The Infanta Maria Theresa of Spain

Here is another art museum interior in my infrequent “Art Museum” series, this time from the Prado in Madrid, Spain. The group is standing in front of one of the more famous paintings in the Prado’s collection. The name of the painting is “Las Meninas,” which means “ladies-in-waiting.” The main subject is the infanta Maria Teresa, who later married Louis the XIV of France. (Yes, he was the “Sun King” who built the Palace of Versailles.) The artist is Velazquez.

Maria is a cute little girl in this portrait but as one source I read said, “she outgrew her cute phase and came to look like the rest of her family.” Many of the Hapsburgs were notoriously ugly, but perhaps none more so than her step brother Charles II, who was also the product of many generations of close inbreeding.

Consider this: Charles was the son of Mariana of Austria and Philip IV of Spain. These parents were not only related, they were uncle and niece, which meant that his grandmother was also his aunt. Charles’ mouth was so deformed, he had trouble chewing his food. Thanks a lot Mom and Dad (or Uncle and Niece)!

If you are still intrigued by all of this, check out the intertwined branches of the Spanish family family tree.

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