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After Las Meninas



John Beard

Wales, Australia

1943 –

  • Details

    Other Title
    Las Meninas
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil and wax on linen
    318.0 x 276.0 cm stretcher
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program in memory of Helen Cassie 2014
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © John Beard

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    John Beard

    Works in the collection


  • About

    John Beard (1943- ) is a significant contemporary painter, who investigates the dynamic tension at play in the structures of pictorial representation. 'After Las Meninas' 2011 is Beard's reinterpretation of Diego Velazquez's iconic 'Las Meninas' 1656. He regularly encountered 'Las Meninas' 1656 at the Museo del Prado during a two year spell in Madrid, Spain. It is a famously complex image renowned for complicating our process of recognition by confusing what appears real and illusory in paint.

    Beard has taken this one step further in replicating the dimensions and composition of the original, but creating a distinctive picture that is at once indistinguishable yet strangely familiar. The linen has been characteristically layered over and over with scumbled screens of black oil and wax so that the image is almost hidden. These thin layers are built up so that the forms appear as a variation in the texture of the surface. We move in relation to the painting and the direction of the light, so that the image has the effect of coming into focus and then receding.

    This viewing experience divorces the image from its weighty history all the while returning the object to materiality and presence. New meaning is created through the slippage between understanding and sensation.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

    • Stephen Bann, Anthony Bond OAM and Charles Saumarez Smith, John Beard, Neutral Bay, 2011, 116, 117. general reference

Other works by John Beard

See all 12 works