DIEGO RODRÍGUEZ DE SILVA Y VELÁSQUEZ / dit: DIEGO VELÁSQUEZ (Spain 1599–1660)
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, known as Diego Velázquez (6 June 1599 - 6 August 1660) was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist. In addition to numerous renditions of scenes of historical and cultural significance, he painted scores of portraits of the Spanish royal family, other notable European figures, and commoners, culminating in the production of his masterpiece Las Meninas (1656).
From the first quarter of the 19th century, Velázquez's artwork was a model for the realist and impressionist painters, in particular Édouard Manet (1832-1883). Since that time, more modern artists, including Spain's Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Salvador Dalí (1904-1989), as well as the Anglo-Irish painter Francis Bacon (1909-1992), have paid tribute to Velázquez by recreating several of his most famous works.
Diego Velázquez died stricken with fever on 6 August 1660 in Madrid. He was buried in the Fuensalida vault of the church of San Juan Bautista, and within eight days his wife Juana was buried beside him. Unfortunately, this church was destroyed by the French in 1811, so his place of interment is now unknown.