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Diego Velzquez was called the noblest and most commanding man among the artists of his country He was a master realist and no painter has surpassed him in the ability to seize essential features and fix them on canvas with a few broad sure strokes His men and women seem to breathe it has been said his horses are full of action and his dogs of life Because of Velzquez great skill in merging color light space rhythm of line and mass in such a way that all have equal value he was known as the painters painter as demonstrated in the paintings Las Meninas Sebastin de Morra and Baltasar Carlos and a Dwarf Las Meninas is a pictorial summary and a commentary on the essential mystery of the visual world as well as on the ambiguity that results when different states or levels interact or are juxtaposed The painting of The Royal Family also known as Las Meninas has always been regarded as an unsurpassable masterpiece According to Palomino it was finished in 1656 and while Velzquez was painting it the King the Queen and the Infantas Mara Teresa and Margarita often came to watch him at work In the painting the painter himself is seen at the easel the mirror on the rear wall reflects the half-length figures of Philip IV and Queen Mariana standing under a red curtain The Infanta Margarita is in the center attended by two Meninas or maids of honor Doa Isabel de Velasco and Doa Mara Sarmiento who curtsy as the latter offers her mistress a drink of water in a bcaro-a reddish earthen vessel -on a tray In the right foreground stand a female dwarf Mari-Brbola and a midget Nicols de Pertusato who playfully puts his foot on the back of the mastiff resting on the floor Linked to this large group there is another formed by Doa Marcela de Ulloa guardamujer de las damas
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