The content found in this portrait would fit appropriately with Velazquez's time in Rome, as we know that during his year here he would focus most on the portraiture genre as a means to please patrons and build his reputation. This approach had worked in Spain already, and so he sought out high ranking individuals across the city of Rome in order to broaden his connections and artistic reputation even further. He would actually feature the Pope plus various cardinals amongst this select few. Interestingly, whilst here, Velazquez also worked hard in identifying and purchasing suitable paintings from the Spanish royal collection and he would also draw on local knowledge in order to effectively complete this task.

The piece can now be found in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the US, and if it truly is from the hand of Velazquez, then it would be amongst a very small number to now be found within that continent. Most reside in Europe, thankfully with the majority being in public collections, allowing us to see them ourselves for free, or very small ticket prices at worst. The Prado in Madrid, who best represent this artist's work, alongside the National Gallery in London offer around seventy of his original paintings and are therefore the two places to visit first. They also both boast exceptional collections of Renaissance and Baroque art which will keep you enthused way beyond just the excitement of seeing the work of Velazquez in person, perhaps for the first time.

Whilst this is, as far as we are aware, the only item related to Velazquez within the collection of the Met, you will still have much to appreciate here too. Some of our personal favourites include Venus and Cupid by Lorenzo Lotto, By the Seashore by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and The Love-Song by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. Besides the paintings, there are some stunning tapestries from past centuries as well as items from other civilisations for those interested in history more generally. The overall list of art and antiquities runs into the hundreds of thousands, meaning most will not be on display at the time of your visit, sadly. It might require more than a single day here if you really want to understand and appreciate everything under this roof, but it is worth taking the time to really investigate what must be one of the finest artistic collections in the world.

Portrait of a Man in Detail Diego Velazquez