Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez
was a Spanish painter who is considered to have been the country's
greatest baroque artist on canvas. He, with Francisco de Goya
and El Greco, forms the great triumvirate of Spanish painting.
Velázquez was born in Seville on June 6, 1599, the
oldest of six children; both his parents were from the minor
nobility. Between 1611 and 1617 the young Velázquez
worked as an apprentice to Francisco Pacheco, a Sevillian
Mannerist painter on canvas who was also the author of an
important treatise, El arte de la pintura (The Art of Painting,
1649), and who became Velázquez's father-in-law. During
his student years Velázquez absorbed the most popular
contemporaneous styles of painting on canvas, derived, in
part, from both Flemish and Italian realism.