"A fascinating description of Diego Velázquez and his mythological paintings is an excellent read.

Karla Darocas has done it again. She knows how to keep her audience interested by presenting us with new themes and insights. In this case, you might think that the painter Diego Velázquez (1599-1660), who is so well known, and his world-famous painting Las Meninas (1656), which has been described so many times, that this is all we need to know about him. However, this new book by Karla sheds light on a subject that has not really been explored by others.

The book shows us Velázquez as a cultured man who was interested in disciplines such as ancient philosophy, astronomy, anatomy and sculpture. We find the result of his studies in beautiful and well-described paintings such as 'Mars' and 'Vulcan's Forge'. 

Karla explains where and how Velázquez found inspiration, whether in his early days in Seville or during his first years in Madrid, during his travels to Italy and in his later years in Madrid.

A detailed (cultural) historical context at the time, such as events and descriptions of the court and government/economy of King Felipe IV make the book a must for art historians. The mention of a variety of mythical figures such as Mercury and Argus or the Slave, Aesop and others gives an insight into the wealth of knowledge Velázquez gathered during his life. 

With this book in hand, the reader will experience a new world of 17th century art in Spain, Italy and Europe as it was known at the time. 

I highly recommend the well-written chapters, which are illustrated with beautiful colour photographs of dozens of Velázquez's paintings as well as works of art that certainly inspired the man. 

Karla's often witty personal comments will appeal to students of art history and encourage them to form their own opinions."  

- Trudi van Dorp, Cumbre del Sol, Spain

ART TALK * The Multiverse of Velázquez

"I found this art talk very interesting. I did not know that artists were not considered important and were considered craftsmen. I loved how Velásquez put the king and queen he was painting in the mirror and in the distance of the viewer and put all the less important people in the foreground - the artist, the princess, the dwarfs, the "meninas", as if to say that they were just as important as the king and queen and played an important role in the Spanish court. 

I learned that there was a lot going on in the painting - the man in the door held the door open, the little male dwarf tapped the dog and one of the meninas curtsied to the princess. All these actions suggest that they may all be leaving the room soon. Velásquez brilliantly creates a self-portrait by placing himself at the easel, which helps to highlight his importance as a court artist."

- Virgina, Javea


Karla's "Pride and Passion at the Prado" is an enchanting voyage through art and history. The book reveals the untold stories behind the captivating artwork, shedding light on both opulent and tumultuous times.

The narrative skilfully entwines the fates of individuals, highlighting the stark contrasts of their lives. Karla masterfully captures the resilience of Torrijos, buoyed by the encouragement of the Duke of Wellington, only to be tragically undone by a treacherous friend.

The book not only appeals to art enthusiasts but also provides a wealth of historical knowledge, generously peppered with dates that guide us through history's corridors. Karla's prose is a testament to her deep understanding of human nature and the intricate threads that connect the past to the present.

In conclusion, "Pride and Passion at the Prado" is a captivating blend of art and history, offering an informative and engaging read. I eagerly await Karla's next literary endeavour, confident that it will be as enlightening and delightful as this one.

Thank you.


"What a wonderful read, absolutely captivating and so much information written in a fabulously simple style. I just could not put the book down and feel the need to read it again. 

I love facts and history and really enjoy learning. Honestly, I found the whole life and adventures of Velázquez extremely interesting. What a fascinating man and such a wonderful artist. 

I love Karla's detailed explanations, the meanings of the paintings and her interpretations. 

I also love her first person style. For example, on page 26, when talking about St Bartholomew in Michelangelo's Last Judgement (1612, Sistine Chapel), she says: "If I look closely at the rectangular stone in the lower left corner of Velázquez's painting, a face appears." This makes the book very special, as if I were there looking at the painting and thinking about whose face it is. It's fun to speculate too. 

Honestly, I loved this book. It is so beautifully written and full of information that I really feel like I know and understand Velázquez and his paintings now!"

- D. Santiago - Jávea