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Díaz del Valle, Lázaro

    Full Name: Díaz del Valle, Lázaro

    Other Names:

    • Lázaro Díez del Valle

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1606

    Date Died: 1669

    Place Born: León, Castile-Leon, Spain

    Place Died: Madrid, Spain

    Home Country/ies: Spain

    Subject Area(s): biography (general genre) and Spanish (culture or style)


    Author of an early biography of Spanish artists. Díaz del Valle was a singer and court personage in the Capilla Real and Chaplain to Charles II of Spain. There he met many of the court painters, including Diego Velázquez, Sebastián de Herrera Barnuevo, Pedro de la Torre and Juan Escalante. His avocation was writing, though his works remained in manuscript. He wrote a three-volume history, Noticia histórica del principio de la Inquisición y la historia y nobleza del Reino de León y Principado de Asturias. Philip II commissioned him to translate the Italian art-historical biographies of Giorgio Vasari, to which Díaz del Valle included biographies of Madrid painters. Beginning in 1656 his art writings, unsystematic accumulations of notes cribbed from other treatises and biographies, were assembled as Varones ilustres with a second volume in 1659. The model for this was the esthetic writing of Gaspar Gutiérrez de los Ríos (fl. 1600) and Juan Alonso de Butrón (fl. 1630). Díaz del Valle’s biographies of artists provided much material for later Spanish art historiographers. The writer and proto-art historian Acisclo Antonio Palomino de Castro y Velasco and Juan Agustin Ceán Bermudez both used his writings for their own more significant artistic biographies.

    Selected Bibliography

    Noticia histórica del principio de la Inquisición y la historia y nobleza del Reino de León y Principado de Asturias (manuscript, vol. 1 destroyed in 1939; vol. 2 whereabouts unknown; vol. 3, London, British Library); Varones ilustres. 2 vols. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Instituto Diego Velázquez, 1656, 1659.


    Castrillón, Juan L. “D. Lazaro Díaz del Valle y de la Puerta.” Boletín de la Academia de la historia 12 (1888): 471-479; Gaya Nuño, Juan Antonio. Historia de la crítica de arte en España. Madrid: Ibérico Europea de Ediciones, 1975; Jacobs, Michael. “Introduction.” Lives of Velázquez. London: Pallas Athene, 2006, p. 21.


    "Díaz del Valle, Lázaro." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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