Juan de Pareja (c. 1606 in Antequera – 1670 in Madrid) was a Spanish painter, born into slavery in Antequera, near Málaga, Spain…. the son of an enslaved mulatto (mixed-race) woman and Spanish father. He was described as a “Morisco,” being “of mixed parentage and a strange color.” At the time morisco had two possible meanings. It referred both to descendants of Muslims who converted to Catholicism and remained in Spain after the Reconquest, and to the children of a Spaniard and a mulatto.
De Pareja was inherited by Velazquez and became an assistant in his painting after 1631. Velázquez later freed Pareja while they were in Rome during a trip to Italy in 1650. Around the same time Velázquez painted Pareja’s portrait, which is now held in New York. The document of his manumission is held in the state archive of Rome.
@medievalpoc might be interested in this!