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This Spanish court artist is the son-in-law of the famous Diego Velazquez, a representative of his art school. His work belongs to the Baroque style - a magnificent, richly decorated trend in art, which gave the world many famous masters.
The future artist was born in 1612 in Cuenca. The first years of his life and youth remained hidden from historians. There is information about him only from the moment when, as a student of Velazquez, Martinez del Maso marries his daughter. Thanks to the eminent and famous father-in-law, the king of Spain Philip IV and his all-powerful first minister Gaspard de Guzmán are present at the wedding. The promotion of the freshly baked relative of the great artist is provided for many years to come.
But to say that the artist received all his privileges and fame solely thanks to a successful marriage and lobbying of his interests with his father-in-law would be extremely unfair. He was certainly talented, his paintings are magnificent both from a professional and emotional point of view. But creating in the shadow of a titan like Velazquez is extremely difficult. Nevertheless, the paintings of Martinez del Maso deserve special attention of both historians and art lovers.
In 1634, the king allowed Velazquez to transfer to his son-in-law the position of guardian of the gates of the Royal Chamber. After 9 years, del Maso has new opportunities. After receiving the title of master of painting, he becomes the court painter of the Prince of Asturias, who was the heir to the Spanish throne. This man baptized the fifth child of the artist, which indicates the disposition of those in power to him. The main work of the master becomes copying the canvases of the great masters of the Flemish school with images of the hunt, which the young prince liked so much.
While traveling with him to Aragon, the artist paints one of his best-known and best paintings - “The Road to Zaragoza”. At the same time, the last portrait of the early deceased sixteen-year-old prince is being created. Del Maso becomes the court painter of his father after the death of Velazquez, transferring his position as gatekeeper to his eldest son, also an artist.
Before the death of Philip IV, the master created numerous portraits of members of the ruling family, still lifes, landscapes and hunting paintings so popular among the nobility. The artist remains at his post at the court of Marianne of Austria until his death in 1667.
The work of Juan Bautista is presented in the Prado Museum next to the canvases of his great father-in-law, which indicates that descendants understand his role in art. His paintings are characterized by realistic images, well-designed compositions and a harmonious color palette. He carefully wrote out all the details, so his historical portraits of real persons give a clear idea of the style and fashion of that time. Along with other artists, he left a serious mark in the art of Spain.
Interestingly, one of the artist’s daughters and granddaughter of Velazquez made him a relative of such ruling representatives of the royal dynasties as the Spanish and Dutch Queen, the king of Sweden, Belgium, Prince of Liechtenstein, and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.