|Juan de Pareja|
Born: c. 1606
Birthplace: West Indies
Location of death: Madrid, Spain
Cause of death: unspecified
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: Multiracial
Executive summary: Velázquez's slave turned painter
Spanish painter, born a slave in the West Indies about 1606, and in early life passed into the service of Diego Velázquez, who employed him in color grinding and other menial work of the studio. By day he closely watched his master's methods, and by night stealthily practiced with his brushes until he had attained considerable manipulative skill. The story goes that, having succeeded in producing a picture satisfactory to himself, he contrived furtively to place it among those on which Velázquez had been working, immediately before an expected visit of King Philip IV. The performance was duly discovered and praised, and Pareja forthwith received his freedom, which, however, he continued to devote to his former employer's service. His extant works are not very numerous; the best known, the "Calling of St. Matthew", now in the Prado, Madrid, has considerable merit as regards technique, but does not reveal much originality, insight or devotional feeling. He died in 1670.
Born into Slavery
Spanish Ancestry Paternal
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