Segments in this Video

Madrid 1665 (02:15)


In 17th century Spain a painter living in King Phillip IV royal Alzcazar palace would paint a family portrait of the royals that would live on as a masterpiece of portraits for centuries.

The Subjects in "Las Meninas" (03:14)

The first analysis is to recognize the 12 individuals that appear in this royal portrait and explain their function in the royal court.

Explaining the Self Portrait (02:35)

A prominent curiosity of Las Meninas is the "why" Velázquez included himself as a subject within a royal family portrait.

A Betrothal and Royal Fashion (01:30)

The style of dresses worn in Las Meninas was also to the wedding of King Louis XIV was documented by biographer of the time.

The Gaze of the Subjects (02:15)

As the viewer admires the portrait, just what is it that the subjects of the painting are looking at?

King Phillip IV (02:11)

Velázquez had a long-standing relationship with King Phillip IV, a dynamic and unusual Spanish monarch with a passion for art.

Artistic Influences and Study (02:58)

After meeting the Flemish painter Rubens, Velázquez travel to Italy to complete a two year study of the masters.

The Gaze Revealed (01:55)

A central clue in the portrait reveals who the subjects Velázquez painted are truly supposed to be looking upon.

Illusion of the portrait subjects and the real audience (02:37)

The use of a mirror Las Meninas can be seen as a metaphor for illusion, which was a common intellectual discussion of the time, but perhaps all the subjects of the painting were in attendance after all.

A Knight of Santiago (02:55)

The crest that Velázquez bares in the portrait is of the knighthood bestowed upon him by King Phillip IV, but it is an award that was given to the painter two years after Las Meninas was completed.

Las Meninas Reinterpreted (01:09)

Throughout the centuries Las Meninas has been re-envisioned several times by contemporary artists of their age, each time reinforcing the power of the original portrait.

Credits: Las Meninas (1665) by Diego Velázquez: Little Secrets of Works of Art (00:39)

Credits: Las Meninas (1656) by Diego Velázquez: Little Secrets of Works of Art

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Las Meninas (1656) by Diego Velázquez: Smart Secrets of Great Paintings

Part of the Series : Smart Secrets of Great Paintings
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During the golden age of the Spanish empire artist Diego Velázquez served as the official painter for they royal court of King Phillip IV and his family. In 1656 he completed "Las Meninas", a portrait with a unique composition and a mysterious subject that has since become revered as a masterpiece.  This episode of Smart Secrets of Great Paintings anaylzes and unlocks many of the clues hidden within Velázquez's celebrated portrait.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL94719

ISBN: 978-1-68272-094-3

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.