Slavery and the guild in Golden age painting in Seville

Luis Méndez Rodríguez, Jeremy Roe (Translator)

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This article examines the use of slave labor in both painters and sculptors’ workshops in early modern Seville and offers valuable insight into the social and cultural conditions that shaped artistic production. New research is presented on the Sevillian slave trade and a focus is developed on the purchase, use, and treatment of slaves by artists. The tasks carried out by slaves ranged from domestic duties to menial workshop tasks and on occasions they even sold artworks on the street. Key areas examined are the guild’s regulation on the use of slaves, the manumission of slaves, and the opportunities open to freed slaves to continuepracticing the artistic skills they had learnt. Besides the renowned example of Juan de Pareja, the slave trained and then freed by Velázquez, other cases of artists’ slave ownership are discussed and reference is made to Pacheco, Cano, Martínez Montañés, and Murillo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-140
Number of pages18
JournalArt in Translation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Artists’ workshops
  • Golden Age Spain
  • Guild regulations
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Seville
  • Slavery


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