Thursday, November 7, 2013

Velazquez, Diego

Infanta Margarita Teresa
oil on canvas
129 x 100 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

Margarita Teresa (1651 - 1673) was the first-born child of King Philip IV of Spain and his second wife Maria Anna of Austria. Philip had been a widower since 1644. Two years later, after the premature death of the Infante Balthasar Carlos, the king's only son and heir to the throne, he decided to remarry. His bride-to-be, the young Archduchess Maria Anna, had previously been engaged to Balthasar Carlos. She was the daughter of Philip's sister Maria with the Emperor Ferdinand III and therefore his niece. In October 1649, the fourteen-year-old was married to the Spanish king per procuram in Vienna. Shortly thereafter, she traveled via Trento and Milan to Madrid.

Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez (1599 - 1660) was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was called the "noblest and most commanding man among the artists of his country." "His men and women seem to breathe," it has been said; "his horses are full of action and his dogs of life."

From the first quarter of the nineteenth century, Velazquez's artwork was a model for the realist and impressionist painters, in particular Edouard Manet. Since that time, more modern artists, including Spain's Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, as well as the Anglo-Irish painter Francis Bacon, have paid tribute to Velazquez by recreating several of his most famous works.