Portrait of a Man, Possibly a Self-Portrait

Velázquez (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez) Spanish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 625

The broken, flickering outlines that keep the surface and flesh alive in this portrait exemplify Velázquez’s technical brilliance and remarkable control within a tight chromatic range. It probably served as the study for an identical face that looks out from his Surrender of Breda (ca. 1635, Museo del Prado, Madrid), an important early commission for Philip IV’s Buen Retiro Palace. That figure has sometimes been taken as a self-portrait following a grand tradition of artists cleverly inserting themselves into historical or biblical subjects. If this study is a self-portrait, it could be the one described as half-length and unfinished in a posthumous inventory of Velázquez’s works.

Portrait of a Man, Possibly a Self-Portrait, Velázquez (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez) (Spanish, Seville 1599–1660 Madrid), Oil on canvas

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