Renowned for his physical and psychological naturalism, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660) is considered one of the greatest painters to have ever lived. Official court painter to King Philip IV (1605-1665), he created astounding effects of illusion in his minimalist and elegantly composed works--which range from genre and history scenes to portraits. His paintings had an enormous impact on 19th- and early-20th-century artists such as Degas, Renoir, and Picasso, and Manet famously first described him as "the painter's painter." With over 150 illustrations and an in-depth chronology, this beautifully produced and comprehensive book surveys Velázquez's entire career and explores his universal popularity. Fascinating essays by world-class Velázquez scholars address the artist's life and technique, examining his studies in Seville and Italy to his final great works at the court of Philip IV. They also place his works in the context of 17th-century European painting and discuss how and why his works have resonated so strongly with the generations of Post-Impressionist and modernist artists.