Diego VelázquezAs a court painter, he painted numerous portraits of all the members of theroyal family of Felipe IV. He painted him, obviously, as well as his daughters, both individually and as a group, and in this sense we must always mention his masterpiece Las Meninas.
Portrait of Mariana of Austria by Velázquez
And of course he also portrayed on several occasions the monarch's wife,Doña Mariana de Austria. An example is this painting that we show you here, of which there are two different versions. One kept in the Museo del Prado in Madrid and another in the Louvre in Paris.
This woman's lineage reflects to a thousand wonders the marriage policy and the issue of inbreeding that always surrounded European dynasties, and that in the long run generated more than a mental and he alth problem.
Mariana of Austria was the daughter of theEmperor of Germany, Ferdinand IIand his wife Maria, who was the sister ofPhilip IV himself. So initially, the girl almost from her birth in 1634 was predestined to marryPrince B altasar Carlos. However, the infant died early. So his own uncle, by then already a widower, decided to remarry the girl, from whom he was separated by 36 years. That is why it is not unusual that the king died in 1665, some 16 years aftermarry, while the queen lived until 1696.
Precisely this portrait should have been painted at the time of the marriage, but Velázquez was not at court then, so he did it later in 1651. And as in the court of his parents, in Vienna, also wanted a portrait of the queen, he had to do the second version, which he did by copying his own work and without the need for Doña Mariana to pose. Although the truth is that this second version was so popular that the monarch decided to keep it for himself to hang it in el Escorial, and for the German emperor he commissioned a third replica that is of lower quality, and that today hangs at Kunsthistorisches Musem Vienna.
And regarding the other two versions, the one from the Louvre and the one from the Prado, historians can't quite agree on which is the first one that was executed, since the quality of both is stupendous, and there are only differences in the pompous curtains that surround the queen.