Diego Velazquez (1599-1660) was a leading individualistic Spanish painter of the baroque period. Born to a middle class family and was raised to be devoded not only with becoming the best painter in Spain but to climb the social ladder. At the age of 25 he was hired by the Spanish King (Phillip IV) and became his court painter. The Pieza Principal, which was the main room in the palace, was offered to Velazquez by the King as his studio, and even the King had a chair there and he used to watch him paint often. His most famous work of art being "Las Meninas" and easily recognized for his impressionistic and realistic portraits. in his paintings Velazquez often used a technique called "claroscuro" or (light-dark), where the use or absence of light highlights a character or scene. This technique and style has influenced artists such as Eduard Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali. At 1651 Diego was appointed as the palace chaberlain which gave him status and materials as rewards.
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