Diego Velázquez 1599-1660 BACK

Juan de Pareja
oil on canvas 81x70cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

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Painted sometime between July 1649 and March 1650 in Rome.

Juan de Pareja, who was half-caste, was born in Seville in about 1610, and died in Madrid in 1670. In 1630 he claimed to be a painter by profession, and was planning to go to Madrid for further study with his brother, Jusepe, also a painter. It is not known when he entered Veldzquez' workshop, where it seems that he performed rather minor tasks. His extant dated works, all executed in the years 1658-69, show that he did not learn much of substance from his master, whom he accompanied in his 1648-51 Italian journey.

An old touch-up on the sitter's hand, mainly around the fingers, was removed, and the spot was properly restored before 1947. Some of the painted surface had been folded over the edges of the stretcher, as noted in the catalogue of An Exhibition ofSpanisb Paintings, London, The Arts Council of Great Britain, 1947. In 1971 the stretcher was removed, and the painted border areas at the top (3-5 cm) and on the right (5.4 cm) were folded out, thus restoring the portrait to its original off-centre composition. A piece of canvas, measuring 3.2, by 5.7 cm, missing from the upper right corner, was replaced; it had obviously been cut off when the canvas was folded over at the top and right. The unlined original canvas was put on a new stretcher and backed by an unattached grounded canvas. The colour of Pareja's doublet has been described as of various shades of green - smirched, dark, olive, greyish olive, or plain green - by scholars who had actually examined the painting.

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