The Cube takes a closer look at claims that Las Meninas will be withdrawn from the Prado Museum in Madrid for supposedly being a hate crime.
Some social media users are claiming that the Prado Museum in Madrid is removing the world-famous piece of art for being a hate crime against people with restricted growth, known as dwarfism in English.
But no, the claims aren’t true.
This post published on X in Spanish says that Ernest Urtasun, Spain’s culture minister, is planning to remove Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez from the Prado’s permanent exhibition.
It says the reason is because the painting constitutes a hate crime against people suffering from dwarfism and achondroplasia, which is a genetic condition that slows down bone growth.
The 1656 work depicts Velázquez himself painting Spain’s king and queen, with various other members of the royal court present, including two dwarfs on the right.
However, it’s incorrect to say that Las Meninas is being cancelled for being offensive to people with dwarfism for several reasons.
Firstly, the account that originally shared the claim clearly labels itself as a parody, meaning it’s probably not the most trustworthy source for hard facts.
Secondly, The Cube got in contact with Spain’s Ministry of Culture, who told us that no such plans to remove Las Meninas are in place.
It said the claim is indeed a hoax and is “absolutely false”.
Not only that, but another account that shared the claim – and got a lot of traction – has been community-noted by X users.
The note says that in fact, rather than removing any art, the Prado and other Spanish museums are changing the descriptions of certain pieces, such as Las Meninas, to get rid of terms deemed offensive.
You can read more about that over on Euronews Culture, which says the changes are part of a bid to increase inclusion and promote equality.
The Spanish terms for ‘dwarfism,’ ‘handicapped,’ ‘the wife of’ and ‘obesity’, for example, are being removed to use more inclusive and less sexist language.
What’s the deal with Las Meninas?
Las Meninas is world-renowned not only thanks to its impressive size and skill, but because of its meta and self-referential nature.
Velázquez painted himself into the work, and appears to be painting us, the viewer.
But if you look closely, you can see the reflections of King Philip the fourth and Queen Mariana in the mirror, where we should be standing.
Other important characters in the painting include the Infanta Margaret Theresa, daughter of the king and queen.
She stands in the centre and is flanked by two ladies in waiting – or ‘meninas’, from which the painting gets its name.
As for the dwarfs, they’re members of the Spanish court: the Austrian Maria Bárbola on the left, and the Italian Nicola Pertusato on the right.
Read the full article here