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Velázquez had been commissioned to paint a series of equestrian portraits meant for the Salón de Reinos at the palacio del Buen Retiro in Madrid, with this work meant to fill the gap between the two larger equestrian portraits of the series were those of Balthasar and Philip IV.
According to art historian Andrew Graham Dixon: " little boy on this plump horse, underneath a lowering sky full of dark clouds. The child looks lost."