VELASQUEZ, DIEGO RODRIGUEZ DE SILVA Y, a Spanish painter; born of a Portuguese family in Seville, June 5, 1599. From the studio of Francisco Herrera, an artist of note, he passed to that of Pacheco, whose daughter, Juana, he married in 1620. His early art, humble in aim and somewhat vulgar in type, is seen at its best in the "Water Carrier" at Madrid, a work of charac teristic vigor and keenness. To this early experience has been ascribed a certain want of elevation in his later work, an absence of the higher eclectic spirit manifested by tolerance of the painful or ugly. In 1622 he went to Madrid, where in the year following his portrait of Olivarez procured him the patronage of Philip IV., a wonderful portrait of whom at once established the fame of the painter. As court painter he pro duced many portraits of the royal family and of illustrious visitors, the latter including one of Charles I. of England, which has been lost. Velasquez formed a cordial friendship with Rubens during the diplomatic visit of the Fleming to Madrid in 1628. In 1629-1631 he made a tour in Italy visiting Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice, etc., and being re ceived everywhere with the highest dis tinction. His style, already developed, bears little trace of Italian influence, but his admiration was sympathetically touched by the glory of Venetian art, and he expressly records his preference for Titian over Raphael and Michael Angelo. On his return to Madrid he made rapid progress in the royal favor; was made royal Ayuda de Camera or chamberlain (1643) ; his studio was re moved to the palace, and there in friend ly converse with the painter the king spent much of his leisure.
This relationship was undisturbed by Velasquez' grateful conduct to the dis graced favorite, Olivarez, and in 1648 he was sent by the king to Italy, com missioned to buy works of art. At Rome he painted the portrait of Innocent X., which is now the gem of the Doria gal lery. He was subsequently appointed Aposentador Mayor, or royal seneschal, and in 1659 received the Cross of San tiago, an honor till then reserved for the highest nobility. But Valasquez did not thrive under the load of honors; his health gave way in the service of the court; and he died in Madrid, Aug. 6, 1660. Though there are specimens of Velasquez in the galleries of London, Paris, Vienna, Munich, etc., it is only at Madrid that the range and resource of his art can be duly estimated. His portraits are not mere, "sallow, mus tachioed Spaniards in black cloaks," but veritable human counterfeits, strong, vivid types of individuality, instinct with the subtlest shades of expression. The "Adoration of the Magi," his ear liest-known picture, bears the date 1619, and among his better-known works are the "Boracchos," "Forge of Vulcan," "Joseph's Coat," "Surrender of Breda," a "Crucifixion," "Dwarfs," "Coronation of the Virgin," "The Menifias" or "la Familia" (royal family), the "Hilan deras" or "Spinners," and, his last, "St. Anthony the Abbot Visiting the First Hermit St. Paul in the Desert" (1659), of which Wilke says it has "the very same sun we see, and the air we breathe, the very soul and spirit of nature."