The Las Meninas Painting

who was diego velázquez?

Velázquez was known for painting in a naturalistic style and his subject matter included everyday people as well as royal subjects. He influenced numerous artists like Édouard Manet and Salvador Dalí.

historical overview

It gives an inside peek into the artist’s life as a court painter. It was completed in 1656, which was when the Spanish painter had already been working as a court painter; he started in 1623.

formal analysis of the artwork

subject matter

The painting depicts a large interior scene with 11 figures and one dog, which includes the Spanish painter, Diego Velázquez. The scene reportedly takes place in one of the rooms in the Alcázar Palace.


Velázquez utilized a dark color palette for the Las Meninas painting, and there are mostly neutral colors like blacks, browns, and whites with some reds on the flowers worn by several figures.


Velázquez painted in the alla prima technique. The brushstrokes vary; for example, the smooth brushstrokes for the skin contrast with thicker and somewhat looser brushstrokes.


There are several types of lines in the painting, most notably the various horizontal and vertical lines from the paintings hanging in the background, including the large canvas to the left of the scene and the open doorway to the right in the background.

shape & form

The background is more geometric with various rectangular and square shapes created by the paintings on the wall, for example.


Depth is created through techniques like overlapping the different shapes and forms, for example, the arrangement of the figures who stand in front and behind one another.