Spanish painter Diego Velazquez is widely regarded as one of the most influential painters in European art. Quoted as saying “I would rather be the first painter of common things than second in higher art”, Velazquez trained in Italy by copying the work of Titian and Tintoretto and by his prolific and faithful study of nature. His work leaves us a truthful and intimate record of the individuals around him during the 17th century. Articulate, human and flawed, this master of realism captured specific nuances of personality with broad brushstrokes and his expressive technique leaves an impression of the movement and passion of the artist himself as well as the character and physical attributes of his subject. Rather than idealised, generic visions of nobility, Velazquez was also highly individual in his choice of subject matter. Noted for his paintings of Dwarves, members of the Spanish court, Velazquez approached these unusual portraits as beautifully detailed, dignified and individualistic works which arguably demonstrate his most sensitive approach to the depiction of the human body. Unique gestures reveal the true personality of each figure and vibrant brushstrokes and use of colour convey an incredibly lifelike and dynamic impression of translucent flesh and skin with its capillaries, wrinkles and muscles. Velasquez depicts a complex and unique insight into the people and environment of his time and a sensitive record of living breathing human beings, their status and their vulnerability.