Spanish Art History In a Nutshell
Museo Nacional el Prado
An official court painter of King Philip IV, Diego Velázquez is regarded as one of the greatest Spanish artists. He transformed his keen observational powers into faithful portraits of Spanish royalty and, at the height of his career, Pope Innocent X. Famed for the vital likenesses of his subjects, Velázquez used free, efficient brushstrokes to conjure heavily atmospheric scenes pierced by dazzling color and ornamentation. His masterpiece is Las Meninas. A classic baroque example, the large painting captures a young princess and her attendants watching her parents, the King and Queen, pose for the artist. Velázquez died four years after its completion, but his influence resonated well into the 19th and 20th centuries: he had a particularly formative effect on Edouard Manet, and drew the recurring fascination of Pablo Picasso.
Spanish, 1599-1660, Seville, Spain