"Las Meninas" by Diego Velazquez.

Essay by XxCrisisxXCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2003

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Velazquez, Diego

Las Meninas


When 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...