VELÁZQUEZ, Diego Rodriguez de Silva y
(b. 1599, Sevilla, d. 1660, Madrid)

Head of a Girl

c. 1618
Chalk drawing, 150 x 117 mm
Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid

Even in Seville, where he was accepted into the painters' guild of St Luke before he was eighteen and then, in 1620, opened a workshop and employed apprentices himself, Velázquez was already embarking on portraiture, a path that would lead him to a place among the major portraitists in the history of art. There are around half a dozen portraits extant of very different people from Velázquez' early period in Seville, including two sensitive drawings vibrant with life, both showing a young girl and dated to 1618. Since very few of the artist's authentic drawings have survived, these two are particularly worthy of notice.