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In his second marriage, King Philip IV of Spain, the father of Margarita Teresa (1651–1673), was married to his niece Maria Anna, a daughter of Emperor Ferdinand III. Margarita became engaged to her uncle, the later Emperor Leopold I, at an early age (they wed in 1666). She died in Vienna in 1673, during her seventh pregnancy. The imposing portrait shows the infanta at the age of eight and was sent to the Vienna court as a gift the same year it was painted. For forty years, Velázquez succeeded in defending his leading position at the Spanish court against ambitious rivals. Unlike Rubens, for example, who from the very beginning had secured himself a great degree of independence while in the employ of the Spanish regents in Brussels, Velázquez remained obligated to fulfil the classical duties of a court painter. In the portraits regularly commissioned by members of the royal family, he maintained the traditional gestures and accessories of the court portrait but revolutionised their painterly realisation: the stature of the splendidly dressed child gains unity and three dimensional quality only from a certain distance. The cool, metallic effect of her garment provides a contrast to the delicate skin and is reflected in her blue eyes.In this late work Velázquez achieved a perfect balance between the duty to paint an official portrait and a desire to depict the individual in a lifelike manner. In the 18th century the picture – which was already a fragment of the original – was cut down again to an oval shape. It was restored to its (approximately) original form in 1923. © Cäcilia Bischoff, Masterpieces of the Picture Gallery. A Brief Guide to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna 2010

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Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress (Supplemental)

Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress (Supplemental)

Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress (Supplemental)

Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress (Supplemental)

Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress (Supplemental)

Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress (Supplemental)

Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress (Supplemental)

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