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Juan de Pareja

[Spanish Baroque Era Painter, ca.1610-1670]

• Relationships: Indentured servant to Diego Velazquez, later freed.
• Browse all:  Spanish artists

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Juan de Pareja: The Calling of Saint MatthewThe son of Moorish indentured servants (in other words, slaves), Juan de Pareja's was apparently left to Diego Velázquez in a will, as property. He acted as a personal assistant to Velázquez, and in the studio he ground pigments and stretched canvases.

Velázquez would never let the slave even pick up a paintbrush, but the Moor watched and learned in the master's studio, and practiced drawing in secret.

According to legend, on an occasion when Velázquez's patron, the king of Spain, was due to visit, Pareja placed one of his own paintings where it would be seen by him. When the king came across it, Pareja threw himself at the king's feet, told him how he had learned to paint without his master's knowledge, and begged him to intercede on his behalf. The king voiced the opinion that "any man who has this skill cannot be a slave," at which point Velázquez had little option but to grant Pareja his freedom.

Another version of events has Pareja being given the gift of his freedom in return for his friendship and support following the death of Velázquez's wife.

In any case, Juan de Pareja was granted his freedom in 1654 and stayed on in Velázquez's studio, painting openly and quickly becoming an artist of considerable talent.


    Juan de Pareja Works Online    
Categorized & Annotated
Paintings in Museums and Public Art Galleries Worldwide:
Notable SiteHermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Portrait of a Monk, 1651

Notable SitePrado Museum Database, Madrid   NEW!
(Linking to the Spanish-language version because it contains far more works than the English version)

Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia, Spain (in Spanish)  
El arquitecto JosÚ RatÚs

Ringling Museum of Art, Florida
The Flight into Egypt, 1658

Pictures from Image Archives:
Notable SiteJuan de Pareja in the Web Gallery of Art  

Ciudad de la Pintura (in Spanish)  

State Hermitage Museum Unofficial Site

USC Annenberg School for Communication
The Calling of St. Matthew, 1661

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Articles and Reference Sites:
Notable SiteEncyclopedia Britannica complete article on Juan de Pareja  
Note: The full version of the article is available only if you follow this link. If you bookmark the article and return later, or if you navigate directly to the Britannica website, you will see a 100-word preview only. Troubleshooting

Notable SiteRKD Netherlands Institute for Art History  

Notable SiteUnion List of Artist Names (Getty Museum)  
Reference sheet with basic information about the artist and pointers to other references.

Books and Posters
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