Las Meninas and the Late Royal Portraits
- ISBN 9780500970584
- 28.00 x 24.00 cm
- 92 Illustrations, 83 in colour
- First published 2014
A complete survey of one of the key periods in the history of the Spanish court portrait – 1650 to 1680 – a period which includes the peak of Velázquez’s career, with Las Meninas as his great masterpiece.
‘Illuminating’ – Apollo
In 1650 Velázquez was in Rome, where he depicted members of the papal court with a new freedom of approach, while the following year saw his keenly awaited return to Spain, where he returned to the conventions of the court portrait. From that point onwards and until his death in 1660, Velázquez devoted most of his efforts to satisfying a growing demand for portraits of the Spanish royal family. These images were used for both family and diplomatic purposes, given that Philip IV’s children with his last wife, Mariana of Austria, were essential elements in the strategic creation of political alliances across Europe.
These last ten years of Velázquez’s career constitute a period with a marked and distinctive personality. His sitters were now primarily women and children rather than men, a difference that was accompanied by changes in the density of the pigment, the pictorial handwriting and the colour range, which became wider and richer.