Diego Velazquez: Artist Portrait

Diego Velázquez

Born 1599. Died 1660.
Interested in selling a work by Diego Velázquez?
Request an Estimate

Works by Diego Velázquez at Sotheby's

Past Lots

Diego Velázquez Biography

Diego Velázquez was a Spanish master of the 17th century. Although many of his paintings
exude elements of the then contemporary Baroque style, his career was a wide ranging one in which he developed a distinctly individual style. He was best known for his portraiture for the monarchy and court of King Philip IV, as well as the large Spanish royal family, though he also produced scenes from mythology, Christian iconographic works and genre paintings. Artists of the modern era, including Pablo Picasso, Édouard Manet and Salvador Dali, consistently returned to Velázquez’s oeuvre as inspiration, often in artistic dialogue with his works.

Born in 1599 in Seville, Spain, Velázquez studied under Francisco de Herrera, and later
Francisco Pacheco, learning to incorporate Baroque tenebrism into religious imagery and genre scenes. Moving to Madrid in 1622, he secured royal patronage nearly immediately; after less than a year, King Philip IV commissioned him for a portrait, which then assured his annual salary as a court painter. He traveled to Italy on two major expeditions, first in 1628 then again in 1649, which informed the development of his style and career. He studied the works of Titian, Tintoretto, Raphael and Michelangelo, and produced commissioned portraits for major political figures including Pope Innocent X, a portrait that has since become one of Velázquez’s most beloved works. He completed Las Meninas, arguably signaling the culmination of his career, in 1656, presenting a multifaceted portrait of the heir of the Spanish throne and his immediate family. Using mirrors, self-portraiture and a complex labyrinth of gazes, Velázquez organized an introspective painting that questions the nature of representation. Scholars, including Michel Foucault, have continuously used the painting as an exploration into the practice of painting itself. The artist died in 1660 in Madrid.

Velázquez’s oeuvre is a critical fixture in the canon of Western art history, and his works can be found in the permanent collections of the Prado Museum, Madrid, the National Gallery, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and nearly every other major museum in the west.

Read Less
Read More

Diego Velázquez Videos and Stories

Museums with Works by Diego Velázquez

We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.

Close
Please note that prior performance of the indexes and realized returns contained herein does not guarantee future results. In addition, there is no guarantee that random collections of individual works of art or stocks will yield index returns. We are not financial advisors and we are not in the business of recommending art as an investment. We also have no comparative advantage in forecasting the future direction of the art market. Investment decisions should be based on the risk return tolerance and time horizon of the investor with, if desired, the support of a licensed financial advisor. This information is provided "as is" and with no representations or warranties either express or implied of accuracy, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose or of any other nature are made with respect to this information or to any expressed views presented in this information.