Diego Velázquez A Spanish Painter of Masterpieces – Leading Artist in the Court of King Philip IV
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Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (June 6, 1599 — August 6, 1660) was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist. In addition to numerous renditions of scenes of historical and cultural significance, he painted scores of portraits of the Spanish royal family, other notable European figures, and commoners, culminating in the production of his masterpiece Las Meninas (1656).
From the first quarter of the nineteenth century, Velázquez’s artwork was a model for the realist and impressionist painters, in particular Édouard Manet. Velázquez is often cited as a key influence on the art of Édouard Manet, important when considering that Manet is often cited as the bridge between realism and impressionism. Calling Velázquez the “painter of painters”, Manet admired Velázquez’s use of vivid brushwork in the midst of the baroque academic style of his contemporaries and built upon Velázquez’s motifs in his own art. Since that time, famous modern artists, including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Francis Bacon, have paid tribute to Velázquez by recreating several of his most famous works.
Salvador Dalí, as with Picasso in anticipation of the tercentennial of Velázquez’s death, created in 1958 a work entitled Velázquez Painting the Infanta Margarita With the Lights and Shadows of His Own Glory. The color scheme shows Dalí’s serious tribute to Velázquez; the work also functioned, as in Picasso’s case, as a vehicle for the presentation of newer theories in art and thought—nuclear mysticism, in Dalí’s case.
The Anglo-Irish painter Francis Bacon found Velázquez’s portrait of Pope Innocent X to be one of the greatest portraits ever made. He created several expressionist variations of this piece in the 1950s; however, Bacon’s paintings presented a more gruesome image of the pope, who had now been dead for centuries. One such famous variation, entitled Figure with Meat (1954), shows the pope between two halves of a bisected cow.
List of works by Diego Velázquez
Velázquez was not prolific; he is estimated to have produced between only 110 and 120 known canvases. Among these paintings, however, are many widely known and influential works.
Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan (Apolo en la Fragua de Vulcano) (1630), Museo del Prado, Madrid
Christ in the House of Martha and Mary (1618), National Gallery, London
Cristo crucificado (1631), Museo del Prado, Madrid
Democritus (c. 1630), Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen
El Triunfo de Baco (Los borrachos) (1628–1629), Museo del Prado, Madrid
Temptation of St. Thomas (1632) — Oil on canvas, 244 x 203 cm, Museum of Orihuela Cathedral, Spain
Equestrian portrait of Duke de Olivares (1634), Museo del Prado, Madrid
Esopo (1639–1640) — Oil on canvas, 179 × 94 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid
Imposición de la casulla a San Ildefonso (1623), Museo de Bellas Artes, Seville
Old Woman Frying Eggs (c. 1618), National Gallery, Edinburgh
La reina Isabel de Borbón a caballo (1629), Museo del Prado, Madrid
Las Hilanderas (The Fable of Arachne) (c. 1657), Museo del Prado, Madrid
Las Meninas (1656)
Mars Resting (1640), Museo del Prado, Madrid
Menipo (1639–1640), Museo del Prado, Madrid
Mercury and Argus (1659), Museo del Prado, Madrid
Portrait of Count Duke of Olivares (1624), São Paulo Museum of Art, São Paulo
Portrait of Duke de Olivares (1635), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Portrait of Innocent X (c. 1650) , Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome
Portrait of Juan de Pareja (1650), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Portrait of Mother Jerónima de la Fuente (1620), Museo del Prado, Madrid
Rokeby Venus (La Venus del espejo, c. 1648–1651), National Gallery, London
The Surrender of Breda (1633–1635), Museo del Prado, Madrid
The Adoration of the Magi (1619), Museo del Prado, Madrid
The Lady with a Fan, (c. 1638–1639), The Wallace Collection, London
The Lunch (c. 1617), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
The Waterseller of Seville (c. 1620), Apsley House, London
San Pablo (c.1618), Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona