Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez (June 6, 1599 - August 6, 1660) was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary baroque period, important as a portrait artist. In addition to numerous renditions of scenes of historical and cultural significance, he painted scores of portraits of the Spanish royal family, other notable European figures, and commoners, culminating in the production of his masterpiece Las Meninas (1656).
From the first quarter of the nineteenth century, Velazquez's artwork was a model for the realist and impressionist painters, in particular Edouard Manet. Since that time, more modern artists, including Spain's Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, as well as the Anglo-Irish painter Francis Bacon, have paid tribute to Velazquez by recreating several of his most famous works. (From Wikipedia)