Diego Velázquez

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Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈdjeɣo roˈðriɣeð ðe ˈsilβa i βeˈlaθkeθ]; June 6, 1599 – August 6, 1660) was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist. In addition to numerous renditions of scenes of historical and cultural significance, he painted scores of portraits of the Spanish royal family, other notable European figures, and commoners, culminating in the production of his masterpiece Las Meninas (1656).

From the first quarter of the nineteenth century, Velázquez's artwork was a model for the realist and impressionist painters, in particular Édouard Manet. Since that time, more modern artists, including Spain's Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, as well as the Anglo-Irish painter Francis Bacon, have paid tribute to Velázquez by recreating several of his most famous works.

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Early life

Born in Seville, Andalusia, Spain, Diego, the first child of Juan Rodríguez de Silva and Jerónima Velázquez, was baptized at the church of St Peter in Seville on Sunday, June 6, 1599. This christening must have followed the baby's birth by no more than a few weeks, or perhaps only a few days. Velázquez's paternal grandparents, Diego da Silva and Maria Rodrigues, had moved to Seville from their native Porto, Portugal decades earlier. As for Juan Rodríguez de Silva and his wife, both were born in Seville, and were married, also at the church of St Peter, on 28 December 1597. They came from the lesser nobility and were accorded the privileges generally enjoyed by the gentry.

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