Portrait of Sebastián de Morra
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Portrait of Sebastián de Morra is a portrait by Diego Velázquez of Sebastián de Morra, a dwarf and jester at the court of Philip IV of Spain. It was painted in around 1645 and is now in the Prado in Madrid.
Velázquez portrays his whole body, sitting on the ground, wearing a rich cloak and with his short legs pointing forward in an inelegant position reminiscent of a marionette. He looks directly at the viewer, motionless, making no hand gestures, suggesting a denunciation of the court's treatment of himself and other dwarfs. While Velázquez's naturalistic and charitable depictions of the invalids and dwarfs maintained by the court strongly suggests he, as court painter, felt some empathy with their situation, the painter's opinions are not known in any documented fashion.