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Diego Velazquez was born in Seville in the country of Spain. When he was
about thirteen years old he was apprenticed to a painter, Francisco Herrera,
but the man was such a tyrant Diego only stayed with him for a year. He next
went as an apprentice to Francisco Pacheco who was very kind and helpful to
him. He worked for him five years, then married Pacheco's daughter, Juana, who
gave him two daughters. With his family and his father-in-law, Pacheco, he
visited Madrid where he was asked to paint the portrait of King Philip IV. The
Spanish king was so pleased, he asked Velazquez to move to Madrid with his
family and work exclusively for the royal family. For the next forty years he
and his family lived with the king. Even his mother and father lived with
them. He painted at least 20 pictures of the king in all kinds of clothing.
Velazquez also was in charge of buying things for the royal family. He bought
art work and furniture. He was in charge of planning and decorating for social
events. He helped the king keep the household running smoothly. The king was
so appreciative that he made him a Knight of the Order of Santiago. This was a
very high honor for a nobleman in Spain. He painted Las Meninas for the king.
Another of his famous paintings is called The Lances which is a military
scene. He died at the age of 61.