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Diego Velázquez

  • Detail of 'Las Meninas', by the master Diego de Silva Velázquez © Ministerio de Cultura

    Detail of 'Las Meninas', by the master Diego de Silva Velázquez © Ministerio de Cultura






Date of birth

Jun 6, 1599

Date of death


" Painter. He is considered one of the greatest exponents of Spanish painting of all times, and a universal master. His work greatly influenced the members of the Impressionist movement."

Diego Rodríguez de Silva Velázquez was born in Seville in 1599. He trained with Francisco Pacheco. At the age of 24 he moved to Madrid where he was appointed painter to Philip IV. In 1627 he was promoted to court painter, a post which he held for the rest of his life. He evolved from the Tenebrist style influenced by Caravaggio towards a great luminosity using rapid loosely-worked brushstrokes. In his last decade this technique became even more schematic, and his paintings display an exceptional mastery of light. Works dating from this time include 'The portrait of Pope Innocent X', painted on his second trip to Italy, and his two late masterpieces: 'Las Meninas' ('The Maids on Honour') and 'Las hilanderas' ('The spinners'). His catalogue features over 120 works. He died in Madrid in 1660.

Essential works

  • ‘The Triumph of Bacchus or The Drunkards’ © Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

    The Triumph of Bacchus or the Drunkards

    This is Velázquez’s first mythological painting, and represents a distancing from the noble treatment traditionally used for these subjects, in favour of a more naturalistic approach.

    Prado Museum (Madrid)

    More info
  • 'Portrait of Don Cristóbal Suárez de Ribera'. Seville Museum of Fine Arts © Ministerio de Cultura

    Portrait of Don Cristóbal Suárez de Ribera

    Together with the painting entitled Head of apostle, this is the only work by Diego Velázquez conserved in the museum.

    Seville Museum of Fine Arts (Seville)

    More info
  • 'The temptation of Saint Thomas' © Museo Diocesano de Arte Sacro de Orihuela

    The temptation of Saint Thomas

    This splendid painting from the master Velazquez dates from shortly after his return from Italy in 1631.

    Diocesan Museum of Religious Art (Orihuela)

    More info
  • 'Self-portrait'. Detail © Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia


    Together with the self-portrait that the artist included in the painting 'Las Meninas', this work is the only likeness Velazquez painted of himself which is universally accepted by the critics.

    Valencia Museum of Fine Arts (Valencia)

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  • Saint Paul. Barcelona © MNAC – National Art Museum of Catalonia

    Saint Paul

    The pictorial realism of the young Velázquez.

    National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC) (Barcelona)

    More info

Other highlighted works

  • Portrait of Pope Innocent X
  • The buffoon Calabacillas
  • Venus of the mirror
  • Portrait of the dwarf Sebastián de Morra


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