Whilst such comedy would be deemed decidely inappropriate today, this was entirely normal during the 17th century and offered some individuals the chance to make a good income where no other opportunity existed. Some of them would even be depicted with some of the royal court's paintings, though not always in a flattering style. Pablo de Valladolid himself was thankfully employed because of his abilities to entertain using his creative mind, which we can probably understand from his appearance within this painting. He would join the court in 1632 and ultimately serve an impressive period of sixteen years employment here. The artist, no doubt, would have known him reasonably well by the time of this artwork, although little information is available around how often they would have met. In order to serve so long within the royal court, it is likely that this comedian entirely avoided any type of criticism of his masters and instead focused on providing more of a theatrical performance.
The composition itself is fairly simple. There is little or no background whatsoever, other than the shadow which is angled to the right hand side, as we look at it. The subject is dressed all in black, making detail harder to identify. His top has a myriad of criss-crossing patterns and a white ruff to complete the look, but his torso is covered by a length of material that wraps around his waist and then over his shoulder. There are then long black stockings and matching shoes. Pablo de Valladolid's hair is also fairly simple and short, though a little longer around his ears.
Discover this, and many other Velazquez paintings at the Prado Museum in Madrid. This long-established art museum contains many of the most famous painters in history, with a particular focus on Spanish artists, plus a number of others who worked in Spain for an extended period. The work of Goya will always spearhead much of this nation's artistic history, and you will be able to find a good selection of his paintings and drawings here, too. Whilst this venue will likely keep you occupied for at least a full day, those with the stamina or desire to go elsewhere later in their trip can also discover more recent art from the 19th and 20th century just a short walk away from the Prado, with the likes of Picasso, Gris and Braque featured extensively. Add to this the other cultural gems of this city, and you have a busy week ahead of you.