The last art gallery I visited when I was in Vienna earlier this month was the Albertina. They were advertising two main exhibitions, one of Michaelangelo sketches and one of works by Picasso. I made this gallery my last port of call and in a way I was pleased with that decision. I liked the Michaelangelo sketches but, sad to say, I am not a lover of Picasso’s works of art. As an art lover, I know that is a terrible thing to admit to, but one knows what one likes and vice versa. Why should I pretend that I love his work when in fact I can find little to like about it.
So why am I making it one of My Daily Art Display offerings? The reason is that yesterday I offered you Las Meninas by Velazquez and today I am offering you one of Picasso’s many interpretation of that work of art which I saw at the Albertina and I will let you judge which version pleases you the most.
Pablo Picasso was fourteen years of age when he first saw Velazquez’s painting of the two Maids of Honour and the Indfanta entitled Las Meninas and this was just a few months after his seven-year old blonde-haired sister had died from diphtheria. Two years later, at the age of sixteen, Picasso produced his first sketch relating to the Las Meninas characters. In all, from the time of his adolescence, Picasso, who adored the Velazquez painting, devoted much time to analysing and interpreting this work of art.
Today’s painting for My Daily Art Display is Las Meninas after Velazquez by Pablo Picasso and was completed in 1957. It is one of his fifty eight interpretations of Velazquez’s original painting of the same name. The main characters in Picasso’s work remain the same as in the original Velazquez painting, namely, Velázquez; Doña Agustina de Sarmiento and Doña Isabel de Velasco the two maids of honour (las Meninas) , Doña Margarita, the Infanta; the two dwarves, Maribárbola and Nicolasito Pertusato, and he even reproduces the shape of the dog lying on the floor. In the background, he also keeps the looking-glass, in which one can see two images which represent the king and queen of Spain.
So it is up to you to look at today’s and yesterday’s versions of Las Meninas and decide for yourself which you prefer.