José María Tranquilino Francisco de Jesús Velasco Gómez Obregón, generally known as José María Velasco, was a 19th-century Mexican polymath, most famous as a painter who made Mexican geography a symbol of national identity through his paintings. He was both one of the most popular artists of the time and internationally renowned. He received many distinctions such as the gold medal of the Mexican National Expositions of Bellas Artes in 1874 and 1876; the gold medal of the Philadelphia International Exposition in 1876, on the centenary of U.S. independence; and the medal of the Paris Universal Exposition in 1889, on the centenary of the outbreak of the French Revolution. His painting El valle de México is considered Velasco's masterpiece, of which he created seven different renditions. Of all the nineteenth-century painters, Velasco was the "first to be elevated in the post-Revolutionary period as an exemplar of nationalism."