Las Meninas (Infanta Margarita María)
Dated 14.9.57. on the back
Oil on canvas
100 x 81 cm
Donated by the artist, 1968
The Infanta Margarita Maria was the daughter of King Philip IV and Marianna of Austria. When Velázquez painted Las Meninas, she was five years-old and heir to the throne of Spain.
Her sweetness and fragility must have captivated Picasso, since he gives her preferential treatment and, in spite of the distortions and transformations, preserves her original sweetness.
Alone, whether in simple body or as a bust, the Infanta appears in 14 of the series interpretations. Picasso concentrated on studying her body and face, often using simplified geometrical forms. The colour of her dress changes from pink to lavender and then yellow; sometimes the hair is green and the skin, pink; at others, the skin is mauve and the cheeks, blue; her face is crossed by a pale blue stripe and another green colour; her eyes are mauve and red. Sometimes, she is almost transparent and, at others, a yellow triangle.
The creation of space in this work is achieved via juxtaposed and coloured planes with exuberant chromatism, accentuated by the dark background. The face, too large in proportion to her body, has a very suggestive pictorial treatment due to the geometric fragmentation, allowing him to cross it with green, black, blue and white bands.
The Infanta is holding out her right arm holding a jug over the silver tray balancing in the hands of a menina who does not appear in the picture space. The Infanta’s left hand has schematic features characteristic to the artist’s late style.
Picasso painted the Infanta in the noble clothing of the era. Picasso preserves the vigorous interpretation of the flesh, silk and subtle light of the clothing from the Sevillian painter, translating into white lines over the bright yellow dress and the blue outline.