These are the 12 most famous paintings by Diego Velázquez. Diego Velázquez is one of the most influential Spanish painters of the 17th century. He had an incredible ability to use the brush and a sharp eye for detail. His works frequently used strong modeling and intense light contrasts, evoking tenebrism, a theatrical lighting technique.
Las Meninas (1656)
Not only one of the most famous paintings by Diego Velázquez but one of the finest paintings of art history, Las Meninas depicts Velazquez working in his studio in Madrid’s Royal Alcazar Palace. “Las Meninas” is also known as “The Maids of Honour.” It is the most famous and controversial painting of all time, with its double mirror images and sketchy brushwork that bring each figure and everything in the room to life.
Old Woman Frying Eggs (1618)
One of the ultimate masterpieces of Velázquez’s early period is this painting, which depicts a young boy and an old woman seated in front of a clay pot in which she is frying eggs. Velázquez uses concentrated light to produce an original painting that vividly portrays shapes, surfaces, and textures.
The Surrender of Breda (1635)
This is a painting of the surrender of the Dutch town of Breda to Spanish soldiers led by General Ambrosio Spinola. With a huge number of figures, diverse crowds, and accessories, it’s a particularly tough composition. “The Surrender of Breda” is significantly less complicated than all of Velázquez’s other works.
Juan de Pareja (1650)
This painting depicts Juan de Pareja, Velázquez’s enslaved black assistant, who was a talented artist in his own right and considered one of the most influential artists of the 17th century. The portrait is unique in two ways: it is one of the few of public appreciation, and it is the first known Spanish portrait of a named black sitter.
This is a self-portrait of Diego Velazquez. Even without considering the amazing tonal characteristics that Velazquez could put into all of his facial portraits, seeing how this artist viewed himself is beautiful in and of itself. This magnificent artwork contains components of interest, making it a work of endless curiosity and exploration.
Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress (1659)
This is a painting of the Infanta Margarita Teresa, who has a sad expression while wearing her blue silk dress with silver borders. The enormous expanse of the flowing crinoline is what draws one’s attention to the painting. Velazquez painted five different portraits of Teresa. Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress is considered not only one of the most famous paintings by Diego Velázquez but one of the most famous Royal Portraits in art history.
Equestrian Portrait of Prince Balthasar Charles (1634–35)
This is a portrait of Balthasar Charles, Prince of Asturias, on a horse. The prince’s calm attitude while sitting on a rearing horse has political significance since it portrays him as a capable horseman and leader. The baton he wields, the sword he holds, and the military ribbon on his chest all represent his power.
The Three Musicians (1618)
This is a painting of three musicians singing and playing at a table supper of wine, bread, and a whole cheese. “The Three Musicians” is one of Velazquez’s earliest paintings, which used the “chiaroscuro” technique and contrasts bright light with deep and intense dark tones to give a sense of depth.
Infanta Margareta Teresa in a Peach Dress (1653-1654)
This is a painting of Infanta Margareta Teresa dressed in a peach dress, standing on a gorgeous carpet and leaning on a table covered in a lovely blue fabric. The colorful artwork clearly reflects the red tones of her hair. Margaret Teresa of Spain is the subject of Velazquez’s five portraits of her.
Philip IV hunting Wild Boar (1638)
This is a painting of King Philip IV of Spain and his entourage hunting wild boar in a forest clearing. Boar hunting was a costly activity, and therefore it was usually reserved for rare occasions. The painting was commissioned for the King’s hunting lodge near Madrid, Torre de la Parada.
Portrait of Innocent X (1650)
This is a painting depicting Pope Innocent X in his papal chair, dressed in red and white, with stunning effect. The portrait was done in one day, and the monarch was so pleased with it that he ordered that all previous portraits of himself be removed from circulation and that only Velazquez should portray him. It was a very accurate representation of the man.
Rokeby Venus (1647)
The Rokeby Venus depicts Venus, the most beautiful of all the goddesses, which is enhanced by the use of a mirror that is held by her son, Cupid. It is considered a masterpiece and one of the famous paintings by Diego Velázquez. The “Rokeby Venus” (named after Rokeby Park where it was located for almost 100 years until its purchase by the National Gallery in London), is also known as “The Toilet of Venus,” “Venus at her Mirror,” “Venus and Cupid,” or “La Venus del Espejo.” The Spanish Church prohibited nudist female painting during the time of Velazquez.
What famous paintings by Diego Velázquez do you think we should add to this list? Comment below.