November 5, 2012

Las Meninas the Ultimate Metapicture

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.


Katie Latchford said...

I thought the concept of Las Meninas was interesting as well, especially in context with that painting. I do think it is a way of being self-reflexive, showing and exposing its own purpose in a way. I think the whole focal point of it is to, in a sense, show its own thought process. I think this best defines what a metapicture is, because I struggled a bit during the reading. I also think that the picture of the Egyptians falls into this category, because it is also a means of exposing the process of their art while also making a commentary on how we think their art is. So I agree that it depends on the audience, and the metapicture is something of an expose' to the audience as well.

Nicole Lynn said...

Las Meninas became more amazing the more we discussed it in class. By the end, when I realized that we had no real viewpoint to consider ourselves in the painting, it almost felt as if we were looking through the eyes of the artist, just as an author often takes an omniscient stance in a book, this painting had no room for our gaze and yet we still looked upon the scene. As you say yourself, the layers of possibility in this image are endless and truly make it a metapicture.

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