By DARLA MCCAMMON
Lakeland Arts Association
Diego Velázquez created this group portrait titled Las Meninas around 1656. This work can now be seen at the famous Prado museum in Madrid, Spain. This painting, considered the artist’s masterpiece, shows us that pets were considered a welcome part of the Spanish court during the time of King Philip IV. The young lady at the center of attention is Margaret Theresa of Spain. The Spanish Mastiff, a gorgeous dog, is patiently but not happily enduring a kick from a small tyrant. Wouldn’t you like to reprimand that child? The King and Queen and even the artist are all present but no one seems to be interested in disciplining the unruly member of the royal family.
Velázquez was born in Seville in 1599 and died at 61 years of age in Madrid. His work is considered part of the Baroque period or the Spanish Golden Age. He showed promise at an early age and had a well-rounded education that included apprenticeships under several artists. He and his spouse had a long marriage which solidified his connections. His work began to be noticed, such as his Old Woman Frying Eggs and several sacred and very realistic pieces. He did several noted portraits that eventually caught the attention of the king. The King’s court painter died shortly thereafter, and by 1624 Velázquez received a bonus from the king to move his family to Madrid where he was then put on salary. His career continued to blossom and he was able to travel, meet other artists, and continue to develop his skills. Ultimately Velázquez was considered the leading talent in the court of King Philip IV. He produced at least forty portraits of the king and many others in the royal court including Las Meninas . This painting has been the subject of much speculation about the hidden meanings within the canvas. The reflected king and queen on the back wall, the dog on the floor, the different representations of Spain have all become part of the mystery surround the intentions of Velázquez.
The Mastiff is a masterful dog, even Caesar described this breed. This is a large dog and 28th in the AKC list of popularity. Mastiffs have short coats and are generally healthy but watch for some issues in a small percentage of them. Because of their large size, they should have obedience training very early and consistently. Often called gentle giants, this breed needs good socialization and can eventually make wonderful therapy dogs. These dogs are intelligent and are eager to please thus training becomes easier than with some breeds.
Upcoming and Current Events:
- Warsaw City Hall Art Gallery Grace College Student work on display. Open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm.
- Wagon Wheel Lobby Gallery, Andrew Tomasik exhibit. Open any time the lobby is open except during performances. Ticket holders to performances will be able to visit the gallery as well for free.
- Lakeland Art Gallery is open for the season. More on Melodie Thompson and Gabrielle Stephenson next week. Check out the current exhibit of these two! It is great!
- Artists: contact City of Winona Lake about upcoming opportunity to provide a sculpture that might be selected for perennial display. Rick Swaim has more information.
For more information on topics in this column, please contact Darla McCammon at [email protected] or (574) 527-4044. Some older columns are available online along with information about Art and Author work.