The Spanish Language Blog

As we all know, one of the things Spain is known for are its famous painters and beautiful art. The most famous Spanish painter is Diego Velázquez. He is one of the greatest painters ever! With his individual style and technique, Diego Velázquez had a huge influence on European art. The young Velázquez once said, "I would rather be the best painter in normal everyday things than the second best in higher art." For those who like a bit of culture, this interesting painter is definitely worth knowing more about!

Diego Velázquez had a pretty impressive life. The painter was born in Seville June 6, 1599. In 1611 he starts painting with Fransico Pacheco. This is not a great painter, but he does teach Diego Velázquez the intricacies of the trade. It is also through this man that he meets the woman he will marry in 1617. This, in fact, is Pacheco's daughter. That same year, Diego Velázquez also became a member of a painters' guild, allowing him to start his own studio.

Philip IV: 5 years later, in 1622 Diego Velázquez leaves for Madrid for the first time. There, in 1623, he receives his first commission to paint a portrait of King Philip IV. This is a great success and he is appointed court painter and the only person allowed to paint the king.

Surrender of Breda: Later in 1634 and 1635, Diego Velázquez collaborated on the decoration of a new palace called Buen Retiro. One of its most important works is ´The Surrender of Breda´. This work of art, which consists of 12 paintings, is considered the best historical work in the history of Western Europe. It was created by several painters. This painting shows battles. After 12 months, the besieged Breda gives up the siege. The 12th painting shows the taking over ceremony in which the keys of the city gates are handed over.

The Pope and ´Las Meninas´: Velázquez also paid occasional visits to Italy. On his second visit, he was allowed to paint a portrait of the Pope. This famous portrait is called ´Pope Innocent X´. However, the Pope himself considered it too ´truthful´. Once back in Spain, Diego Velázquez painted his most important painting: ´Las Meninas´ a portrait featuring members of the royal family and court. The central figure in this portrait is Infanta Margarit with her ladies-in-waiting, and dog. The actual main figures, the royal couple, is depicted only in a mirror.

Style: Diego Velázquez is also called the ´painter of painters´. This is because he paid attention to light, space, lines and color in such a way. He mainly painted landscapes, scenes of ordinary life, religious paintings, genre pieces and portraits of the royal family. He influenced many other painters such as Corot, Manet, Goya, Courbet and Whistler. Spain should be very proud of this piece of history!

In Spain, you can admire his work in Madrid and Seville. Highly recommended viewing!

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