Painter/Artist: Don Diego Velasquez

Spanish School. One of the very greatest painters of portraits and figure subjects. Most of his works are at the Prado, Madrid.


PHILIP IV. (OLD) Bust length, slightly to right; broad outstanding collar, black silk tunic, gold chain round the neck, with the Order of the Golden Fleece. Grey background.

From the Demidoff Collection. Purchased in Paris in 1865.

PHILIP IV. (YOUNG) Full length, standing slightly to right. Dressed in a doublet and trunk hose of brown stuff brocaded with silver, and a black coat, silver-grey sleeves, and brown gloves. A stiff cambric collar, and on a chain round his neck the Order of the Golden Fleece. In his right hand a letter on which the painter’s name is inscribed. His left hand on the hilt of his sword. A grey hat trimmed with feathers on a table to the right. In the background a crimson curtain.

Purchased from the Hamilton Palace Collection in 1882.

CHRIST AT THE COLUMN In the centre Christ, in a loin cloth only, is seated on the ground, His feet towards the left, His face turned towards us, His outstretched hands bound together by a cord reaching from the column on the left. On the ground in front of Him are thongs and a scourge. On the right is a kneel ing child in a grey gown, his hands joined in adoration. Behind Him stands an angel in a brown gown pointing with his right hand to Christ. Presented by Lord Savile in 1883.

ADMIRAL PULIDO-PAREJA Whole length, standing slightly to right. Dressed in black velvet doublet with silver brocaded sleeves, full breeches, stockings and shoes, and a crimson sash. His long hair is black and bushy. Both hands are gloved; in his right is a baton, in his left a broad-brimmed black sombrero.

Signed and dated 1639; though Senor Beruete considers that, in spite of the very definite history of the picture given by Palomino, it is the work of Velasquez’s pupil, J. B. del biazo.

Purchased from the Longford Castle Collection in 1890.

“THE ROKEBY VENUS” On a couch covered with a white cloth and a black silk drapery Venus lies, quite nude, with her back to us, the feet to the left. She raises her head on her elbow to look at her reflection in a small mirror held at the top by a cupid who kneels on the couch at her feet. In the background a crimson curtain.

As there is no other work by Velasquez which is at all comparable with this, its attribution to him has excited a good deal of controversy. Senor Beruete, the highest authority on Velasquez, has no doubt about it on its merits, and quotes two inventories, dated 1682 and 1688, in which is the following passage: ” Venus, of life size, reclining nude with a child, who holds up for her a mirror, into which she gazes. This picture is an original work by Don Diego Velasquez.”

It is said to have been taken by the Duke of Wellington from the Duke of Alba in Spain, and brought to England by him. In 1808 it was purchased, on the advice of Sir Thomas Lawrence, for Mr. J. B. S. Morritt, of Rokeby Hall, Yorkshire.

Presented by the National Art Collections Fund in 1906.


POPE INNOCENT X Three-quarter length, about life-size, seated in a chair, half to right, hands resting on the wooden arms of the chair, a folded paper in the left. In red cape and biretta, and surplice. A man of middle age with thin beard and moustache, and piercing grey eyes.

Painted in Rome in 1650.


PHILIP IV. (MIDDLE AGE) Three-quarter length, standing half to left, the eyes looking downwards to our left. He is in a red doublet richly embroidered with silver over a buff tunic, and a broad square linen collar. Both elbows are bent, as with his left hand he holds a large black hat at his waist, while the right grasps a baton held against the right thigh. His sword hangs by a sash from the right shoulder. Plain dark background.


THE INFANTA MARGARITA MARIA Three-quarter length, facing us, slightly towards the left. A child of seven or eight years old, with fair hair, parted on the left side of her forehead and tied with a pink bow on the right, falling on her shoulders. Dress of grey trimmed with black lace. Her right hand rests on the seat of a chair, her left hangs at her side holding a flower.

Painted about 1659.


ALESSANDRO DEL BORRO This well-known portrait of a very stout gentleman standing on the pedestal of a pillar is now acknowledged not to be by Velasquez. Sir Hugh Lane attributed it to the Genoese painter, Robert Strozzi.


CHRIST CRUCIFIED The Saviour, crowned with thorns, His head bowed, hangs on the cross facing us, against a plain dark background.

THE FORGE OF VULCAN Five nearly nude men standing grouped round the anvil in a forge. Three, to the right, are merely the smith’s assistants. Vulcan himself behind the anvil, pauses in his work to listen to Apollo,who has entered from the left, and is telling him of the infidelities of Venus. With the exception of a wreath and rays of light surrounding the head of Apollo, the whole picture is simply a life like representation of a blacksmith’s forge.

THE INFANTA MARIA TERESA A child of about eleven, whole length, standing slightly to left, her hands resting wide apart on her broad farthingale, a rose in the left and a large lawn kerchief hanging from the right. Her hair is fluffed out wide on each side. Her hoop skirt extends to each side of the canvas.

THE SURRENDER OF BREDA (“LAS LANCZAS”) In the centre of a high foreground overlooking a flat plain the two Generals stand face to face, the victorious Spinola on the right, with his great brown charger occupying the rest of the right foreground, its hind-quarters towards us; Justino de Nassau on the left, backed by a group of four or five standing officers with halberds. The latter advances, stooping, offering the key of the city to Spinola, who stands with his baton in his left hand and his right arm extended as he lays his hand on the other’s shoulder. Beyond Spinola and his charger, over the heads of various officers, rises a forest of twenty or thirty upright lances, from which the picture derives its name. Spinola is dressed in black, with light brown riding boots, and a long pink sash over his right shoulder and falling behind his left arm; de Nassau is in a loose golden-brown suit with a broad white collar and large brown riding boots.

Supposed to have been painted in 1647, being the master’s first picture on this scale.

AESOP Whole length, standing full face, bareheaded, in bright sunlight from the left. A stalwart person of middle age, with a big square face. He is dressed in a long coat. He carries a book in his right hand, and the left is thrust into his coat at the waist. Plain background.

MENIPPUS Whole length, standing, profile to right, in sunlight from the left. He is in a broad-brimmed hat and long cloak. A tall, bearded, elderly man, who looks towards us. On the ground are some papers and an open book and a pitcher.

EQUESTRIAN PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IV, In profile to right, on a prancing charger, the foreground of a rough land scape. He is in body-armour, with a large hat, and carries a baton,

PHILIP IV. AS A SPORTSMAN Whole length, standing in profile to right, with left leg advanced; the left hand at the waist, the right hanging down holding a long gun. The head is turned to us and the eyes meet ours. In the left foreground sits a large dog. Landscape background, with thick trees on the left.

PHILIP IV. (YOUNG) Bust length, slightly to right. Apparently painted when the King was about nineteen years old. He is bareheaded, and wears a cuirass, over which is a scarf.

PORTRAIT OF THE SCULPTOR MARTINEZ MONTANES Three-quarter length, standing half to right. A man of middle age, with moustache and pointed beard. He is bareheaded, and wears a black gown and white linen collar. His glance is turned to us as he pauses in his work on a colossal head on which his left hand rests, while in his right he has a wooden spatula.

EQUESTRIAN PORTRAIT OF THE COUNT-DUKE OLIVARES In profile to left, on a prancing charger, in the foreground of a low-lying landscape. He is in body-armour, with a large hat and sword-sash over his shoulder, and carries a baton in his right hand.

MARIANA OF AUSTRIA Second wife of Philip IV. Whole length, standing slightly to left, her right arm extended, the hand resting on the back of a chair, her left hang ing over her farthingale holding a large white kerchief-a girl of about fifteen. Her hair is dressed out on either side of her face to an absurd width, with a feather at the back. The skirt of her heavily-braided dress is considerably broader than it is long. Plain back ground, with a curtain looped up on the left.

THE CORONATION OF THE VIRGIN The Virgin sits facing us, her eyes downcast, in the midst of clouds; her left hand outstretched, her right on her breast. Slightly above her on either side sit the Father and the Son, holding between them a wreath above her head, over which the Holy Dove appears in the sky. All three figures are draped in ample robes, and are of the most human character. Two little boy angels hold the sides of the Virgin’s robe, and two pairs of cherubim fly below.

LOS BORRACHOS Oblong. In the foreground of a rough landscape, in bright sunlight from the left, are grouped nine peasants of various ages. In the centre, slightly to the left, the youngest sits on a cask and crowns another with a wreath as he kneels at his left side. The former apparently represents Bacchus, and he and another who leans over him on the left, holding a bunch of vine leaves over his head, are nude, save for a mantle thrown over the lap of the former. Over the shoulders of the kneeling man are seen the very vivid faces of two men grinning at us, one holding a bowl of wine, the other reaching towards it with his right hand. Farther to the right is an old man in a brown cloak, beyond whom is another tilting his hat from his head.

LAS MENINAS This remarkable picture, unique in its conception, represents the painter at work in a lofty room on the portraits of the King and Queen from their point of view. In the centre of the back wall is a mirror in which they are reflected. On the left we see the back of the tall canvas standing on the floor against an easel. Beyond it stands Velasquez, his palette in his left hand and his brush in his right, as he pauses to regard his sitters. In front of him kneels, holding the hand of her mistress, one of the two girl attendants of the little Infanta, who stands facing in the centre foreground, while the other stands curtseying to her on her left. In the right foreground lies a huge brown dog, behind which are a female dwarf and a boy. Farther back on the right a nun stands talking to a man; through an open door in the back wall on the right is seen a man standing on a staircase in bright light.

EQUESTRIAN PORTRAIT OF PRINCE BALTASAR CARLOS A child of six or seven years old mounted on a galloping brown pony, half to left. He holds baton in his right hand. Mountain landscape background.

LAS HILANDERAS A room in the tapestry factory with an opening in the centre at the back into a portico hung with tapestry, at which some ladies are looking in a bright light. In the foreground of the front room are, on the left, a woman at a spinning-wheel talking to another behind her, who is pushing back a crimson curtain on the extreme left; and on the right a younger woman winding wool between two others.

PORTRAIT OF DON CARLOS. Whole length, standing full face. A tall young man in black Court dress, bareheaded, his hat in his left hand, while his right hangs at his side holding a glove by the finger-tip. The light is from high up on the left. Plain background.

PHILIP IV. (YOUNG) Whole length, standing, in black Court dress, the left hand resting on a table covered with a cloth, the right hanging at his side.