Masterpieces of Western Painting: Velazquez's 'Las Meninas'

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Velazquez's Las Meninas was sequestered in the Spanish royal collections from 1656, when it was painted, until the opening of the Museo del Prado in 1819. From that moment, it has been one of the most famous masterpieces of western painting, inspiring many published studies of its remarkable perspectival construction and of its iconography, as well as challenging later generations of artists, from Pablo Picasso to the present. The essays in this 2003 volume provide an introduction to the reception history and the critical fortunes of a painting that has received an avalanche of attention from art critics and art historians, geometricians, philosophers, photographers and semioticians. Together, the six essays trace the discussion of Las Meninas through two centuries providing the reader with a sense of the history of taste and of the ever-fluctuating parameters of art appreciation, history, criticism and theory.