Juan de Pareja

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Juan de Pareja
Diego Velázquez - Juan de Pareja (Metropolitan Museum of Art de Nueva York, 1649-50), detalle.jpg
Detail of Velázquez's Portrait of Juan de Pareja
Died1670 (aged 63–64)
EducationDiego Velázquez
Known forPainting

Juan de Pareja (c. 1606 in Antequera – 1670 in Madrid)[1] was a Spanish painter, born into slavery in Antequera, near Málaga, Spain. He is known primarily as a member of the household and workshop of painter Diego Velázquez, who freed him in 1650. His 1661 work The Calling of Saint Matthew (sometimes also referred to as The Vocation of Saint Matthew) is on display at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain.

Pareja became Velázquez's assistant sometime after the master returned to Madrid from his first trip to Italy in January 1631. After the death of Velázquez, Pareja then became an assistant to painter Juan del Mazo.[2]


Juan de Pareja was born into slavery, the son of an enslaved African-descended woman and a white Spanish father.[3] He was described as a morisco, being "of mixed parentage and unusual color."[4] At the time morisco had two possible meanings. It referred both to descendants of Muslims who converted to Catholicism and remained in Spain after the Reconquest, and to a racial classification applied to a person with mulatto and Spanish parents; it is equivalent to English term "quadroon".

Pareja was inherited by Velázquez and became an assistant in his painting after 1631. Velázquez later freed Pareja while they were in Rome during a trip to Italy in 1650. Around the same time, Velázquez painted Pareja's portrait, which is now held in New York City.[5] The document of his manumission is held in the state archive of Rome.[6]

Only ten known works exist by Pareja.


Works depicting Pareja[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ William Stirling Maxwell (1848). Annals of the artists of Spain, Volume 2. J. Ollivier.
  2. ^ The Crisis. The Crisis Publishing Company, Inc. February 1980. p. 50. ISSN 0011-1422.
  3. ^ Salomon, Xavier F.; Christiansen, Keith (2016). "Velázquez (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez) | Juan de Pareja (1606–1670) | The Met". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Catalogue Entry: The Subject. Retrieved 2017-10-10.
  4. ^ Palomino, Antonio (1988). El museo pictórico y escala óptica III. El parnaso español pintoresco laureado. Madrid : Aguilar S.A. de Ediciones
  5. ^ See Carmen Fracchia's article in The Slave in European Art: From Renaissance Trophy to Abolitionist Emblem, ed Elizabeth McGrath and Jean Michel Massing, London: The Warburg Institute, and Turin, 2012.
  6. ^ The document, discovered by Jennifer Montagu, is in the Archivio di Stato in Rome. See Burlington Magazine, volume 125, 1983, pp. 683-4


External links[edit]