Juan de Pareja (ca. 1608–1670)

Velázquez (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez) Spanish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 625

Between 1649 and 1651, Velázquez traveled to Italy with Juan de Pareja, a man of African descent born in southern Spain who was enslaved in Velázquez’s studio and household for at least two decades. According to an early biography, shortly after arriving in Rome, Velázquez exhibited this portrait, "which was so like him and so lively that, when he sent it by means of Pareja himself to some friends for their criticism, they just stood looking at the portrait in admiration and wonder, not knowing to whom they should speak or who would answer." Within months of completing it, Velázquez signed papers that would liberate Pareja by 1654, paving the way for his own successful career as a painter in Madrid. Enslaved artisanal labor was widespread in the workshops of Spanish painters, sculptors, silversmiths and woodworkers at this time.

#5180. Juan de Pareja, Part 1



  1. 5180. Juan de Pareja, Part 1
  2. 5185. Juan de Pareja, Part 2
Juan de Pareja (ca. 1608–1670), Velázquez (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez) (Spanish, Seville 1599–1660 Madrid), Oil on canvas

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