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He next entered the studio of the rich and fashionable painter, Pacheco. This man, like Macaulay, had so much learning that it ran over and he stood in the slop. He wrote a book on painting, and might also have carried on a Correspondence School wherein the art of portraiture would be taught in ten easy lessons.

In Madrid and Seville are various specimens of work done by both Herrera and Pacheco. Herrera had a certain style, and the early work of Velasquez showed Herrera’s earmarks plainly; but we look in vain for a trace of influence that can be attributed to Pacheco. Velasquez at eighteen could outstrip his master, and both knew it. So Pacheco showed his good sense by letting the young man go his own pace. He admired the dashing, handsome youth, and although Velasquez broke every rule laid down in Pacheco’s mighty tome, “Art As I Have Found It,” yet the master uttered no word of protest.

The boy was bigger than the book.

More than this, Pacheco invited the young man to come and make his home with him, so as the better to avail himself of the master’s instruction. Now, Pacheco (like Brabantio in the play) had a beautiful daughter–Juana by name. She was about the age of Velasquez, gentle, refined and amiable. Love is largely a matter of propinquity: and the world now regards Pacheco as a master matchmaker as well as a master painter. Diego and Juana were married, aged nineteen, and Pacheco breathed easier. He had attached to himself the most daring and brilliant young man he had ever known, and he had saved himself the annoyance of having his studio thronged with a gang of suitors such as crowded the courts of Ulysses.

Pacheco was pleased.

And why should Pacheco not have been pleased? He had linked his name for all time with the History of Art. Had he not been the teacher and father-in-law of Velasquez, his name would have been writ in water, for in his own art there was not enough Attic salt to save it; and his learning was a thing of dusty, musty books.

Pacheco’s virtue consisted in recognizing the genius of Velasquez, and hanging on to him closely, rubbing off all the glory that he could make stick to himself.

To the day of his death Pacheco laid the flattering unction to his soul that he had made Velasquez; but leaving this out of the discussion, no one doubts that Velasquez plucked from oblivion the name and fame of Pacheco.

“Those splendid blonde women of Rubens are the solaces of the eternal fighting-man,” writes Vance Thompson. The wife of Velasquez was of the Rubens type: she looked upon her husband as the ideal. She believed in him, ministered to him, and had no other gods before him. She had but one ambition, and that was to serve her lord and master.

Her faith in the man–in his power, in his integrity and in his art –corroborated his faith in himself. We want One to believe in us, and this being so, all else matters little.

Velasquez seems a type of the “eternal fighting-man”–not the quarrelsome, quibbling man, who draws on slight excuse, but the man with a message, who goes straight to his destination with a will that breaks through every barrier, and pushes aside every obstacle. With the savage type there is no progression: the noble red man is content to be a noble red man all his days, and the result is that in standing still he is retreating off the face of the earth. Not so your “eternal fighting-man”–he is scourged by a restlessness that allows him no rest nor respite save in his work.

Beware when a thinker and worker is let loose on the planet!

In the days of Velasquez, Spain had but two patrons for art: Royalty and the Church.

Although nominally a Catholic, Velasquez had little sympathy with the superstitions of the multitude. His religion was essentially a Natural Religion: to love his friends, to bathe in the sunshine of life, to preserve a right mental attitude–the receptive attitude, the attitude of gratitude–and to do his work: these things were for him the sum of life. His passion was art–to portray his feelings on canvas and make manifest to others the things he himself saw. The Church, he thought, did not afford sufficient outlet for his power. Cherubs that could live only in the tropics, and wings without muscles to manipulate them, did not mean much to him. The men and women on earth appealed to him more than the angels in Heaven, and he could not imagine a better paradise than this. So he painted what he saw: old men, market-women, beggars, handsome boys and toddling babies. These things did not appeal to prelates–they wanted pictures of things a long way off. So from the Church Velasquez turned his gaze toward the Court of Madrid.