The Portrait Society | Diego Velázquez

9/4/1996 | 4th quarter 20th centuryCharcoal and acrylic on canvasH x L : 50 x 40 cm

Diego Rodrigues de Silva y Velázquez was one of the most important and influential painters of the Baroque period. Velázquez trained in his home town of Seville, which was the largest city and most important cultural centre in Spain in the 17th century. From 1618, he worked as an independent artist. He specialised early on in portrait painting and so-called bodegones (genre painting, especially kitchen scenes), which were influenced by Caravaggio's naturalism. In 1623, Velázquez was summoned to the court in Madrid, and after portraying King Philip IV, he was appointed court painter in October of that year. In 1629, he set off on a two-year study trip to Italy. On his return, he painted numerous portraits of the royal family and was responsible for painting the interior of royal buildings. After a second trip to Italy (1649-1651), during which he purchased works of art for the planned art academy in Madrid, he created what is probably his most famous painting, Las Meninas. The work shows himself portraying the royal family. In August 1660 Velázquez died of a fever.

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