Juan de Pareja, 1650 by Diego Velazquez
In the portrait of Juan de Pareja, a wide white collar with a jagged border contrasts effectively with the black of the model's hair and beard and his copper-coloured complexion. The dark eyes glow with great expressive force.
According to an eye-witness, this half-length portrait of Pareja was displayed in the Pantheon in Rome during the celebrations of the Feast of St Joseph on 19 March 1650, and met with unreserved admiration from artists of many different nationalities. one connoisseur remarked that while all the rest was art, this alone was truth. It won admission to the Roman Academy for the Spanish court painter, serving Velázquez as a kind of entree, and he could expect its success to bring him commissions to paint some very distinguished people. Sure enough, the Pope himself was soon sitting for him, and so were members of the papal household.