Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo (1611-1667)
In this painting by Martinez del Mazo, Dona Mariana is represented as the widowed queen and regent of the Monarchy, who is to carry out the affairs of the government. For that reason Dona Mariana is dressed in widow's clothes, condition for which she acts as regent, and she is presented sitting and with papers in her hand, symbols of the exercise of government.
These elements follow the tradition of Baroque court portraits, of which this painting is a good example.The painter, Martínez del Mazo, son-in-law of Velázquez, achieves an image less friendly, but very effective of the queen. The representation is the same as the portrait preserved in the National Gallery in London, also signed and dated in the same year, 1666.
In the background we can see the Octagonal room in the Alcazar of Madrid, with the child Charles II together with his governess, the Marquise of Vélez, two maids, and two dwarves. This court scene recalls in its composition Velázquez's Meninas, being also a lighthearted courtesan scene.
Mazo's style derives directly from Velázquez's, exerting its lightness of brush, but without its sober and complex mastery. It seems beyond doubt that the compositional scheme of Dona Mariana's portraits by Carreno, after 1669, comes from Mazo, but he was able to add the severe gravity of the desk, which underscores the political character of governor that Carreno wanted to deliver in the queen's portraits.