Everyday people in everyday situations became the motto of realist artists of the seventeenth century. Diego Velazquez’s Las Meninas (The Maids of Honor), and Rembrandt’s Sortie of Captain Banning Cocq’s Company of the Civil Guard (Night Watch), 1642, depict informal gatherings of models.

Velazquez’s painting depicts the Spanish princess (who would later marry Louis XIV and become Queen of France) and her girlfriends, midget companion, little brother, dog, and chaperones, all visiting the painter in his studio. At far left, we see the back of a large canvas and Velazquez stepping backward to get a better look at his model(s) who stand in our space in front of the painting. It may not be of “everyday people,” but it is life as lived for the little princess and her friends.