Even though Velazquez is in the painting, the focal point is the kings daughter, Margarita, who was a very small child at the time. In fact, many referred to her as an infant, but she is obviously older than what society considers an infant in todays society. She is surrounded by her ladies in waiting, two dwarfs, and a large dog. Margaritas nurse and bodyguard are positioned behind the child and are conversing. Two of the most interesting points in the painting are the mirror and the door which take a position further in the back than the other subjects.
In the mirror the reflection of the king and queen can be seen which symbolize the reflection of both parents in the child. The man in the doorway is the queens chamberlain. The door and the chamberlain is incredibly detailed for items that far in the background. The primary question asked about the painting, Las Meninas, is who is the subject of the painting on which Diego Velazquez is working. It seems obvious that the subject is the princess Margarita because that is the only reason a small child would be in the studio.
Anyone who has dealt with a toddler knows that he/she can be sweet and entertaining, but he/she is also hard to control. There are paints, brushes, and chemicals in an artists studio that could be detrimental to a child. The different colors of the paints would catch the eye of the child and he/she would be drawn to them. Therefore, the child would be brought into the studio only for his/her portrait to be painted.
Clarke, K. Kenneth Clarke: Velazquezs Las Meninas. Retrieved April 22, 2008 from http://www. artchive. com/meninas. htm Velazquez, D. Las Meninas. 1656.