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Chasing Las Meninas

June 15, 2018
by Cara Stevens
It’s no secret that the streets of Madrid are filled with fascinating art.  From graffiti to tiled walls, there is not a boring place to look when walking throughout the capital city of Spain. One of the art movements in Madrid are “Las Meninas.”

These are sculptures scattered throughout the city that are covered with a modern and unique look to them. Las Meninas are everywhere. They occupy plenty of touristy locations like Puerta de Sol or Gran Via, but also area locals frequent.  The idea behind the sculptures dates back to an art display in the Prado Museum here in Madrid: Velázquez’s “Las Meninas” painting.  As I learned in my history of Spanish art class while studying abroad in Madrid, this is one of the most famous paintings, not only by Velázquez, but in the world.  It is so unique due to all the moving parts throughout the painting, not to mention Velázquez painted himself into the portrait.  The current Maids of Honor taking over the streets of Madrid are a modern-day tribute to Velázquez’s art and to Spanish culture old and new.
 "Cielo de dia y cielo de noche" in Sol.
 Menina in Plaza Mayor, Madrid

Each menina artist has a unique take on how the sculpture's dress shall be decorated.  Some are more old-school and take the time to showcase traditional Spanish culture. Some use completely new ideas that have nothing to do with Spanish culture at all. Every menina has a different meaning and a name. With over 80 Maids of Honor, this artistic movement turns the entire city into a museum.

The meninas have been designed by a variety of famous artists such as Suso 33 or Coco Davez, but their coats of paint have also been designed by unknown artists like chefs and supermodels.
 "La Menina Postal" in Plaza Mayor.
 A very modern looking menina!

Where can you see these sculptures? The majority of them are concentrated between the neighborhoods of Chamberi and Salamanca, which is a pretty far stretch for those who haven’t visited Madrid.
 Showing my parents around Madrid, and finding more meninas!
 Bright colors are what I think make these
statues so fun to see throughout the city.

Las Meninas are iconic in Spanish history, enriching Madrid's dedication to tradition and modernity.


Cara S. is the Spring 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Madrid, Spain. She is currently a sophomore studying Public Relations, Marketing, and Spanish at the University of Dayton.

Cara Stevens is the Spring 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Madrid, Spain, and is currently studying at University of Dayton.
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