Happy Birthday Velasquez!! (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez) One of the few Spanish painters known by just his surname, born in 1599, Velasquez was a painter for the Spanish court during the Baroque period. His portraits of various prominent figures of the court and historical scenes became quite well-known and he was an influence for such artists as Manet, Picasso and Dali. He traveled to Italy several times to view the work of the Italian masters. His greatest work is considered to be Las Meninas, a scene including one of the “infant” daughters of the queen’s, Velasquez, himself (painting), and other court figures. The intriguing quality is the various gazes and gestures of the figures, a “snapshot” of life; the characters beckon us into their presence. Note the faded image of, presumably, the queen and king in the background of the tableau. Are they Velasquez' models reflected in a mirror, is it a portrait of court life, or a foretelling of what is to become of Spain?