Diego Velázquez


Considered one of the best representatives of pictorial art and famous Spanish baroque painter who captured his works regardless of the subject: religious, landscapes, historical. Diego Velázquez is universally recognized as one of the best artists in the world. The naturalistic style in which he excelled gave him a form of expression that made his great power of observation very remarkable in portraying both the living model and the still life. He was greatly stimulated by the study of Venetian painting16th century, it developed from a master of faithful likeness and characterization into the creator of unique visual impression masterpieces in his time. With a brilliant diversity of brush strokes and subtle harmonies of color, Diego Velázquez managed to give beautiful effects of form and texture, space, light and atmosphere, which made him the main precursor of French impressionism that emerged during the 19th century.


Personal information

  • When was born:  1599 (baptized 06/06/1599)
  • When he died:  08/06/1660
  • Nationality:  Spanish

Who was Diego Velázquez?

One of the greatest representatives of pictorial art who dedicated himself to capturing landscapes, religious and historical themes in his works . Baroque painter of Spanish origin who, full of color and drama, made impressive paintings becoming the main exhibitor of French impressionism.


Biography of Diego Velázquez

Diego Velázquez was born in Seville in 1599 and died in Madrid in 1660. When he was 12 years old, he began as an apprentice in the workshop of Francisco Pacheco, who focused on dark naturalism . At the age of 19 he married Juana, who was younger than him. His first works were carried out during the first half of the seventeenth century, between the years 1617 and 1623. During the Sevillana period, he had Pacheco as his main teacher, with whom he learned to draw in an almost perfect way and to give an adequate organization to his ideas. It was characterized by its paintings full of realism and contrasts of light and its themes were focused on religion.. During the years 1623 and 1629, Velázquez dedicated himself to being Philip IV’s chamber painter, thus achieving a little more fame and better quality work. In 1628, Diego Velázquez made friends with Petrus Paulus and in 1629 he managed to travel to Naples where he studied about the Renaissance and Italian painting of the time. Before he died he was named Knight of Santiago, however, due to his Jewish descent, I cannot receive recognition. On July 31, 1660, he fell ill with fever, dying on August 6, 1660, in Madrid.


Artistic style of Diego Velázquez

At the beginning of his artistic career, his style focused on tenebrist naturalism , widely using intense and focused light at a certain point. His brushstrokes perfectly modeled the forms and his colors were copper and tan . His color palette was also based on grays and blacks with opaque brushstrokes for the backgrounds of his works. When he traveled to Italy, his style was transformed by trying new techniques and looking for more luminosity and giving colors with more transparency and precision .

Works by Diego Velázquez

The Old Woman Frying Eggs : This painting was based on a still life , including at the same time a large amount of still life. Full of realism when representing objects, it is included within the tenebrist genre .

Still Life to the Divine : Represented a scene that a family experiences daily, including Marta, Mary and Christ within it.

Aguador de Sevilla : It was one of his works with the greatest gloom and realism at the same time, which can be appreciated with great ease in painted objects.

Los Borrachos : Theme based on the mythology of the god Bacco . The lighting in this painting allows you to clearly appreciate the gloom that is included in it.

Joseph’s tunic : The artist tries to represent a purely Christian scene , based on the Old Testament , in which Joseph’s brothers deceive their father by showing him the tunic of their brother, who apparently was dead.

Vulcan’s Forge : The painting shows us the moment when Apollo tells Vulcan that his wife had a love affair with Mars and was unfaithful to him. Mythological work that shows when an armor was made for the God of war.

The Spears or the Surrender of Breda : Another wonderful work that recounts the war , it seeks to magnify peace since the victors treat the losers with respect and manliness. It reflects the open air of the environment and the city of Breda burning in the background. The two armies, the Dutch and the Spanish, are clearly seen who, mounted on horseback, show their strength.

The most important works that Diego Velázquez made at the end of his career were Las hilanderas , in 1644, and Las Meninas , in 1565, which showed the story of a family group with him as the protagonist on the scene.

Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez

This work was the  highlight of Diego Velázquez. It represented the royal family within the painter’s workshop. He made a self-portrait in which he painted the kings, which at the same time were reflected in the mirror. It represented the Infanta Margarita , who was with her jesters and her dog. It was classified as a painting full of realism , in which aerial perspective was the main focus.

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