Diego Velázquez: History, Works, and Relationships

Contributor: Tara Ondra. Lesson ID: 13376

From 1622 to 1656, he painted the Spanish court assisted by his slave, Juan de Pareja. Explore one of Spain's most influential painters' works and relationships in this lesson.


Visual Arts, World

Fine Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start

Velazquez quote

Immerse yourself in Diego Velázquez's works as you discover his subjects, his style, and his relationships.

Image - Video


Diego Velázquez was born June 6, 1599, in Seville, Spain.

As a child, Velázquez received training from his parents in religion, languages, and philosophy. His artistic skills were recognized at an early age, and he began to study with painters Francisco de Herrera the Elder and later Francisco Pacheco.

Although often criticized, Velázquez was drawn to paint common people and situations.

In 1617, Velázquez married Pacheco's daughter, Juana. Soon after, they started a family. By the early 1620s, he had established a career and reputation for himself in Seville.

In 1622, Velázquez began painting for King Philip IV and, within two years, moved his family to Madrid where he lived for the rest of his life.

At the urging of Flemish artist Rubens and with the permission of the King, Velázquez traveled to Italy in 1629 to study the Italian masters. After nearly one year in Italy, he returned to Madrid to continue his work in the Spanish court.

Velázquez returned to Italy in 1649 with his slave and assistant Juan de Pareja. During this second trip, Velázquez painted the portrait of Juan de Pareja.

Juan de Pareja

Image by Diego Velázquez, via Wikimedia Commons, is in the public domain.

Returning to Madrid, King Philip IV appointed Velázquez Supreme Court Marshal, which allowed him to expand his workshop.

Velázquez's last major work was Las Meninas (see slideshow above), completed in 1656. Velázquez died in 1660 in Madrid.

Now that you know some basic information about Velázquez and his works, check your knowledge in the Got It? section and delve deeper into his last major work.

Image - Button Next