Margaret Theresa of Spain would appear several times within the work of this artist, such as with Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress. As his career entered its final stages, we do know that Velazquez started to make use of assistants more and more, leading to some question marks appearing over the paintings that appeared later in his lifetime. It may have been perhaps that after working on so many portraits over the years that he was starting to become a little stale in this genre, and needed help to finish these commissions. Of course, as a court painter he was used to being instructed on what to paint, but it would be hard to continue in this vein indefinitely, without his motivation and creativity being seriously impacted.
The composition features the young woman in a beautiful, highly decorative dress that almost fills the full width of the painting. The main body of the clothing is grey with pink stripes diagonally across. There is also a thick pink area in this design across her midrift. She holds a small hanky or cloth from her right hand, just as found in many of Velazquez's portraits. There is an abundance of frills around her sleeves, with a small bouquet of flowers in her left hand. A dark embroidered element lines the top of her dress and a decorative brooch sits in the middle of her chest. There is also a chain that hangs from her right sholder and reaches down to her waist. She wears large red earrings which are purposely displayed out in front of her hair and there is also a red plume of material over her right shoulder. The level of detail used here is extraordinary, and research has suggested that Velazquez actually made use of some assistants in order to complete this complex painting.
The painting is currently a part of the Museo del Prado, Madrid, who own many of the works featured here. They remain the best place to visit for those looking to see this artist's work up close, and the colours and style used by Velazquez is something to be marvelled at when doing so. Most of the sixty-odd paintings in their collection to have come from his hand came via the same route and it was important for the Spanish nation that all of these would become available for the general public to enjoy in the long term. With that situation now established, it is unlikely that any of these paintings will ever change hands, barring some extraordinary circumstances and many countries are now making considerable efforts to protect their art collections from private buyers, including substantial legislation around that. Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez remains one of this institution's biggest draws as well as his personal masterpiece.