Las Meninas

Gr 2—6—This extraordinary pop-up book offers an interactive exploration of the life and art of the 17 th -century Spanish painter Diego Velázquez. The artist was invited to live in the palace of King Felipe IV and served as the official royal painter. His most famous work, Las Meninas, depicts the young princess Margarita surrounded by her attendants. The piece is one of the most enigmatic in art history, mostly because the artist features himself twice in the painting-posing in the front with his palette in hand, and in the back of the scene, painting what he sees in front of him. One thing that is remarkable is that in the pop-up version, readers are able to see the back view as well as the front. To explore the theme of mirrors, there is a foldout mirror board and a miniature book that features pictures of other famous paintings that have mirrors. Punch-out figures from the paintings and an elaborate foldout pinhole camera are included for children to further explore the ideas of composition, placement, and point of view. The book is illustrated with color reproductions of famous works of art and peppered with retro-style cartoon pictures of children commenting and asking questions about the art. The tone of the all-Spanish text is friendly, engaging, and informative. This would be an excellent addition to art-history lessons or units on Spanish history and culture.—Rebecca Hickman, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL

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