Artist. He received notoriety as a Spanish artist during the 17th century. His most famous paintings are "Las Meninas," "La Fragua de Vulcano," "La Rendición de Breda o las Lanzas" and "Retrato del Papa Inocencio X." Buried in the Church of San Juan Bautista in Madrid, the church was demolished by the French in 1811, thus the actual location of the crypt was lost. He was born one of six children. Using his mother's surname, he began a six-year study of art at the age of eleven. As a young, married man with two daughters, he relocated to Madrid, becoming a member of the Royal Court of King Philip IV and remaining there the rest of his life. His earliest works had traditional religious subjects, where as later in his career he became a portrait painter. Besides painting forty portraits of King Philip, he painted other nobles along with commoners. He painted a series of portraits of the Royal Family on horseback. He painted many of the king's enslaved subjects that served in his court. Velázquez was awarded the prize and the appointment in 1627 of gentleman usher to the king. In 1629 he made his first paid tour to Italy for two years studying many of the Italian masters and the Vatican. From 1649 to 1651, he made a second trip to Italy to collect pieces of art for the king, and received a fresh exposure to classical antiquity resulted in masterworks. During this time, h e painted the well-known portrait of Pope Innocent X . In 1658, Velázquez was made a knight of Santiago. Several of his paintings have been lost during the years. “ The Rokeby Venus” is the only surviving female nude by Velázquez. His final paintings were of the Royal children and some of these have been lost. Eight days after his sudden death from a fever, his wife died and was buried with him. The majority of his pieces are on display at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, yet others can be found in England, Russia, Italy, and one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. In Seville, his larger-than-life size full statue of him holding a palette and brush was dedicated in the 19th century.
Bio by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni