Whether in powerful red, vibrant orange, or gentle green, Alfredo Palmero’s Meninas and their charming colours have an almost hypnotic effect. In his large-format portraits, tradition meets modernity, and abstraction collides with the paintings of the old masters. It is no coincidence that his series is named after the famous painting “Las Meninas” by Diego Velázquez, one of the most important portrait painters of the Spanish Baroque. Palmero shares Velázquez’s love for detail as well as his unique ability to express his model’s personality in just a few brushstrokes.
Palmero created his Meninas as symbols of femininity, allegories for the mysteries of women and their role in society. We seem to recognise typical female attributes in their expressive poses: Gentleness, pride, and sensuality are almost tangible. Each embodies a different disposition and symbolises a different allure – one that is reflected in the background colours. It is not only the exquisite colours of Palmero’s portraits that stand out, but also the pieces’ compositional nature. While the upper halves of the images follow a realistic, figurative style of painting, the bottom halves lose themselves in complete abstraction. His use of expressive brushstrokes to portray the Meninas’ opulent dresses is almost reminiscent of a sketch by Miró. This contrast-rich relationship creates the distinctive charm of Palmero’s works, whose beauty is matched only by that of the Meninas themselves.
You can view some of the Meninas here.
I, of course, put my own mark on his style...
Lady in Red
Lady of the Heavens
Lady of the Feathers