Diego Velazquez (June 6, 1599-August 6-1660) is easily one of the most important and influential figures in the history of European painting. Born in Seville, Velazquez abandoned the academic style of painting that was popular during his youth, instead turning to naturalistic techniques, dramatic portraits, and genre scenes, despite the overwhelming popularity of religious works. Earning an apprenticeship at the ripe age of 12, Velazquez’s career quickly ascended. After painting a portrait of the King of Spain in 1623, he became the official painter to the king, and enjoyed a lifetime of attachment to the court, eventually earning a knighthood. Because most of his paintings were made for the king, they were primarily hung in royal palaces and other places where everyday people and other artists could not access them. As a result, Velazquez’s work did not become as powerfully influential as it is until the nineteenth century, when it inspired the French Realist and Impressionist movements, particularly for Edouard Manet. Velazquez is the quintessential ideal of the Spanish Baroque, and his body of work has come to be considered a world treasure.
View all of Diego Velazquez's work.