- Inventory number
- Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
- Francisco Lezcano, "El Niño de Vallecas"
- 1636 - 1638
- 107 cm x 83 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection (Torre de la Parada, El Pardo-Madrid, 1703-1711; Torre de la Parada, 1714; Royal Palace of El Pardo, “pieza séptima”, 1747, s.n.; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “cuarto del infante don Javier”, 1772, n. 931; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza de trucos”, 1794, n. 931; Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza de trucos”, 1814-1818, n. 931)
A person sits in the shelter of a boulder, wearing a tabard and green trousers and holding cards in his hands. He is traditionally thought to be Francisco Lezcano, nicknamed “El Niño de Vallecas” (“The Boy from Vallecas”) because a buffoon of that name appears in palace documents from 1634 until his death in 1649.
With his customary sensitivity, Velázquez presents a person filled with tenderness, a perfect companion and entertainment to Prince Baltasar Carlos, whom he served. But, beyond its plastic values, this is a portrait in which the iconographic elements, such as the cards or the outdoor setting, recall portraits of Anchorites, suggesting a new metaphorical game of the sort Velázquez much enjoyed. Even today it has yet to be fully identified.
The work is mentioned in the Alcázar Palace of Madrid beginning in 1666. After the fire it was transferred to the Retiro, and then back to the Royal Palace. From there, it entered the Prado Museum in 1819.