Diego Velázquez: Portrait of Mariana of Austria (1652)

(Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain)

A portait by the Spanish painter Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660). The woman on this painting is Maria Anna of Austria (1634-1696), the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III and his wife Maria Anna of Spain. Mariana married her nephew king Philip IV of Spain in 1649 after his first wife  Elisabeth of France had died. After her wedding she was known by her spanish name Mariana. The marriage produced several children of which only 2 survided into adulthood. Her only surviving son Charles Succeded Philip IV as king of Spain. As a result of generations of inbreeding Charles was mentally and fysically handicaped as she served as a regent for her son. Mariana died of breast cancer on the night of 16 May 1696. The Mariana Islands in the North Pacific Ocean are named after her. This portrait shows her at the age of 18 and is from 1652.