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Why is Las meninas one of the most important paintings in western art history?

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 Las Meninas is considered a masterpiece by Diego Veláquez, one of the most accomplished Spanish painters.

The entire theme and composition of the work has intrigued art lovers for centuries. Veláquez has painted a portrait of the Spanish royal family that is characterized by an exploration in naturalism.

19th century critics predicted this work as a predecessor of the camera due to its uncanny ability to capture a "snapshot" view frozen in a moment in time and space.  The more modern critics have remained astonished at the artist's ability to construct what is considered to be a perfect composition. Observe how the artist creates a "mirror" through which he paints his own image, as if inviting the viewer into the room!

Las Meninas seems to be more about "...the nature of painting, the artist's control over representation, and the status of Velázquez as a court artist."

Witness the effects of spontaneity and informality of the group in the foreground. The daughter of the King and Queen...

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