Inventory number
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
The Buffoon Diego de Acedo, "El Primo"
1636 - 1638
107 cm x 82 cm
On display
Colección Real (¿Real Alcázar, Madrid, bóvedas que caen a la Priora-pasillos al pie de la escalera de la Galería del Cierzo y la misma escalera, 1686, s,n.; Real Alcázar, Madrid, pasillos al pie de la escalera de la Galería del Cierzo, 1700, nº 455; Torre de la Parada, El Pardo-Madrid, 1703-1711; Palacio de El Pardo, Madrid; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, cuarto del infante don Javier, 1772, nº 932; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, pieza de trucos, 1794, nº 932; Palacio Real, Madrid, pieza de trucos, 1814-1818, nº 932?).

Don Diego de Acedo, a servant in the palace beginning in 1635, combined his work as a buffoon —if, in fact he was one, as tradition would have it— with other jobs, such as royal courier and Royal Seal Officer. His responsibility for the seal with the royal signature explains the presence of the folio he holds, and the writing materials on the floor.

The nickname, “El Primo” (“The Cousin”) may be derived from the fact that that is how the King addressed Grandees, who had the privilege of leaving their hats on in his presence, just as the buffoon is in this portrait. If that is the case, it would mean that the nickname was intended to make fun of his pretended grandeur, although it has also been suggested that he was a relative of the painter.

The portrait's background is unfinished and clearly shows a series of vertical brushstrokes that are the result of cleaning the brush directly on the canvas.

Although there is evidence that Velázquez painted a portrait of Don Diego in 1644 during the Royal sojourn in Aragon, it is not certain that this is the same work. It was in the Alcázar Palace in Madrid during the seventeenth century and was then moved to the Torre de la Parada, in El Pardo, and finally to the Royal Palace. From there, it entered the Prado Museum in 1819.

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