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Portrait Art, Aesopus Aesop, Velazquez, Antique Painting, c. 1900


Diego Velázquez (1599-1660) (after)
F. Gall [or Galli] (copy by)
Aesopus [Aesop]
Spain: c. 1900
Oil on paper mounted on pressed card, as issued
Signed lower right and titled verso
18.25 x 10.25 inches, overall

A faithful rendition in oils of the famous portrait of the ancient Greek storyteller Aesop by Diego Velázquez. The Velázquez original is in the Prado Museum as indicated by a label in pen and ink on the back of the board of the offered work: “Museo del Prado — Velazquez/ El Esopo.” This copy, signed by the artist, was likely painted in Spain to be sold as a souvenir for tourists visiting Madrid. However, Aesop’s portrait was apparently a popular subject for other artists; a copy of the head of Aesop, after Velázquez, by the renowned American portrait painter John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), is in the Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Product description continues below.


Aesop (c. 620-564 B.C.E.) was the ancient Greek storyteller known for his clever fables featuring animals that teach morals and lessons of human life and behavior. Velázquez ‘s full-length portrait, painted around 1638, depicts Aesop as a humble yet dignified man holding a book, indicating his vocation as a writer. According to ancient accounts, Aesop was a strikingly homely slave who won his freedom and went on to become an advisor to kings. He is most famous as the author or collector of the stories that bear his name. In the offered painting, Aesop’s Greek name “AESOPUS” appears in all capitals on the wall in the upper right, just as it does in Velázquez’s original painting.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning and wear. Pressed card backing a bit brittle overall but stable.


“Aesop.” Wikipedia. 5 April 2015. (5 April 2015).

“Inventory Number P01206.” Museo Nacional del Prado. 2015. (5 April 2015).

Additional information


Late 19th/Early 20th Century