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

The Buffoon Pablo de Valladolid

Oil on canvas, 214 x 125 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

The court jester, posing like an actor, stands in a curiously indeterminate space showing no floor-line. This portrait is revolutionary in that Velázquez reduces space to a neutral element in picture-making. Later painters such as Goya and Manet were enthusiastic about this masterpiece, not least for its originally glowing tones of grey in the background, now turned to an unattractive ochre.

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