Norms do… Velázquez
For the final instalment of The Daily Norm’s Spanish Season, I present the second of my Norm paintings completed while in Spain… Infanta Norm! Infanta Norm is painted in the style of the Spanish Artist supremo, Diego Velázquez. Velázquez’s masterpiece, Las Meninas, is one of Spain’s most famous classical paintings, and is without a doubt the star of the show in Madrid’s Prado Gallery. The paintings is a scene depicting a day in the life of the court of King Felipe IV of Spain. As the Spanish Court’s principal artist, Velázquez painted a number of portraits of the royal family. Amongst them are various portraits of the King’s children or “Infantas”, the likes of which form the inspiration for my own “Infanta Norm”. These paintings, along with Las Meninas, have become iconic of Spain’s golden age, and the royal princesses, with their wide dresses and equally wide hair, all adorned with gleaming jewels and rich fabrics, have become staples of Spain’s tourist iconography. Hence every souvenir shop in Spain now sells reproductions of the familiar wide-dressed princesses. I in fact have a relatively less tacky red ceramic reproduction in my London lounge!
In the gallery below I enclose a few images of the collective paintings which inspired my Infanta Norm. The painting’s composition is almost entirely based upon Velázquez’s Infanta Don Margarita (1660) with its voluptuous silk curtain hangings framing the figure of the young princess. However, for her hair and some of the dress detailing, I have also taken details from two other Velázquez portraits of Princess Margarita and her sister, Maria Teresa.
Having inspired souvenir shops and tourists alike for centuries, it is not surprising that Velázquez’s portraits have also inspired other artists too. One major proponent of the Velázquez revolution is Picasso who famously painted some 58 variations on the subject (one of which is shown here). His whimsy take on the more serious Velázquez masterpieces are well worth a look, and can all be found in Barcelona’s wonderful Picasso Museum.
A second artist who has been equally inspired by Velázquez is the lesser known contemporary artists Equipo Cronica. I saw his version of Las Meninas in the Museum of Spanish Contemporary Art (Fundacion Juan March) in Palma de Mallorca. He brilliantly transposes the image into a modern day lounge setting, with retro furniture and TV. Here, you can see his dealing of the Infanta Margarita, painted almost as though confined beneath political red tape, or museum security lasers.
Finally I enclose two images painted by myself in 2009, also inspired by the Infanta portraits by Velázquez. Taking Velázquez’s images, I adapted them to the contemporary setting of my interior design, and took the personalities of two of my friends, Sally and Fiona, as inspiration for the objects held by the two characters.
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