I figured my post this week could pertain to Mitchell’s metapictures since our group wasn’t able to fully present our thoughts. We were assigned the Las Meninas image and were approaching the question of how this painting was an example of the ultimate metapicture. First of all we are presented with an unclear subject matter, we don’t know what in this painting our eye is supposed to be drawn to. Is it the princess and her courtiers? The painter? The people in the mirror? Or is it Velazquez himself in the background? On top of that this promotes an unstable vantage point / role of the audience or viewer of the image. Are we walking into a scene that we weren’t supposed to see? Perhaps we are the subjects depicted in the mirror? Or we could be the subjects that the artist is painting on his canvas.
This instability illuminates the multitude of possibilities and readings that can be drawn from this image. These layers of possibilities is what makes this image a metapicture, it can be read differently depending on the role that the audience member accepts, and what they interpret as the subject of the painting.