The Maids of Honor
"The Maids of Honor" is an oil painting by the Spanish painter Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez in 1656. It is now in the Prado Gallery in Spain. The painting is a court life painting with a customary character, which depicts the daily life in the court. The little princess Margaret is portrayed as a solemn and unpredictable childishness, occupying the center of the picture. A palace lady offered a cup to her, and on the left is the painter who is painting. The painter arranges himself in this dramatic plot, giving the whole painting a rich sense of life and sentiment.
Since 1622, Velázquez has been the court painter of King Philip IV of Spain. After the 1750s, he became the court general manager, from the interior of the king's residence to the court celebrations. Regardless of the big things, he had to personally ask, even in such a busy situation, Velázquez was commissioned by King Philip IV to create "The Maids of Honor". When the painting was completed, it was titled "King's House" and later changed its name to "The Maids of Honor".
The painting has a customary character, describing the daily life in the court from the taste of life. At the same time, it also reveals the fact that people living in the court are not happy. They are bound by the ruthless etiquette and even noble. The same is true of the little princess. She has lost the innocence that children should have, and she must maintain her posture in a reserved manner.
The painter broke the inherent principles of court portraits. Instead of placing the kings and couples in the center of the picture like traditional paintings, they placed them in a secondary position. Such composition is bold and somewhat random. This kind of practice is a reform of the court portraits. The characters on the screen are no longer arranged in a rigid manner, but in the natural state as much as possible. The natural light from the door and the side window is used very well. The light is evenly spread throughout every corner of the room.
The central figure in the work of "The Maids of Honor" is Princess Margaret, the youngest daughter of King Philip IV of Spain. She is at the center of the picture and poses as a model. A palace lady on the left kneels down and gives her some refreshments, but the little princess completely ignores it and seems more self-willed. A palace lady on the right side of Margaret is bowing, as if praying for the princess to eat, in the lower right corner of the picture, there are two gnomes for the court and a dozing dog, and the two years behind the princess Long servants may be the regulators of Margaret's daily life, and they seem to be talking about what was suddenly interrupted.
The most interesting thing about the whole picture is that Velasquez arranged himself in the picture. He stood behind a huge drawing board with a palette, and it was a magical portrait. He was a portrait he painted for himself. Velázquez deliberately highlighted the jazz medal worn on his chest, which he dreamed of to show his honor. The exit of the hall stood guarded by the soldiers. He did not straighten his body. His one foot stood on the lower step.
The characters who appeared through the mirror on the wall of the picture were King Philip IV and Queen Marianna, who attracted all the eyes on the scene. However, it was Velázquez who painted the portraits of the kings and couples. Because the sudden appearance of Princess Margaret brought trouble to the artist's creation, or the painter painted the statue of Margaret, it was difficult for the little princess to be willful. Cooperate, and at this time the king and the queen suddenly came, and the story of the whole picture changed dramatically. Every character in the noble Princess Margaret showed a panic look, only the painter was so calm. At this time, the light that enters the room from the side window completely freezes the picture at this moment. This moment is like the shutter that the camera quickly presses, which is very real.
This work of 3 meters in height, each object of the picture is the same size as the real thing, which shows the skill of Velázquez. The artist paints each object quite in place and is not perfunctory. The texture, shape, space, and light and dark treatments are even more impressive. The painter shows people a statue of a "real" time segment.
This work has been placed in the study of Philip IV since the completion of the work, and no one is allowed to peek. After the death of Velázquez in 1660, Philip IV immediately restored the work and painted a red sacred cross on the chest of Velázquez.
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