John Elliott



A journey to precarious Spain of 1950 changed the life of John Elliott, one of the key British hispanists. It changed it because he discovered the Prado Museum, and in it not just Las Meninas, but another great Velázquez painting: Equestrian Portrait of Count-Duke of Olivares. ‘Who was that majestic pyknic who appeared to have all the power in his hands?’, was perhaps the question Elliott asked himself, and to respond to it from comparative history he devoted a good part of a career that bore fruits like The Revolt of the Catalans, The Count-Duke of Olivares, and Olivares and Richelieu, which renewed the studies on the Spain of Philip IV from the root and helped, as few others, to dispel the clouds of historiography on the Spanish Black Legend. His interest in Olivares and the king drove his passion for Velázquez, which Elliott shared with Jonathan Brown in another title essential to revise historiography through collaboration between disciplines: A Palace for a King: The Buen Retiro and the Court of Phillip IV. Chair professor at Cambridge, Oxford, and Princeton, Elliott was a member of the Royal Academy of History and received the Prince of Asturias Award in 1996.

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