“Portrait of Margarita’s Infanta as a Child,” Juan Batista Martinez del Maso – description

“Portrait of Margarita’s Infanta as a Child,” Juan Batista Martinez del Maso – description
“Portrait of Margarita’s Infanta as a Child,” Juan Batista Martinez del Maso - description - 1

  • Posted by Juan Bautista Martinez del Mazo
  • Museum: Prado Museum
  • Year: 1665

Overview of the painting :

Portrait of Margarita’s infanta in childhood – Juan Batista Martinez del Maso. 1665. Oil on canvas. 212 x 147 cm

   This little girl was almost married from the moment of birth, so so so so many of her portraits were preserved while she grew up. This peculiar report in the images introduced the world to infanta Margarita, the small “pearl” of the Spanish court of the Habsburgs.

   The painting was started by Diego Velazquez in the year of his death, and was finished by his son-in-law, Martinez del Maso. It immediately shows the hand of the great master, first of all, in building the composition and in depicting the face of the girl. 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 massive robe, too heavy for a fragile child. The girl’s pink and silver dress is richly decorated and “reliable” to a huge krinolin, which is why her hands literally lie on him. She does not smile, and in her eyes a completely childish expression of humility with her destiny has frozen. It can be seen that she used to posing and spending hours in a heavy uncomfortable dress.

   Margarita, as the princess relies, is abundantly decorated with jewelry, despite her young age. Her hairstyle is too magnificent, like everyone on this canvas. The girl stands against the backdrop of a heavy red curtain and volumetric drapery collected by spectacular folds. The artist perfectly conveyed various tissue textures – a shining atlas, dense velvet, gold and silver threads.

   But the girl’s face attracts most of all. It has already lost its infant swelling and it is clear that it will never grow up beautiful, but it strikes the expression of awareness of one’s own duty, duty. And this is a child of nine years of age! Before us, Margarita is a small sacrifice of the palace etiquette and matrimonial plans of the dynasty.