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"Las Meninas" By Diego Velazquez. Essay

813 words - 3 pages

Velazquez, DiegoLas Meninas1656When placing yourself through the eyes of Diego Velazquez, one has many questions. These questions range from the obvious observations to the most acute of details. However, I, being an average viewer of art from a background of primarily pop culture, had a difficult time selecting exactly what questions to ask this painting. The real question that repeatedly surged in my mind was the question of mystification or "the process of explaining away what might otherwise be evident"(112). Was I going to view this art like the general masses and be mystified like Berger predicted I would be? Well, yes and no.When I first looked at the portrait of Las Meninas, the first question that came to my mind was why the characters of the painting were positioned in the numerous fashions that they were. I immediately thought of the Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci. The thought-process was that both paintings consist of a central figure. Although, in both, there are other characters engaging in separate activities. Then, I realized that I had already mystified the art by seeing it through the painting, Virgin of the Rocks, rather than viewing the painting through the eyes of the artist, Diego Velazquez. My initial experience with this art was similar to the process of mystification. I was explaining away what the artist wanted me to see. The only absolute way to see the art for what it could possibly convey was through a Berger analysis.Once again, I asked myself why the characters were positioned the way they were. My eyes first focused on the little girl in the center of the painting. It is true that the girl in the center dominates the scene, both by her dignity for she has already the air of one who is habitually obeyed and by the exquisite beauty of her pale gold hair. And who are in background? The mother and the father, reduced to reflections in a shadowy mirror. This may have seemed no more than the record of a scene which had taken his fancy. But must we suppose that Velazquez was unaware of what he was doing when he so drastically reversed the accepted scale of values? Shouldn't the mother and the father play the central role in painting. The girl attempts to dominate the lives of those around her including mother and father. Was this accepted during this time?...

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