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One of the most celebrated images in the history of Western art, this composition takes its name from the handmaidens of the Infanta Margarita (1651–1673), daughter of Philip IV of Spain, and Mariana of Austria. Velázquez, the painter of the original work, depicts himself next to the handmaidens accompanied by two dwarves in the foreground, one of whom kicks the dog (reputedly a descendant of the Lyme mastiff given to Philip III) out of the way of the entering royal couple.
oil on canvas
H 142 x W 122 cm
bequeathed by Ralph Bankes, 1981