Velazquez & Las Meninas: a Masterpiece and its Legacy with Andrea Van Houtven

Velazquez & Las Meninas: a Masterpiece and its Legacy with Andrea Van Houtven


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Enjoy this in-depth presentation of the Prado Museum’s most famous painting by Diego Velázquez and its lasting influence on artists for over 300 years.

Scholars, artists and visitors to the Prado Museum in Madrid have been fascinated by this masterpiece of western art ever since it was painted by Diego Velázquez in the 1650s for King Philip IV of Spain. As with most masterpieces, this painting is still very much “alive” today because its meaning and interpretation continue to be debated as fresh evidence emerges, and new theories are proposed. This conversation will delve into both the painting and its legacy, in the company of an art historian.

Over the centuries, Las Meninas has been praised as a uniquely tangible impression of Spanish court life in the 17th century, as a visual paradox, as a politically-charged dynastic portrait, as a poetic exaltation of the art of painting and as a bold statement of Velazquez’s own rise in status and place within the royal “family”.After a brief look at some of Velazquez’s other works, this Conversation will take participants through these and other readings of Las Meninas, and also discuss its powerful influence on artists from the 17th through the 21st centuries, including Goya, John Singer Sargent, Picasso, Dali and more recently, Pop and contemporary artists in Spain and elsewhere.

Led by an expert art historian, Andrea Van Houtven, this interactive seminar will help participants understand why Las Meninas continues to be the object of such fascination. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased appreciation of Velazquez and Spanish art, into the present day.

Andrea has a Ph.D in Art History from the University of Maryland, and wrote her dissertation on seventeenth-century Spanish art. She has been living in Madrid for over twenty years, where she teaches at an arts college, and has been a Context expert for over ten years.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.