Learning with Francisco Pacheco. It is not so much about the influence, very light, that Pacheco may have had over the young Diego, but about the humanist climate found in the house of Pacheco, an "informal academy" where a good part of the cult people of Seville (artists, writers and poets, people of science, posh clergymen, lords) would get together every now and then. Without forgetting the library of Pacheco, rich in books from Italian artists and humanists. Additionally, Pacheco, thanks to his connections in Sevilla, was responsible in good way for the appointment of Velazquez as the painter of the king. And finally, Velázquez married Juana, Pacheco's daughter.
The encounter with Felipe IV in 1623, was the key to a relationship that lasted until the death of the painter. An intense and continuous relation, thanks to installing the workshop of the painter in the royal palace, that also had privileged moments, like the "day of Aragón" when Velazquez joins the king to make the famous portrait of Fraga. We can guess some level of complicity between the king and the artist, both men of the same generation.
The encounter with Italy, counseled by Rubens, in two episodes: 1629-31 and 1649-51. The first part allowed the painter to discover another technique, let go of the usual themes, submerge in the color of Venetian paintings, and painting in the open air. While the second visit gave him the knowledge of the Ancient art, and founded his fame among Italian artists and the high Church. And not to forget his relationship with a woman, from who we still know little, who was the mother of his only son.
A genius of universal painting. An absolute domain over the entire thematic repertory. Love for living models. A dazzling technical career (from the caravagist to the pre-impressionism style). Freedom in the treatments (this is the case of Venus del espejo; of the interiors and of nature. Single character or different groups (Las Lanzas); master of change (Las Meninas 1 and 2).
A man integrated in the society of his time. The family bonds. His circle of friends. The civil servant in palace.