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During the Baroque time, Diego Velázquez's main job was as a prestigious court painter for Spain's King Philip IV. However, he is best known for breaking portraiture and scene painting out of their stale molds. His naturalist style, which was a precursor to realism, was unique and favored realism over romanticism. This made him different from other artists of his time who stuck to traditional and historical ways of painting their topics. He was very friendly, and he was just as interested in the common man as he was in the famous man. He was able to make a body of work that was fiercely individualistic and impressive, which hid his love for the human being and the human experience. He is still one of the most famous artists from the Golden Age of Spain.
Even though he was paid to make art for royalty, Velazquez was very determined to also paint people and scenes from everyday life. He was able to ignore what other people thought, which was that this work was useless or a waste of time, by making things that were so interesting that they couldn't be ignored.
Velazquez's method of painting the truth was very direct and photorealistic, and it was a long way ahead of its time. He used techniques like free, loose brushstrokes, gradients of light, color, and form, and an eye for detail that was unmatched by his peers to correctly show detail and its many nuances. This style was a forerunner of both Realism and Impressionism.
Velazquez was a master of chiaroscuro, which is the way he used light and shadow to make a picture stand out. He did this to draw attention to things that were important to the viewer and to give the picture a general mood.
Velazquez used composition as a strategy to get people to see his work the way he wanted them to. In order to do this, he often used diagonal structures, complex focal points, and different planes to guide the viewer's eye to what was most important or to make them think more deeply about the picture.
Las Meninas (The Ladies in Waiting), a picture by Velazquez, has become one of the most studied works of Western art. By putting a painting of himself as an artist into a very private scene with his royal subjects, he made a comment not only on the position of the painter as someone who is allowed to see intimate moments that most people wouldn't be able to see, but also on the painter's ability to accurately portray those moments with the tools and techniques that are unique to the artist's trade. It shows how important the job of the painter is.