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

Court Dwarf Don Antonio el Inglés

c. 1640-42
Oil on canvas, 142 x 107 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

It was customary at the courts of Europe during the seventeenth century for monarchs to keep dwarfs. Velázquez's sympathy for the fools and dwarfs of the Spanish court is obvious: in the pathos and humane understanding demonstrated by the single portraits with which he (and he alone) paid tribute to them.