Collected for the first time in a new translation: two of the most important and far-reaching biographies of an artist ever written, and our principal sources for the life of Velazquez.
Diego Velazquez (1599-1660) is for many the greatest painter ever to have lived.
His astonishing naturalism had an immediate and lasting impact on his contemporaries, inspiring both awe and fierce debate.
Most of what we know about Velazquez' life and incomparably successful career comes from these two biographies.
Francisco Pacheco, a second rank painter, was Velazquez' teacher and eventually father in law - possibly the closest relationship between a painter and his biographer in all art.
This Life, part of Pacheco's theoretical work, the Art of Painting, has never been translated before, and it reveals the scale of the challenge to traditional painting presented by Velazquez' insurmountable talent. Antonio Palomino, the Spanish Vasari, was born just after Velazquez died, but knew many of the painter's friends and colleagues.
His biography, precise and detailed, is an incomparable source, but like Pacheco's text, also tackles the aesthetic debate engendered by Velazquez' choice of subject matter and style.
Together these biographies give an excitingly close insight into the mind and world of a great painter. The introduction by Michael Jacobs situates these biographies in the context of Spain's Golden Age, and the intellectual ferment in painting and in the theatre that lie behind Velazquez' magic.
The translations are by Nina Ayala Mallory, the leading scholar of Spanish artistic biographies.
The volume is richly illustrated with 30 plates illustrating the full gamut of Velazquez' work.