The relationship of Velazquez and Pacheco was never as simple as student and teacher because of their relationship as respective father and son in law. Pacheco encouraged his student to develop his skills as a draughtsman from an early age in order to becoming a more rounded artist in later years.
The budding artist was able to make use of local children who were willing to model for sketches that Velazquez produced in chalk. Several of these still exist today, but the fragile nature of study drawings means that most were sadly lost.
This impressive oil painting was completed in 1622, at which point Diego Velazquez was just twenty three years old. The tonal qualities which are used to compose his teacher's face are highly skilled, reaching a level that you would not expect for an artist of such a young age.
At the time of this portrait Diego will have been married to Pacheco's daughter, Juana for around four years. Whilst being a key influence on the young artist in the early days of his development, there are actually relatively little evidence of Pacheco's influence in his student's best known works.
Pacheco himself was particularly fond of the work of El Greco, a Greek artist who settled in Spain. He would also study Italian art in detail, whilst under the direction of Luis Fernandez, and frequently reproduce famous Italian frescos in order to develop his own skills.
Francisco Pacheco was a technically well skilled artist but lacked perhaps the imagination required in order to be considered in the same grouping as his student, Diego Velazquez. His role will always be remembered most for how he helped to encourage his young student towards producing the extraordinary masterpiece, Las Meninas, which came late in his career.