Las Meninas: Third Interpretative Exercise
I’m having an artistic revolution, and my head is spinning with shapes and colours. Ever since my last encounter with Velazquez’s Las Meninas last November, a seed has been sewn and new buds of Spring are rapidly taking shape as they shoot forth from my imagination to the tip of my paintbrush.
The latest result of this creative flowering is this, the third in my own Las Meninas exercise, each canvas taking a new approach to painting one step further. While in the second of the series, I reduced the famous figures of Velazquez’s work into simplified abstract forms, but maintained the familiar composition, in this third experiment, I have stripped the painting almost entirely of its compositional values, maintaining only the basic three dimensional construct of the room. As for the remainder, all of the shapes which can be found in the second painting are now displaced, recoloured and fragmented, distributed in an energetic whirl of abstracted movement which is entirely free in its composition.
Had I come across a work such as this in an art gallery, I may have assumed that it was easy to paint. Yet as this painting taught me, it was far from simple. The delicacy with which a composition of this nature needs to be approached, not just technically (there are an awful lot of straight lines) but also compositionally, cannot be underestimated. I would spend long periods staring at the painting, trying to work out where the next shape should be placed, knowing that one incorrect angle or placement could throw out the entire energy of the piece, reducing the painting into something mediocre, devoid of its own story.
As it is, and with a few wrong turns rectified along the way, I am delighted with the final composition as it turns out. For me it is a composition rejuvenated, a painting which appears to burst before your eyes. And most importantly it retains, for me, some of the key ingredients of Las Meninas, albeit presenting them in an entirely different way.
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