Bejeweled, encrusted with pearls, and encased in corsets and crinolines, the women of the Spanish court were literally personifications of Spain’s riches and dominance over vast parts of the globe. The vicissitudes of power are reflected even in something as ephemeral as fashion, and Helga K. Aurisch talks about how the magnificent portraits in the exhibition Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado serve as guides to understanding Spain’s changing role over the centuries.
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