Velaquez is generally recognized as the chief painters of the Spanish school and one of the great masters of all time. He was born in Seville and was a self-taught painter. He first visited Madrid, the royal capital, in 1622. He made his name there with one of his street scenes, the "Water seller of Seville" (1620). He also did some religious works. He was noted by the Count Duke of Olivares. the youthful King Philip IV's chief minister. He was brought to court and commissioned him to paint Philip's portrait. Velazquez was appointed pintor en camara, with a lucrative stipend. He furthur improved his acclaim at court with a work appealing to Spanish nationalism, Expulsion of the Moriscos and was appointed usher of the chamber. He traveled in Italy to learn about the art of the great masters. He returned to Italy in 1648-50 with a commission from the king to buy art. Many of his paintings are portraits of the royal family and Spanish nobels. Many were painted as children giving an excellent view
of how aristocratic Spanish children were dressed in the 17th Century--esentially in scaled-down versions of how their parents were dressed. Velasquez as demonstrated by the "Water seller" did not limit himself to wealthy aristocrats. The boy here has been described as a street urchin, but to us he looks to well dressed to be an urchin and urchins woukld be unlikely to purchase water from a vendor.
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