleeve, pointing directly to the face. Velázquez further emphasises the Infanta by his positioning and lighting of her maids of honour, whom he sets opposing one another: to left and right, before and behind the Infanta. [26] The art historian Svetlana Alpers suggests that, by portraying the artist at work in the company of royalty and nobility, Velázquez was claiming high status for both the artist and his art,[63] and in particular to propose that painting is a liberal rather than a mechanical art. The King and Queen, the parents of the Infanta Margarita, King Philip IV and María de Austria (1634-1696), are reflected in the mirror at the back of the room, leading to series of extraordinarily complex spatial relationships. Their glances, along with the king and queen's reflection, affirm the royal couple's presence outside the painted space. As though the painter could not at the same time be seen on the picture where he is represented and also see that upon which he is representing something."[68]. It is unlikely that it has anything to do with the optical imperfection of the mirror, which would, in reality, have displayed a focused image of the King and Queen". During the remaining eight years of his life, he painted only a few works, mostly portraits of the royal family. Since the popularity of Italian art was then at its height among British connoisseurs, they concentrated on paintings that showed obvious Italian influence, largely ignoring others such as Las Meninas.[78]. [50] Stone writes: We cannot take in all the figures of the painting in one glance. Philip had his own chair in the studio and would often sit and watch Velázquez at work. Its complex and enigmatic composition raises questions about reality and illusion, and creates an uncertain relationship between the viewer and the figures depicted. This painting is a portrait of the Infanta Margarita, daughter of King Philip IV (1605-1665), surrounded by her servants in a hall of Madrid’s Alcázar Palace. In the conclusion of The Order of Things Foucault explained why he undertook such a forensic analysis of Las Meninas: let us, if we may, look for the previously existing law of that interplay [i.e., the law of representation] in the painting of Las Meninas… In Classical thought, the personage for whom the representation exists, and who represents himself within it, recognizing himself therein as an image or reflection, he who ties together all the interlacing threads of the 'representation in the form of a picture or table'—he is never to be found in that table himself. [37] Ernst Gombrich suggested that the picture might have been the sitters' idea: "Perhaps the princess was brought into the royal presence to relieve the boredom of the sitting and the King or the Queen remarked to Velazquez that here was a worthy subject for his brush. Bermúdez's writings on the painting were published posthumously in 1885. The painting entered the collection of the Museo del Prado on its foundation in 1819. There is no documentation as to the dates or reasons for the trimming. Information office in Spain: [82] The copy was admired throughout the 19th century in Britain, and is now in Kingston Lacy. The pictorial space in the midground and foreground is lit from two sources: by thin shafts of light from the open door, and by broad streams coming through the window to the right. The post brought him status and material reward, but its duties made heavy demands on his time. The left cheek of the Infanta was almost completely repainted to compensate for a substantial loss of pigment. Artist: Pierre Audouin (French, Paris 1768–1822 Paris) Artist: after Velázquez (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez) (Spanish, Seville 1599–1660 Madrid) It is here that Las Meninas is set. The greatest good is small; all life, it seems [69], Foucault's analysis of Las Meninas, although on one level a contribution to art history, is more about epistemology, specifically the 'cognitive status of the modern human sciences'.[70]. (Photo by Art Media/Print Collector/Getty Images) The point of view of the picture is approximately that of the royal couple, though this has been widely debated. Quoted in: Kahr (1975), p. 225, "The composition is anchored by the two strong diagonals that intersect at about the spot where the Infanta stands ..." López-Rey (1999), p. 217. Whereas the reflection in the Flemish painting recomposed objects and characters within a space that is condensed and deformed by the curve of the mirror, that of Velázquez refuses to play with the laws of perspective: it projects onto the canvas the perfect double of the king and queen positioned in front of the painting. [1][2] Some look out of the canvas towards the viewer, while others interact among themselves. [94], The Kingston Lacy painting was previously owned by Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos and then by Ceán Bermúdez, who were both friends of Goya whose portraits he painted.