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Juan de Pareja

Juan de ParejaBorn: c. 1606
Birthplace: West Indies
Died: 1670
Location of death: Madrid, Spain
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: Multiracial
Occupation: Painter

Nationality: Spain
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
    Manumission 23-Nov-1650
    Spanish Ancestry Paternal

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