what does the cross on velázquez’s tunic in las meninas signify?
It was Velázquez’s ambition to become a Knight of Santiago, and so secure noble status. As Philip’s painter from 1623 onwards, he spent increasingly less time at his easel, and more with the rituals of the court, becoming Chamberlain of the Royal Palace. The cross of St James was painted on after he completed Las Meninas – probably when he was still alive. He was inducted into the order in 1659, after the king obtained a dispensation from the pope to overrule doubts as to Velázquez’s blood and trade.
The others are equally self-aware. While one menina, kneeling, counsels sobriety to her little charge, the other menina curtsies like a wind-up, porcelain-faced doll. Even Maribárbola – employed to amuse – looks gravely at her sovereign. Nicolasito Pertusato is the only one who doesn’t seem to have any respect, as he mischievously prods with his foot a dog bigger than he is, who might explode out of slumber any second now.
A thorough technical investigation including a pigment analysis of Las Meninas was conducted around 1981 in Museo Prado.  The analysis revealed the usual pigments of the baroque period frequently used by Velázquez in his other paintings. The main pigments used for this painting were lead white, azurite (for the skirt of the kneeling menina), vermilion and red lake, ochres and carbon blacks. 
The painting is believed by F. J. Sánchez Cantón to depict the main chamber in the Royal Alcazar of Madrid during the reign of King Philip IV of Spain, and presents several figures, most identifiable from the Spanish court, captured, according to some commentators, in a particular moment as if in a snapshot.   Some look out of the canvas towards the viewer, while others interact among themselves. The young Infanta Margaret Theresa is surrounded by her entourage of maids of honour, chaperone, bodyguard, two dwarfs and a dog. Just behind them, Velázquez portrays himself working at a large canvas. Velázquez looks outwards, beyond the pictorial space to where a viewer of the painting would stand.  In the background there is a mirror that reflects the upper bodies of the king and queen. They appear to be placed outside the picture space in a position similar to that of the viewer, although some scholars have speculated that their image is a reflection from the painting Velázquez is shown working on.
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Densham said she wants to honour Annie’s 92-year life by finding her family. If they aren’t interested in taking the stone, she plans to find a special place for it in her garden.
Feminist analysis of Grande Odalisque by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres considers the role of women in nineteenth-century France, but not viewers’ perspectives on gender. What does the cross on Velázquez’s tunic in Las Meninas signify?