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June 24, 1974

Picasso, Velasquez, and Dwarfs

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor.

JAMA. 1974;228(13):1671-1672. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230380039025

ARTISTS often turn to the works of others for themes and ideas. Pablo Picasso, the foremost artist of this century, did so to a great extent. He incorporated into his works varying themes from primitive African sculpture to the paintings of Cranach, Poussin, El Greco, Manet, Delacroix, and Toulouse-Lautrec. Picasso's most extensive use of another artist's theme is his series of 45 versions on Velasquez' "The Maids of Honor" (Fig 1).

Velasquez  Velasquez was court painter to King Philip IV of Spain and held exclusive rights to portrayal of the king. In addition, he acted as an ambassador for Spain. "The Maids of Honor" is considered by some critics to be the finest masterpiece of Spain's greatest painter. The painting is admired for its composition, which revolves around five-year-old Princess Margarita attended by her maids of honor. Critics have praised the work for its sensation of depth, the graceful portrayal