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This portrait drawing is not considered one of Velazquez's best, but the rarity of his surviving work in this medium makes this a significant piece
The painting style of Diego Velazquez was to amend as he went, meaning it was sometimes hard to see his original underpainting techniques and layout sketching. His drawings offer an insight into his raw skills as a draughtsman.
Velazquez was interested in drawing from an early age, often persuading a young peasant boy to model in a variety of poses for him. The artist would typically be looking to improve the facial depictions that he created in a small sketchbook. His tutor recommended continual practice at that age, which he was happy to do.
The young man's tutor was of the opinion that any self-respecting artist should have refined skills as a draughtsman if they wanted to be considered a talented painter. This was a view predominantly felt in Italy, rather than their native Spain. Opinions there were somewhat less judgemental as to who could be considered a fine artist.
It is hard to summarise this artist's skills within sketchwork because of the lack of available evidence. Suffice to say, he is likely to always remain best known as an oil painter as it is highly unlikely that any further artworks will be discovered in the future - at least not enough to finally construct a clear overview of his time as a draughtsman.
Velazquez continued his use of youths for portrait sketches with several related drawings of a young woman who is considered to be from a similarly modest background.