Las Meninas is a 1656 painting in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age. Its complex and enigmatic composition raises questions about reality and illusion, and creates an uncertain relationship between the viewer and the figures depicted. Wikipedia

Name : Diego Velázquez

Born : 1599

Died : 1660

Art Style & Movement : Baroque

Main Field/s :

Region/Nationality : Spanish

Artist ID : 5964

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Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez[a] (baptized June 6, 1599 – August 6, 1660) was a Spanish painter, the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV and of the Spanish Golden Age. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period. He began to paint in a precise tenebrist style, later developing a freer manner characterized by bold brushwork. In addition to numerous renditions of scenes of historical and cultural significance, he painted scores of portraits of the Spanish royal family and commoners, culminating in his masterpiece Las Meninas (1656).
Velázquez’s artwork became a model for 19th-century realist and impressionist painters. In the 20th century, artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Francis Bacon paid tribute to Velázquez by re-interpreting some of his most iconic images.
hough considered a dull and undistinguished painter, Pacheco sometimes expressed a simple, direct realism although his work remained essentially Mannerist.[12] As a teacher, he was highly learned and encouraged his students’ intellectual development. In Pacheco’s school, Velázquez studied the classics, was trained in proportion and perspective, and witnessed the trends in the literary and artistic circles of Seville.[13]

Vieja friendo huevos (1618, English: Old Woman Frying Eggs). National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh
On April 23, 1618, Velázquez married Juana Pacheco (June 1, 1602 – August 10, 1660), the daughter of his teacher. She had two daughters. The elder, Francisca de Silva Velázquez y Pacheco (1619–1658), married painter Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo at the Church of Santiago in Madrid on August 21, 1633; the younger, Ignacia de Silva Velázquez y Pacheco, born in 1621, died in infancy.[14]
Velázquez’s earliest works are bodegones (kitchen scenes with prominent still-life). He was one of the first Spanish artists to paint such scenes, and his Old Woman Frying Eggs (1618) demonstrates the young artist’s unusual skill in realistic depiction.[15] The realism and dramatic lighting of this work may have been influenced by Caravaggio‘s work—which Velázquez could have seen second-hand, in copies—and by the polychrome sculpture in Sevillian churches.[16] Two of his bodegones, Kitchen Scene with Christ in the House of Martha (1618) and Kitchen Scene with Christ at Emmaus (c. 1618), feature religious scenes in the background, painted in a way that creates ambiguity as to whether the religious scene is a painting on the wall, a representation of the thoughts of the kitchen maid in the foreground, or an actual incident seen through a window.[17][18] The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception (1618–19) follows a formula used by Pacheco, but replaces the idealized facial type and smoothly finished surfaces of his teacher with the face of a local girl and varied brushwork.[19] His other religious works include The Adoration of the Magi (1619) and Saint John the Evangelist on the Island of Patmos (1618–19), both of which begin to express his more pointed and careful realism.
Also from this period are the portrait of Sor Jerónima de la Fuente (1620) – Velázquez’s first full-length portrait[20] – and the genre The Water Seller of Seville (1618–1622). The Water Seller of Seville has been termed “the peak of Velázquez’s bodegones” and is admired for its virtuoso rendering of volumes and textures as well as for its enigmatic gravitas.[21]

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