Falco's version of Velasquez's blacksmiths
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Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez was born in 1599 in Seville (in 1611) his father put him with Francisco Pacheco (1564-1644), who was an artist of modest talent, but a tolerant teacher and a man of society. There Velazquez became familiar with the school of Caravaggio. In 1622, Velázquez visited Madrid for the first time to see its art treasures, and to make useful contacts; then he went to Toledo to see works by El Greco. In 1623, Velázquez was summoned to court and received his first commission for a portrait of Philip IV. The success of this picture brought the artist an appointment as court painter and the privilege of becoming the only artist permitted to paint the king. In 1628, Peter Paul Rubens came to the court in Madrid on diplomatic business. Velázquez often visited him at work. It was Rubens who persuaded Velázquez to go to Italy. During his first journey to Italy in 1629-30, Velázquez visited Genoa, Venice (where he saw the work of Titian, who effected him strongly), Florence, and Rome, where he stayed for almost a year. He copied old masters, but also painted large compositions of his own including the The Forge of Vulcan, of which you see a homo erotisized forgery by Falco above. Note, that the original already was quite an erotic depiction of a group of strong male bodies.
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