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Museums and Art

“Portrait of the Infanta Margarita as a Child,” Juan Batista Martinez del Maso - Description

“Portrait of the Infanta Margarita as a Child,” Juan Batista Martinez del Maso - Description

Portrait of Infanta Margarita in childhood - Juan Batista Martinez del Maso. 212 x 147 cm

Almost from the moment she was born, this little girl was married, which is why so many portraits of her were preserved while she was growing. This peculiar report in the images introduced the world to Infanta Margarita - a small “pearl” of the Spanish Habsburg court.

The painting was started by Diego Velazquez in the year of his death, and completed by his son-in-law, Martinez del Maso. The hand of the great master is immediately visible in it, first of all, in the construction of the composition and in the image of the girl’s face. Many believe that the artist flattered the child, softening the typical "Habsburg" features of his face, giving out numerous family marriages.

Juan Batista worthily continued the work of his father-in-law, bringing the canvas to perfection. This is a classic ceremonial portrait with a frozen, static pose and a massive robe too heavy for a fragile child. The girl’s pink and silver dress is richly decorated and "worn" on a huge crinoline, which is why her hands literally lie on it. She does not smile, and in her eyes there was a completely childish expression of humility with her fate. It is evident that she is accustomed to posing and idle for hours in a heavy uncomfortable dress.

Margarita, as befits a princess, is abundantly decorated with jewelry, despite her young age. Her hairstyle is too lush, like everything on this canvas. A girl stands against a heavy red curtain and voluminous drapery, gathered by spectacular folds. The artist magnificently conveyed various textures of fabrics - radiant satin, thick velvet, gold and silver threads.

But the girl’s face is most eye-catching. It has already lost its infant plumpness and it is clear that she will never grow into a beauty, but the expression of awareness of her own duty and duty is striking in him. And this is a child of nine years old! Before us is Margarita - a small victim of palace etiquette and the matrimonial plans of the dynasty.


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