Diego Velazquez’s self-portrait is considered one of the greatest examples of a painter portraying themselves. Held in the Museu de Belles Arts de València, Velazquez painted the portrait around 1640 during his time as a leading artist in the court of King Philip IV of Spain and Portugal.
Velazquez was an important figure during the Baroque period, producing several artworks that showcased historical scenes and portraits of Spanish aristocracy. His most famous piece, “Las Meninas,” was produced during the Golden Age of Spain.
In this self-portrait, Velazquez showcases himself with curly hair typical of the 1640s and simple clothing and hairstyle that indicate his position as a working man. The portrait offers viewers an intimate insight into how Velazquez saw himself as both an artist and a person.
It’s clear from his early gift for art that he would go on to become one of Spain’s greatest painters. Studying under Francisco de Herrera in Seville, Velazquez learned many techniques he would later use throughout his career. His influence went beyond just Baroque art; he became an ideal example for impressionist and realist artists alike.