Michael Jacobs on Las Meninas


The writer Michael Jacobs (who died in January 2014) has a piece in today’s Observer about Las Meninas, the famous 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez analyzed by Foucault in The Order of Things. Several very nice details from the painting are reproduced. Apparently this is an extract from his last book.

Update. This link was broken when I initially posted this earlier today, but here Ed Vulliamy talks about finishing the book by Jacobs after he died:

Michael recalls that it had been a book by French philosopher Michel Foucault, The Order of Things, written in 1966, that led him to look again at Las Meninas. Foucault wrote about the “corporeal gaze” of Velázquez himself, which creates “a condition of pure reciprocity” between painting and viewer. He added: “As soon as they place the spectator in the field of their gaze, the painter’s eyes seize hold of him, force him to enter the picture, assign him a place at once privileged and inescapable.” This idea of the “corporeal gaze” sent Michael back to Madrid to see the painting, whereupon he resolved to write the book.


One response to “Michael Jacobs on Las Meninas

  1. Reblogged this on Progressive Geographies and commented:
    Jeremy Crampton links to a Michael Jacobs piece on Velázquez in The Observer.

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