Collection: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Artist information: Diego Velázquez was a Spanish Baroque painter and the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He started his training under Francisco de Herrera and continued his education in the workshop of Francisco Pacheco, a great art theorist. In 1623 he became court painter in Madrid and gained a great reputation for his portraits of Philip IV. Supported by the King, in 1629 he made his first journey to Italy, where he copied artworks by Tintoretto, Raphael and Michelangelo who, together with Titian, all influenced his paintings from that point on. In 1651 he followed the wish of King Philip and quit his second journey through Italy. He came back to Spain where he was chosen by the King to fill the high office of aposentador mayor. His works in this period form the apotheosis of his style. Velázquez was deeply orientated to nature, he copied from the living subject and became one of the greatest Spanish naturalists. His works are characterized by the strong contrasts between light and dark. Among his compositions are many genre scenes, including the famous 'Old Woman Frying Eggs' (1618). 'Las Meninas' (1656) meanwhile is recognized as his magnus opus.