His patron was Philip IV of Spain and Portugal. Aside from being Philips royal court painter, Diego served his King through a range of responsibilities from wardrobe assistant to superintendent of palace works.
Philip IV was a Habsburg and his family-based empire dominated Europe politically and militarily for much of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
By the time Philip became King in 1621, the Habsburg empire was in recession fueled by bad debts due to poor economic advice and judgement as well as illnesses and deaths due to royal family inbreeding.
Philip added to the decline by overspending on luxury items and racking up debt on excessive displays of decadence. His further contributed to the degeneration was his inability to achieve successful domestic and military reform.
On the eve of his death in 1665, the Spanish Empire had reached approximately 12.2 million square kilometers (4.7 million square miles) in area but it was in shambles, emotionally decayed and socially rotten.
Sue Bell from Benissa attended this lecture last year and had this to say about it:
"I attended with curiosity, having moved recently to Spain and wishing to learn more about this fascinating new country. What I learned was an amazing story of the Baroque period, the monarchy and the life of an amazing painter. I simply can't wait to see Velazquez's paintings at the Prado in Madrid and am plotting a trip to see them very soon. Karla's teaching style is down to earth and she brings the characters to life!"
When asked, Sue Martin, a resident of Pedreguer who attended this lecture had this to say:
"Before this presentation Velazquez was just an artist and a name. Karla brought him to life with her infectious enthusiasm, creating a passion within me to discover more. I cannot wait to visit the Prado again and immerse myself absorbing his works with my new found knowledge. I have learnt so much and am hungry for more."
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