El Pintor de los Pintores
A self-portrait (un autorretrato) of the artist, painted around the year 1640.
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was born in the Spanish city of Sevilla in 1599.
His father's surname was Rodríguez de Silva and his mother's surname was Velázquez. However, he is best known as simply Diego Velázquez: using just his mother's surname.
This is an image of the birthplace of Diego Velázquez. It is known as la Casa Natal de Velázquez and it is currently being transformed into a museum dedicated to the artist's life.
It is one of the oldest buildings in Sevilla, built around 1560.
The newly-wed couple Juan Rodríguez de Silva and Jerónima Velázquez moved into this house in the year 1598. The following year, their first child was born: Diego.
Diego was to become one of the greatest artists of all time!
He spent the first 24 years of his life in his home town, Sevilla. During this time, he married Juana Pacheco who was the daughter of his art teacher - Francisco Pacheco, who was also a well-known and highly-regarded artist.
Diego and Juana had two daughters: Francisca and Ignacia.
Diego showed immense artistic talent from a young age. A famous painting that he completed in 1618 when he was just 19 years old, is called Vieja Friendo Huevos - Old Woman Frying Eggs. (Below). The painting is kept at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh
Another famous painting from his teenage years is called Cristo en Casa de Marta y María - Christ in the House of Martha and Mary. (Below). It is kept at the National Gallery, London.
In both of the paintings above, notice the artist's use of contrasting light and dark and also the realism in the depicted scenes. In both paintings, food is being prepared in a kitchen. A painted scene in a Spanish kitchen or tavern with areas of 'still life' such as food and crockery is called un bodegón.
Just look at how real the utensils and the food appear to be! It feels as though you are visiting the households and walking into their normal day of work!
In the two paintings above, there is also the contrast of 'young' and 'old'. The two ages are working together and it looks as if the young person is learning from the older person.
Another bodegón from the same early period of the artist's life is called El Aguador de Sevilla - The Waterseller of Seville. (Pictured.)
Once again, there are the contrasts of light and dark, young and old.
The boy in this painting appears to be the same as the boy in the painting shown above - Old Woman Frying Eggs.
El Aguador de Sevilla is kept at Apsley House, London.
This bodegón is called El Desayuno - The Breakfast.
There are three male characters of differing ages - young and old.
The younger boy looks like the character in El Aguador de Sevilla and Vieja Friendo Huevos.
The old man looks like the character in E