Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares
Olivares, second in charge of Spain, held the
strings of the puppet King Phelipe IV vigorously.
At the height of his career he was a man
ruthless in his disposal of unwanted opposition.
However, with advancing years and the burden
of war upon his shoulders, his life inevitably
As friends grew few and he became less
hedged about, the queen was able to gain the-
upper-hand. Stories of sordid dealings with a
noble family came to the attention of the
He died before the Holy Office could incarcerate
him after his banishment from court.
Elizabeth of France
Known in Spain as Isabel Queen consort, a
Medici, and daughter of the French King. She
was older than Phelipe, an astute and
committed queen who Olivares could not easily
manipulate. It was by her timely quick hand that
he fell from grace. Isabel was renowned for her
beauty, intelligence and noble personality,
which made her very popular with the Spanish
people. She was very aware that her husband
had mistresses yet quietly suffered the insult.
Many of Isabel's babies died in infancy; but she
did give birth to a strong prince, Carlos, the
hope of the nation and the pride of his father.
She died of a fever before her children reached
adulthood and was mourned by the nation.
Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez
Diego married fifteen-year-old Juana, the daughter of his master Juan Pacheco, when he was eighteen. He was kind, teachable and in love with his wife as with his art. Success came his way early when he was called to the palace in Madrid as court painter to Phelipe IV of spain. His accomplishments as an artist and later diplomat was pitted with court jealousy, motivated by his close friendship with the king. Within the stability of his marriage, the stress of palace duties and fatigue of war, Diego's humanity was tested. He formed an attachment to a young widow while in italy. Together they produced a boy he was never to meet. Near the end of his career he realized his lifelong dream of being knighted.
Juan de Pareja
A slave of Spanish and Moorish parentage,
Juan Pareja survived in a Spain that had
banished Moors from its borders. He too was a
painter; his most notable canvas The calling of
Matthew where he paints a copy of Velázquez’s
portrait of him.
Anecdotally it is said that Pareja placed this
painting in front of the King, lying prostrate
before it. Where upon the king was obliged to
recognize him. On viewing the painting, he
pronounced his liking of it and wondered why
such talent was enslaved. Velázquez had no
option but to liberate Pareja, granting him his
freedom. Diego did grant Pareja freedom in
1651 where he disappeared from the pages of