Famous Spanish Painter 1599-1660
He was born is Seville in the country of Spain.
When he was about 13 years old he was
apprenticed to a painter, Francisco Herrera, but
the man was such a tyrant Diego only stayed with
him for a year. He next went as an apprentice
Francisco Pacheco who was very kind and helpful
to him. He worked for him 5 years, then married
Pacheco’s daughter, Juana, who gave him two
With his family and his father-in-law ,Pacheco, he
visited Madrid where he was asked to paint the
portrait of king Philip IV of Spain who was 18
years old. The Spanish king was so pleased, he
asked Velazquez to move to Madrid with his
family and work exclusively for the royal family.
He was the favorite of the king’s four painters.
For the next forty years he and his family lived
with the king. Even his mother and father lived
with them. He painted at least 20 pictures of the
king in all kinds of clothing.
The king had a chair in the artist’s studio so he
could sit and watch him paint. Velazquez used a
long-handled brush so he could see how his brush
strokes looked from a distance away from the
Our featured work in this lesson has been named
las meninas. The “meninas” were the young
daughters of nobleman’s families who waited on
the young princess who was called an “infanta”.
The young girl is serving the princess something
in a cup. The artists with the brush in his hand in,
of course, Velazquez. His special clothing shows
he is a knight. If you look at the reflection in the
mirror, you can see the king and queen who are
apparently posing while the artist paint their
He was an individualistic artist of the
contemporary baroque period, The baroque is a
period of artistic style that used exaggerated
motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to
produce drama, tension, exuberance, and
grandeur in painting, the style started around
1600 in Rome, Italy and spread to most of Europe.
He was important as a portrait artist this genre in
painting where the intent to depict the visual
appearance of the subject. In addition to
numerous renditions of scenes of historical and
cultural significance, he painted scores of portrait
of the Spanish royal family, culminating in the
production of his masterpiece Las Meninas (1656).
From the first quarter of the 19th century ,
Velazquez’s artwork was a model for the realist
and impressionist painters, in particular Edouard
Manet. Since that time, more modern artists,
including Spain's Pablo Picasso and Salvador
Dali, as well as the Anglo-Irish painter Francis
Bacon, have paid tribute to Velazquez by
recreating several of his most famous works.
In 1929 Velazquez left for Italy and spent the next
two years traveling around the country. During
his time there he studied Italian art and current
trends. One of the works that he produced on his
travels, Joseph and His Brothers, is on display in
El Escorial near Madrid. This combines the
sculptural style of Michelangelo with the light
and shadows techniques of many of the Italian
When Velazquez returned to Madrid he
continued as the court painter. He produced
many notable works including Prince Baltasar
Carlos with a Dwarf which is on display in the
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He also contributed
to the decoration of the throne room in the new
royal palace of Buen Retiro alongside some of the
most famous painters of the day. His most
famous piece is the battle picture the Surrender
of Breda.
Las Meninas is a 1656 painting by Diego
Velazquez, has been one of the most widely
analyzed works in western painting.

Diego velazquez