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Lifespan: 1599 - 1660
Nationality: Spanish
Gender: male
Collection: 157 paintings

The paintings of Diego Velazquez are among the most famous of all the works of Spanish painters in history. Still today, Diego Velazquez is easily recognized by most individuals with a basic knowledge of the history of Western art. Diego Velazquez was born in Seville, Spain in 1599 and received training as an apprentice to a prestigious painter named Francisco Pachecho, who would later become Diego Velazquez’s father-in-law. Professionally, Velazquez reached a peak in his acceptance of the position of Court Painter to King Philip IV in the year 1623. Artistically, the oil paintings of Diego Velazquez remained innovative in terms of the style of painting which was more commonly practiced in the 1600’s; primarily formal portraiture and studies of classical models of painting due to the Renaissance’s emphasis on the rebirth of the classics. Some of the titles of the most famous Diego Velazquez are: The Surrender of Breda (Pravo), The Coronation of the Virgin, Las Meninas, Venus at her Mirror, Juan de Pareja, and Pope Innocent X. Of these paintings, the two with the most continued popularity today are The Surrender of Breda and Las Meninas. The vast majority of these and the other surviving Velazquez paintings continue to lie in museums through out Spain, as he is one of the most important painters in the nation’s history. The primary classification for the vast majority of Diego Velazquez paintings would be portraiture, but Velazquez made his own mark upon the study and act of portraiture by also focusing on less formal subjects (often commoners and servants) in informal settings settings which were characterized by a very specific use of chiaroscuro, or areas of lights and dark shadows within a painting. In fact, the specific term that developed to describe this version of Diego Velazquez oil paintings is bodegones; a term which translates literally to “taverns”. This term quite obviously encompasses the informality, quality of emotion, and portrayal of true life within this genre of painting. Though the great majority of Velazquez’s work was comprised of painting portraits for his patrons, only two-thirds of the nearly one-hundred surviving Velazquez paintings are portraits. In Las Meninas (1656), a late work in Velazquez’s fairly lengthy career, the revolutionary factors of its creation were evident in its combination of combining portraiture with narrative in a way that had never been quite so fully realized in the fusion of the two styles. Later in his career, Velazquez traveled to Genoa and Rome where he was able to experience first-hand many of the treasures of the classical era. The experiences of viewing these great masterpieces of accomplishment in art caused a shift in the focus of much of Velzquez’s artwork. From approximately 1629, Velazquez shifted his attention to the portrayal of epic and dramatic scenes on a much greater scale in terms of size than his previous focus on portraits and still life paintings.


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A Dwarf Holding a Tome in His Lap (aka Don Diego de Acedo el Primo) 1645 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

A Dwarf Holding a Tome in His Lap (aka Don Diego de Acedo el Primo) 1645

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A Dwarf Sitting on the Floor 1645 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

A Dwarf Sitting on the Floor 1645

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A Knight of the Order of Santiago 1645 1650 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

A Knight of the Order of Santiago 1645 1650

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A Sibyl 1630 1631 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

A Sibyl 1630 1631

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A Venus at Her Mirror 1644 1648 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

A Venus at Her Mirror 1644 1648

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A Young Lady 1635 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

A Young Lady 1635

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Aesop 1639 1641 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Aesop 1639 1641

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Aesop 1640 Paintings | Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velasquez paintings

Aesop 1640

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Allegorical Portrait of Philip IV 1645 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Allegorical Portrait of Philip IV 1645

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Archne (A Sybil) 1644 1648 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Archne (A Sybil) 1644 1648

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Bacchus aka the drunken 1628 1629 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Bacchus aka the drunken 1628 1629

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Camillo Massimi 1650 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Camillo Massimi 1650

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Cardinal Camillo Astalli 1650 1651 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Cardinal Camillo Astalli 1650 1651

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Cardinal Infante Don Fernando as a Hunter 1632 1633 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Cardinal Infante Don Fernando as a Hunter 1632 1633

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Christ and the Christian Soul 1626 1628 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Christ and the Christian Soul 1626 1628

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Christ in the House of Martha and Mary 1618 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary 1618

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Christ on the Cross 1630 Paintings | Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velasquez paintings

Christ on the Cross 1630

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Count duke of Olivares 1638 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Count duke of Olivares 1638

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Count Duke of Olivares on Horseback 1634 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Count Duke of Olivares on Horseback 1634

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Democritus 1628 1629 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Democritus 1628 1629

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Don Cristobal Suarez de Ribera 1620 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Don Cristobal Suarez de Ribera 1620

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Don Diego de Corral y Arellano 1631 1632 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Don Diego de Corral y Arellano 1631 1632

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Don Gaspar de Guzman Count of Olivares and Duke of San Lucar la Mayor 1622 1627 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Don Gaspar de Guzman Count of Olivares and Duke of San Lucar la Mayor 1622 1627

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Don Gaspar de Guzman Count of Oliveres and Duke of San Lucar la Mayor 1624 Paintings | Diego Velazquez paintings

Don Gaspar de Guzman Count of Oliveres and Duke of San Lucar la Mayor 1624

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Don Juan Francisco Pimentel Paintings | Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velasquez paintings

Don Juan Francisco Pimentel

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