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Space in Las Meninas can be defined in various ways: as the fictitious space established on the canvas, as well as the space that reaches far beyond the picture plane and includes the viewer in the visual dialogue. This aspect of the painting has been called ‘the most daring case of drawing the beholder into the picture’ (Gombrich). The French philosopher Michel Foucault elaborates this point when he states that ‘the entire picture looks out onto a scene [the viewers] for which it is itself a scene’.

Another way to investigate the question of space is put into play by the conceptual Italian artist Paolini in his series Contemplator Enim. By concentrating on the material elements of picture-making within the space of his own apartment, Paolini creates the pictorial space without the picture itself. This self-reference of the artistic means is elevated to the status of artwork, and the environment of artistic creation becomes the object of art itself. In this Paolini alludes to another aspect of Las Meninas, which can be seen as a self-portrait by Velázquez in his locus of creation.

Space is also the subject of the Basque artist Oteiza, but in his case it is the negative space, the emptying-out of material that captures the essence of what attracted him to Las Meninas; a similar silence and emptying-out of space as occurs in the painting by Soledad Sevilla.





general view


    Las Meninas
  Las Meninas (group) Las Meninas (Isabel de Velasco, María Bárbola y Nicolasito Pertusato) Las Meninas (group without Velázquez)
      Contemplator Enim VI (Fuori l'autore)
Soledad Sevilla
      Las Meninas nº IX
Cristóbal Toral
      D'après Las Meninas

Reinas e Infantas Velázquez: un referente para Picasso Variaciones s.XX: iconografia Variaciones s.XX: el espacio Variaciones s.XX: el reflejo