Portrait of the court jester “El Primo”, Diego Velazquez

Portrait of the court jester “El Primo”, Diego Velazquez
Portrait of the court jester "El Primo", Diego Velazquez - 1

  • Posted by Diego Velazquez
  • Museum: Prado Museum
  • Year: Around 1644

Overview of the painting :

Portrait of the court jester “El Primo” – Diego Velazquez. Around 1644. Oil on canvas. 107×82

   Diego Velazquez is one of the greatest representatives of the Spanish golden age. The court painter Philip IV, among other genres, wrote spicy portraits. In them, it was possible to convey the psychology of their models and avoid flattery even to the most powerful figures.

   Throughout the 1630-1640s, Velazquez created a series of portraits of dwarfs and jesters. Through the comic guise, the painter saw the complex spiritual world of these people deprived of nature. Having portrayed ridicule without a shadow, with simplicity and tact, revealed their characters, state of mind, a world of experiences that reached a mournful tragedy.

   A tall clean forehead, smart eyes fascinate and make you look into the extraordinary face of a jester. Only then does attention switch to his puny figure. Don Diego de Acedo held a special position in the retinue of Philip IV and traditionally performed several more posts – he was a courier and keeper of the royal press. His responsibility for printing with a royal signature explains the presence of the foliant he holds and the writing on the floor. The nickname “El Primo” means “cousin.”. Perhaps the dwarf is a relative of Velazquez, or maybe this name appeared due to the privilege of the jester not to take off his hat in the presence of the king, which was allowed only to representatives of the higher aristocracy, their king called “chickens.”.

   Of particular value is its incompleteness to the portrait: an unfinished background allows you to perfectly consider the directions of the master’s brush.