Artist’s Blog


Las Meninas


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Diego (2)


an unusual painting this

a crowd approaches from far away in a grand space and assembles before it looking at the figures in the painting assembled looking back each group gazes at the other down the centuries reaching back to sixteen fifty six reaching forward to now the clothes and customs have changed but not too much as to preclude recognition perhaps each group might smile if they met what fashion is this out of place out of time a curious conversation might ensue a conversation of curiosity in spanish of course

an unusual painting this

was velasquez thinking about this when he painted it


1871px diego velázquez las meninas die hoffräulein


the painting is about time a moment in time the infanta has come to see the king and queen being painted and there she is herself turned into a painting it is intimate a moment in royal domesticity this is what we do we royals this is what they do the patient dog is kicked playfully from behind the infanta is offered some chocolate the officials look on and discuss the rival painter stands framed on the stair the painter himself stands back and considers

the infanta looks intently at us at her parents at the painter painting her or at something else

one figure is placed in front of the other and reaching back again to the door to the reflection in the mirror on the wall a sense of depth of space that old trick the painters trick depth equals space equals time the time it takes to walk to the doorway in the background to travel there by eye

there is a line on the wall at the back just above velasquez’s head running horizontally to the right below the two large pictures above and the one below and the top of the mirror and the doorway it marks exactly half way on the picture plane an unusual picture this half the painting is full of people and the other half filled with nothing wall and ceiling space vague shadowy undefined again a sense of depth one minute you’re here the next minute you’re gone the painter seems to say you may be royal the centre of attention but soon you will be shadows in a painting at the back of another painting at best or just ghosts drifting up to the ceiling into thin air

a crowd approaches from far away in a grand sala in a grand museum exited a little forbidden from taking pictures of this picture I myself was told off for taking these a little exited to be meeting the ancestors who come every day in their best dresses and stockings to meet us

the crowd approaches and we say hello

the infanta and others look out intently do we look as intently back the infanta seems to be the centre of attention will she survive and prosper this heir to the royal dynasties of europe so young so fair is this what velazquez was thinking when one day she came to see her parents being painted and he caught the light on the top of her head out of the corner of his eye in the moment of that painting we do not know but now centuries later we do she did more of less nothing spectacular she survived and now as a few of those dynasties still linger we can say we are all her heirs standing here in front of her in front of us in our own democracy more or less

is this what velasquez was thinking

they say that velasquez used a mirror to paint this painting he certainly must have done to paint himself but the rest of it perhaps perhaps not the figures stare out so intently they might be considered to be looking at themselves in a mirror that gaze that meeting of our eyes with our eyes that is like no other is this what velasquez was thinking the mirror on the wall in the background the mirror into which the infanta gazes at herself the painting as a mirror up to nature of us looking a them looking at us we laugh or we admire their sense of dress their sense of style but we recognise the relationship between ceremony and banality between theatre and time

an unusual picture this

was velasquez thinking of all of this when he painted it


perhaps not

maybe one day when the king and queen were being painted in that grand musty sala feeling bored and summoning their daughter to come and cheer them up one of them noticed the novelty of the scene and said to velasquez hey diego that would make a good painting what we can see from here the infanta and las meninas and you painting us and us reflected in that mirror on the wall at the back

and diego went about working out how it could be done



Las Meninas by Diego Velasquez can be seen in the Prado Museum, Madrid. A fuller discussion can be read by pressing the link here. Source of image of painting: wikipedia.commons

Exhibition – Ao Encontro de Palmela/A Meeting with Palmela.


Ao Encontro de Palmela

Very good exhibition. It takes you back to the days of Impressionism, but a ‘present-day’ impressionism with clear contemporary traces and an impressive mastery of light. It also reveals an outsider’s vision of Palmela with all its urban and rural beauty.
Lionel Santos
A beautiful exhibition. The pictures really draw you into Palmela, you can literally feel the heat, you can smell the flowers and lose yourself in the backstreets of the town…
Niurka Santos
Palmela 20/7/19


Muito boa exposição. Leva você de volta aos dias do
impressionismo, mas um impressionismo “atual” com
traços contemporâneos claros e um domínio impressionante da luz. Revela também a visão de um forasteiro de Palmela com todas as suas belezas urbanas e rurais. Lionel Santos 20/7/19

Parabéns! Uma bela exposição. As imagens realmente atraem
Palmela, dá para sentir literalmente o calor, sente o
cheiro das flores e se perde nas ruelas da cidade… Niurka Santos Palmela 20/7/19

Herzliche Glückwünsche! Eine schöne Ausstellung. Die Bilder ziehen einen
wirklich nach Palmela, man kann die Hitze förmlich
spüren, man kann die Blumen riechen und sich in den
Gassen der Stadt verlieren… Niurka Santos Palmela 20.07.19