That alone should give you at least an inkling of why Foucault choses to discuss this work. The room is lit through a window out of frame, and. Certainly Foucault and Lacan agree that the key to Las Meninas lies in the large canvas—of which viewers see the back alone— taking up the. Las Meninas is a painting in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, by Diego Velázquez, the .. For Foucault, Las Meninas illustrates the first signs of a new episteme, or way of thinking. It represents a midpoint between what he sees as the two  Artist‎: ‎Diego Velázquez.


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The other side of the canvas: Lacan flips Foucault over Velázquez | Tom Brockelman

The room is lit las meninas foucault a window out of frame, and the walls of the room are covered with paintings. The mirror is the most startling detail to many, because it draws our las meninas foucault to a crucial absence. The painting, as Foucault says, shows us representation "in all its elements.

But the subject of the painting is absent.

The Final Word: Foucault about Las Meninas

The painting has been turned away from our view, and the people it represents are not shown. Las Meninas shows a large room in the Madrid palace of King Philip IV of Las meninas foucaultand presents several figures, most identifiable from the Spanish court, captured, in a particular moment.

Las meninas foucault figures look out of the canvas towards the viewer, while others interact among themselves. We could then add that the two personages serving as models to the painter are not visible, at least directly; but that we can see them in a mirror; and that they are, without any doubt, King Philip IV and his wife, Mariana.

A mirror hangs in the background and reflects las meninas foucault upper bodies of the king and queen. The royal couple appears to be placed outside the picture space in a position similar to that of the viewer.

A few critiques even suggested las meninas foucault they were being painted by the painter. Las Meninas is a pure manifestation of critical thinking, an important trait of modern philosophy. The Infanta, however, stands in full illumination, and with her face turned towards the light source, even though her gaze is not.


Her face is framed by the pale gossamer of her hair, setting her apart from everything else in the picture. The light models the volumetric geometry of her form, defining the conic nature of a small torso bound rigidly into a corset and stiffened bodice, and the panniered skirt extending around her like an oval candy-box, casting its own deep shadow which, by its sharp contrast with the bright brocade, both emphasises and las meninas foucault the small figure as the main point of attention.

The maid to the left faces the light, her brightly lit profile and sleeve creating a diagonal.

Foucault and Painting: Las Meninas by Velazquez | Artist and Educator

Her opposite number creates a broader but less defined reflection las meninas foucault her attention, making a diagonal space between them, in which their charge stands protected.

For this reason his features, though not as sharply defined, are more visible than those of the dwarf who is much nearer the light source.

This appearance of a total face, full-on to the viewer, draws the attention, and its importance is marked, tonally, by the contrasting frame of dark hair, the light on the hand and brush, and the skilfully placed triangle of light on the artist's sleeve, pointing directly to the face.

From the figure of the artist, the viewer's eye leaps again diagonally into the pictorial space. Another man stands, echoing and opposing the form of the artist, outside rather than inside, made clearly defined and yet barely identifiable by the light and shade.

The positioning of such an area of strong tonal contrast right at the rear of the pictorial space is a daring compositional tactic. The shapes of bright light are similar to the irregular light shapes of the foreground Las meninas foucault of Honour, but the sharply defined door-frame repeats the border of the mirror.


The mirror is a perfectly defined unbroken pale rectangle within a broad black rectangle. A clear geometric shape, like a lit face, draws the attention of the viewer more than a las meninas foucault geometric shape such as the door, or a shadowed or oblique face such as that of the dwarf in the foreground or that of the man in the background.