VELÁZQUEZ, Diego Rodriguez de Silva y
(b. 1599, Sevilla, d. 1660, Madrid)
Las Meninas (detail)1656-57
Oil on canvas
Museo del Prado, Madrid
María Sarmientio is giving her mistress, the Infanta Margarita, water in a bucaro, a red pottery jug, handing it to her on a tray. The children of Philip IV and his first wife Isabel de Bourbon were dead by the date of this painting, except for the eighteen-year-old Infanta María Teresa, who is not shown in this group. Philip married Mariana as his second wife in 1649, and at the time this picture was painted the Infanta Margarita, born on 12 July 1651, was her only child. The little princess's face is shown in an aura of almost other-worldly beauty such as Velázquez hardly achieved in any other work.