Student Copies

As I wandered through the National Museum of San Carlos, I came to a room which made me immediately pause because it was filled with paintings by the famous 17th century artist Diego Velázquez.  These were obviously copies, since I have seen the originals in the Prado Museum in Madrid.  A sign explained that at the old San Carlos Academy of Art, it was a part of the curriculum for students to do faithful copies of masterpieces of European art.  Gifted students were given scholarships to study in Europe, and there they did copies of works from the great museums of the Louvre and the Prado.  The Academy would buy the copies so that other students would then be able to copy the copies.

Diego Velázquez was the court painter of King Phillip IV of Spain.  This copy is of one of the many portraits that Velázquez did of the King.  In this one he is portrayed in his hunting garb.

Velázquez also did several charming portraits of Crown Prince Baltazar Carlos.  Baltazar Carlos never succeeded to the throne because he died of smallpox at the age of 16.

Velázquez also did numerous portraits of the dwarves and buffoons who served as court jesters. He painted them sympathetically and with respect for their individuality.

The room was dominated by a large copy of Velázquez’s most famous masterpiece, “Las Meninas” (The Maids of Honor).  This complex work shows Velázquez (at the left in shadow) at work on a portrait of the King and Queen.  

The little princess Margarita has come in with all her attendants to see her parents.  In the background, the King and Queen can be seen in the reflection of a mirror.


Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments