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Transcript of Episode 28: No Foolin’

Welcome back to Art History for All! I’m Allyson Healey.

When was the last time you noticed that something was designed to be accessible? An accessible parking space, perhaps, or a button to open a door, or a warning ahead of a movie that it  contains scenes with flashing lights? Maybe you’ve noticed museums hosting particular tours or visiting hours for those with different sensory needs, or online programs providing transcripts or sign language interpreters. Maybe you haven’t noticed anything like that in a long time–in which case, many would argue, accessible design is doing its job, elegantly and unobtrusively opening up the world for more people to live in it fully. People with disabilities or non-normative bodies or minds have fought and continue to fight for these kinds of accommodations, most famously with sit-ins beginning in the 1970s and the famous “Capitol Crawl” protest in the 1990s. But even though the disability justice movement has only gained considerable visibility in the last fifty years or so, people with disabilities have been part of humanity, part of our world, throughout the entirety of history. For many centuries, most of the visual representations of disabled people framed their bodies and lives as disgusting or laughable, as warnings or lessons for able-bodied people. But occasionally, representations were neutral or even flattering. This is especially the case with the work of the painter Diego Velázquez.

         Velázquez was commissioned by Spanish King Philip IV to paint the fools and jesters living at his royal court, many of whom had disabilities, mental illnesses, or conditions like dwarfism. One of these fools was Don Juan de Calabazas, whose portrait by Velázquez hangs in the Cleveland Museum of Art, and it’s that painting–in which Calabazas stands, smiling, holding a pinwheel in one hand and a miniature portrait in the other–that I want to discuss in this episode. What is the background of this portrait? Why is Calabazas holding those particular attributes? And how does this representation of a person with disabilities fit with how we think about disability today? 

         As you might expect, the rest of this episode will contain some discussion of historical attitudes toward people with physical and/or intellectual disabilities, as well as historical attitudes toward neurodivergence and mental illness. A couple of quotes use historically specific language no longer considered acceptable for describing disabled people. I am not disabled, and in addition to scholarly research for this episode I listened to the audiobook edition of the stellar 2020 essay collection Disability Visibility, edited by Alice Wong, which I highly recommend for getting a sense of some of the broader issues and opinions circulating in the disabled community today. If you’re in more of an academic mood, scholarly journal Disability Studies Quarterly provides even more discussion of current and historical issues from a disability studies perspective, and recent issues are available to read at 

         Now, I encourage you to get comfortable–however that looks for you–and join me as I explore the history and context of Velázquez’s portrait of the jester Calabazas.


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A description of a portrait of the jester Calabazas, by Diego Velázquez, circa 1631-32. Oil on canvas, 175 cm or 5’8” tall and 106 cm or 4’5” wide. In the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, acquired via the Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund in 1965. This is a full-length portrait of Don Juan de Calabazas, dressed all in black, standing in front of a folding stool and looking at the viewer. His height in relation to the stool suggests he is of short stature, which is reinforced by the height at which the base of the pilaster in the background sits. Calabazas’s body is angled slightly to his right, his feet forming an almost 90 degree angle. His right hand is extended and holding a miniature portrait that is too small to really identify, though it appears to depict a woman. His left hand hangs at his side and holds a paper pinwheel attached to a long staff. He is dressed in the typical all-black Spanish court dress of the 17th century, with black shoes, black stockings on his thin legs, voluminous textured breeches, and a matching black doublet with slim sleeves, one of which appears to have some extra fabric hanging off of the elbow like a small cape. The white collar he wears with this doublet is simple and unembellished. His long face is framed by black hair cut in what we might call a bob, with short bangs brushing across the top of his forehead. He smiles, showing his teeth, and while his left eye is directed towards the viewer, his right eye is turned inward toward his nose. His skin is pale, without much rosiness in his cheeks, made paler by the contrast with his black clothes and the dark gray stone or plaster of the simple background behind him. The folding stool that gives a sense of scale is topped with brown leather attached to a wooden frame with gold-toned brass hardware. Hints of red, perhaps from an initial wash of color under the painting, peek through in the shadowed parts of the otherwise plain gray ledge, pilaster, wall, and floor of the space in which Calabazas stands.


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Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was born in the cosmopolitan city of Seville, Spain, in 1599. He began his artistic training as a child, and by the age of 18 was a member of the Seville artists’ guild. In 1621, Philip IV assumed the Spanish throne, and the following year Velázquez’s mentor Francisco Pacheco, to whose daughter Velázquez was married, encouraged the young painter to travel to Madrid, the seat of Philip’s court. Velázquez quickly gained favor with the new ruler, painting an equestrian portrait of him in 1623 and subsequently officially becoming painter to the king.[1] With the exclusive patronage and support of the king, Velázquez’s body of work was shaped by royal demands, but he was also freed from having to paint primarily religious subjects, as many other artists in Spain did. Royal patronage also allowed Velázquez to travel to Italy in 1629, where he was able to study and take inspiration from Italian masters and Roman sculpture.

Upon his return to Madrid in 1631, Velázquez was put to work, along with other Madrid painters, on decorating Philip IV’s new palace, the Buen Retiro, as well as the king’s hunting lodge, the Torre de la Parada. This mainly consisted of portraits of the king and his family, but there was one set of court portraits that stood out from the rest–portraits of the buffoons, jesters, and fools of the court, known as hombres de placer, or “men of pleasure.”[2] When we think of court jesters today, we probably think of the classic medieval jester dressed in bright colors with bells on his headdress and shoes, making silly jokes and maybe doing acrobatics. But the category of court jester or fool was much more complex than that. Throughout Europe, but perhaps most notably in Spain, there was a long tradition from the medieval period onward of intellectually and physically disabled people being employed or kept at royal courts as a source of amusement.[3] One such person in the court of Philip IV was Don Juan de Calabazas, also called Calabacillas, or “pumpkin-head”. We don’t know much about Calabazas–mostly we just know his other nicknames, like Calabacillas, or the Fool of Coria, or El Bizco, “the cross-eyed one.”[4] He originally served the cardinal-infante Ferdinand, Philip IV’s brother, until 1632, when he joined Philip’s court. We know from records that, once in the king’s service, he was given substantial gifts and allowances, such as a carriage, a mule, “liberal rations of meat and fish,” and a cut velvet suit, probably the one he wears in the Cleveland Museum portrait.[5] His exact age is not known, but he seems fairly young at the time of the Cleveland portrait. Velázquez painted him once more after this, between 1635 and 1638, seated on the ground next to several gourds, in reference to his nickname.[6] By the time of this second portrait, which is in the collection of the Prado Museum in Madrid, Calabazas had grown out some facial hair and acquired a slightly more elaborate style of dress, including a larger lace collar and cuffs, which Spanish art historian Julián Gállego suggests are a further indicator of his high position at court.[7] Gállego also argues that the stool in the Cleveland portrait is another indicator of Calabazas’s high status, “since rigid court etiquette limited the number who were given the privilege of being seated.”[8] Even the only source from which we learn of Calabazas’s death makes reference to the many gifts bestowed upon him by the king: quote, “To Don Juan Calabazas were given during the ten months of the year 1639, until his death, twelve pairs of shoes made of cordwain with three-layer heels.”[9]  End quote. Twelve pairs of shoes are probably more than a lot of people buy over three years, let alone ten months.

Clearly, Calabazas was a highly valued member of Philip IV’s court. But why, exactly? As I mentioned before, intellectually and physically disabled people at the Spanish court acted as fools or jesters. In some cases, the entertainment they provided was fairly traditional by our modern standards. For instance, there is a record of Calabazas himself performing on a stage, “followed by dwarfs and masks,” at the Buen Retiro on New Year’s Eve 1636.[10]  Sometimes court fools participated in, or were made the objects of, practical jokes by courtiers, which produced the same cruel amusement that we get in the twenty-first century from the likes of Jackass and Punk’d. But beyond that, fools and jesters also had a long history of being a source of truth or critique regarding the monarch and his reign. This was most safely accomplished by people who were called “natural fools,” usually people we would recognize today as having intellectual disabilities, but sometimes also people with physical disabilities or mental illnesses. These natural fools were contrasted with “artificial fools,” usually abled people who were either simply witty, such as Henry VIII of England’s jester Will Sommers, or who adopted traits or personas based on those of natural fools.[11] What made natural fools special was that, depending on the theorist in the late medieval and early modern period, they were sometimes regarded as innocent or even holy: the Dutch philosopher Erasmus of Rotterdam expressed this at length in his 1511 text In Praise of Folly, in which a woman embodying the personification of Folly says, quote, “It is dangerous, indeed, to go to kings and powerful men and face them with the truth, but this danger turns to advantage for my fools, since even to their insults they listen with pleasure, and that same thing, which if expressed by a serious wise man would lead him to the gallows, when coming from the mouth of a happy fool, will produce extraordinary delight.”[12] End quote. Not all, but many, natural fools were considered to have access to a kind of divine wisdom or truth by virtue of their “foolishness,” whether that was mental illness, intellectual disability, or possibly neurodivergence. One explanation for this, from an English play from 1530 by John Heywood entitled A Play of Witty and Wyttles, compares the “natural fool” to the rational man, who gains access to Heaven as a result of his choices, whereas the natural fool’s very being is, quote, “constant, forever like that of an infant child; it cannot be altered, as he is incapable of rational choice.”[13] End quote. This type of infantilizing rhetoric served as part of the justification for maintaining the presence of people with disabilities and differences at court, even while other arguments, such as those made by Martin Luther, contended that disability and deformity were evidence of the devil’s work.

Calabazas’s specific experience at the Spanish court, and whether he was viewed purely as a source of entertainment, a truth-teller, or something else entirely, is difficult to determine without being able to delve deep into primary sources. One positive sign is that he and all his fellow fools painted by Velázquez were depicted with a similar level of dignity and gravitas to the portraits of the King and the royal family, something that is remarked upon by almost every art historical commentator who writes on their portraits. But within those dignified depictions are elements that illustrate how different the early modern idea of “the fool” was from how we view people with disabilities and non-normative bodies today. Calabazas’s pinwheel is a particularly good example of this. The paper pinwheel is a toy, yes, but it is also an allusion to madness. We see evidence of this association in a 1593 book by Italian emblem-maker Cesare Ripa called Iconologia, a sort of dictionary of how to decipher or assemble attributes within an image to create a recognizable metaphor or allegory. Ripa included in his Iconologia an emblem of madness, or pazzia, which consisted of an old man “riding a long staff and brandishing a child’s pinwheel, as if it were a sceptre [sic] or mace.”[14] Linguist Alvise Sforza Tarabochia connects this pinwheel and staff to the long history of depictions of jesters with staffs or maces, aligning foolishness—whether natural or artificial—with madness. Drawing on other linguistic and historical evidence, such as the frequent depiction of jester’s staffs with bladders on the end, like medieval whoopee cushions, Sforza Tarabochia also connects the jester’s staff and the madman’s pinwheel with the element of air: invisible, ephemeral, constantly mobile, and, according to medieval and early modern medicine, the vector of disease. Velazquez was probably aware of Ripa’s Iconologia and the connection between pinwheels and madness, thanks to both his artistic training in Spain and his time in Rome. He was also probably aware of how this connection was expressed on a different scale in Cervantes’s novel Don Quixote, the first part of which was published in 1605 and famously featured Don Quixote, in his madness, misinterpreting windmills, which are basically huge pinwheels, as giants. Thus, by placing a pinwheel in Calabazas’s hand, Velazquez aligns him not just with foolishness, but with insanity.

Now this is the tricky thing—we do not actually know for certain whether Calabazas would today be considered quote-unquote “insane” or intellectually disabled. A number of articles from the Journal of the American Medical Association have over the years tried to diagnose Calabazas with a variety of different conditions based on the visual evidence in Velazquez’s portraits. These have included cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus plus spina bifida, and poliomyelitis.[15] An article from the British Journal of Psychiatry mentions that some people claim Calabazas was autistic, but dismisses this in favor of, quote, “infantile hypothyroidism, resulting in growth retardation and intellectual disability.”[16] End quote. It seems pretty silly to try and diagnose intellectual conditions or neurodivergence with only a painting, but this is what many medical professionals have tried to do with Velazquez’s images of court fools, with or without additional primary source evidence. Their rationale for doing this is unclear: it could be professional curiosity, it could be an attempt to flesh out the history of medicine, or it could be an attempt to show off their diagnostic prowess. But does it ultimately matter whether we diagnose someone with hypothyroidism or cerebral palsy when that person has been dead for centuries? I don’t think it does–all it really does is put the person in question in a box and limit how we can view and understand them. This is an unintended consequence of the medical model of disability, as opposed to the social model of disability. As the organization Art Beyond Sight’s Disability and Inclusion webpage[17] explains, the medical model of disability is about diagnosing and curing disabilities to bring the disabled individual as close to quote-unquote “normal” as possible. The social model, on the other hand, takes the focus off of the individual and instead looks at “systemic barriers, negative attitudes and exclusion by society…as contributory factors in disabling people.” Where the medical model views disability as an individual problem to be solved, the social model, quote, “promotes the notion that while physical, sensory, intellectual, or psychological variations may cause individual functional limitation or impairments, these do not have to lead to disability unless society fails to take account of and include people regardless of their individual differences.”[18] End quote. Focusing so narrowly on diagnosing Calabazas and his fellow fools is beside the point. Looking at the society and environment in which they lived and moved, the structures that defined their societal roles, gives modern audiences a far better sense of their lives and personhood than trying to stamp them with a diagnosis. 

We don’t know, and we probably never will know, whether Calabazas was mentally ill, intellectually impaired, neurodivergent, or neurotypical, or what specific type of physical condition he had. But we can understand that the structures under which he lived saw his body and mind as atypical and thus limited him to a specific social role. These structures were both culturally and legally defined, as we can see in the case of Calabazas’s contemporary, the playwright Juan Ruiz de Alarcón. Ruiz de Alarcón, born in Mexico, or, at the time, “New Spain,” eventually moved to Spain proper and became one of the most successful playwrights of the age by 1625.[19] He had severe malformations of the spine, chest, and legs, and while these traits were no barrier to his success in the theater, they did prevent him from obtaining a job in New Spain’s appeals court system. This was not just because of Spanish cultural mores of the time, although scholar Gloria B. Clark does emphasize that early modern Spain was preoccupied with the concept of lo ideal, or spiritual and bodily perfection.[20] Requirements for bodily perfection were also written into guides for courtiers and government officials, such as the following excerpts from a 1559 manual by Fadrique Furió Ceriol:


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“The fourth quality that demonstrates the competence of the counsellor regarding the body is natural proportion, correspondence, and compliance of the limbs, of which there should be neither lack nor excess; either of these defects reveal very bad signs of the soul, and what is more, offend the eye of the beholder.”

“…the integrity of the parts means that a man should not to be born lacking any of them, that means, to be born one-eyed, hunchbacked, lame, without an arm or foot or leg, or marked by the lack or excess of matter, because those who are so born always have ten thousand shortcomings in reason, habits, and lifestyle.”[21]


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The guidelines set out by manuals like Furió Ceriol’s seem to have been taken to heart by the administrators who systematically rejected Ruiz de Alarcón’s applications to work in the appeals court system over the course of 12 years. In their eyes, Ruiz de Alarcón’s quote-unquote “bodily defect” did not convey the authority befitting such an office.[22]  They eventually did grant him a position as a judicial clerk, which was still a good job, but that seemed to be the limit of what they would allow him, in part because it didn’t require face-to-face interaction.[23]  It was appropriate for Ruiz de Alarcón to be a playwright and to cross verbal swords with fellow writers in satirical poetry battles, but he could not be the physical embodiment of the authority of the Spanish crown in the New World. The only limit to Ruiz de Alarcón’s achievements essentially came down to an “image problem.”

Despite Ruiz de Alarcón and Calabazas both being relatively successful in their respective roles as author and fool (I assume you don’t give your fool twelve pairs of shoes if he’s not successful at fooling) it was the governmental and social systems in which they lived that prevented them from success beyond those roles, not anything intrinsic to their bodies or minds. 

Long after Calabazas’s death, the representation of his body still served as a site of debate and fascination for the able-bodied world. Eventually the portrait was accessioned into a private collection, where at some point some “restoration” work was done on it. This restoration work, as curator Henry S. Francis noted when the painting was acquired by the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1965, was more than just your run-of-the-mill inpainting and cleaning. Prior to the accession, a number of experts disagreed on whether the portrait was even painted by Velázquez himself, due to some inconsistencies with Spanish court inventories as well as brushstrokes that seemed atypical of Velázquez’s style.[24] Upon cleaning the painting, the Cleveland Museum apparently found repainting in places that previous critics had not detected, resulting in changes that, quote, “radically affected the character of the countenance.”[25] End quote. The repainting in question focused on Calabazas’s right eye and legs, changing the crossed eye’s direction and adding width to his otherwise spindly calves. Essentially, the repainter “corrected” or “cured” Calabazas’s differences. 

Calabazas’s portrait is hardly the first time a painting has been “corrected” by later repainting, but it is the only one I know of where that correction was directed specifically at the subject’s physical difference. There are plenty of examples of repainting to satisfy the social mores of a particular period–Michelangelo’s Last Judgment was famously altered after his death to clothe its many nude figures. John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Madame X was altered by Sargent himself after it was first shown to restore a hanging shoulder strap that was just too sexy for nineteenth century Paris. In 1978, the National Gallery in London discovered that a sixteenth century painting by Palma Vecchio had been altered in the nineteenth century to change the subject’s jawline, eyes, and blonde hair, and to conceal her prominent nipples.[26] These changes seem to have been morally motivated–the original painting of a woman looking sidelong out of a window, may have been intended to depict a sex worker, an unacceptable subject to hang in a public gallery in Victorian Britain. But we can’t really assign a moral motivation to the changes made to Calabazas’s portrait. The choice may have been aesthetic, with either the owner or the restorer deciding that Calabazas’s eye and legs were ugly, and could not bear the idea of hanging a portrait with those qualities. But surely anyone who bought this painting would have known Velazquez’s history as a painter of court fools with physical differences, so why be so petty as to change the image purely for aesthetics? Perhaps the motivation was more deeply ingrained–the time between the painting’s creation and its accession into the Cleveland Museum was rife with dubious science about human bodies and attempts to establish hierarchies of human perfection, culminating in the pseudoscience of eugenics. Ruth von Bernuth discusses what this meant for “natural fools” in a 2006 article for Disability Studies Quarterly, noting that interest in the natural fool shifted around the end of the eighteenth century, when intellectual disability became an issue examined by the medical community. At the same time, the idea of the “homme moyen,” or “average man,” developed alongside the application of statistics. As von Bernuth says, quote, “Every deviance like natural folly was, from this point on, only measured in reference to their distance from the homme moyen…. There was no longer a gap between natural fools as part of the singular standing class of monstrous individuals and mentally ill people. In being adopted into the class of men, monstrous individuals lost their exceptional status that was related to divine messages in medieval and renaissance time…. Instead, natural folly was perceived as a malady.”[27] End quote.

The emergence of the medical model of disability, and the classification of certain types of physical and mental difference as unnatural deviations from an invented “norm,” created a climate in which it was deemed better to hide people with such differences or confine them rather than carve out a role for them or find ways for the world to accommodate them. It is likely within this climate that alterations to the painted Calabazas’s legs and eyes were made. Von Bernuth also writes about mid-19th century German theories of “orthopedagogy,” an early form of special education, and how they attempted to address what their authors termed “endemic idiotism,” their term for natural folly or intellectual disability. “Endemic idiocy” was alleged to have a degenerative effect on a population, to be “a chronic disease of the community that may be cured.”[28] This emphasis on intellectual disability as a problem that needs fixing, or curing, is just what the social model of disability tries to push back against. Author Liz Moore, who is chronically ill and neurodivergent, writes about the problems of seeking cures in the following excerpts from their essay “I’m Tired of Chasing a Cure,” which is included in the essay collection Disability Visibility

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“There’s a persistent belief amongst abled people that a cure is what disabled people should want. To abandon our disabled selves and bodies and assimilate into a, perhaps unachievable, abled skin…. For many, the social model can be liberating. By locating the cause of our problems outside our bodies, we can begin to love ourselves again. Tackling systemic ableism may feel like tilting at windmills, but it is still easier to address than some kind of failing within ourselves. There is a criticism of the social model of disability, located in the idea that some disabled people may want a cure. Particularly with matters like chronic pain, chronic illness, a cure is seen as something that can itself be liberating, a way to simply be in one’s body without feeling pain, for example. There is a danger in the cure mentality, as it can be a slippery slope toward eugenics, when it is applied by abled people…. Sometimes it comes down to how we see our individual disabilities. Are they an intrinsic part of who we are? Or are they an identity that comes with a side of agony we would gladly give up? How do we feel when abled people start advocating for cures, which may come in the form of eliminating our people entirely, rather than when the desire for a cure comes from disabled advocates?”

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Moore goes on to discuss their own journey seeking diagnoses and cures for their chronic illness and pain, talking about the persistent rhetoric they encountered from many people about how they should want to be cured and all the things they should try in order to be cured. “What I want to try is acceptance,” Moore writes at the end of their essay. “The price is simply too high to live chasing cures, because in doing so, I’m missing living my life,” they add. The medical model of disability places such emphasis on curing or fixing disability that it denies the person with the disability the chance to just live. In a way, the person who widened Calabazas’s legs and straightened his eye denied the way he lived his life in favor of presenting a more quote-unquote “normal” body. The Cleveland Museum’s removal of that overpainting is an acknowledgment that Calabazas did not move through and interact with the world as many of us do, that his life was uniquely shaped by how the world viewed his body and, consequently, his mind. 

Velázquez’s portrait of Calabazas in the Cleveland Museum, and the context in which it was made, forces us to reinvestigate what we believe about physical and mental difference. It prompts us to reconsider the longstanding narratives that frame difference and disability as individual problems to be dealt with, rather than traits that nobody tried to design compatible systems for. It is hard not to wish we knew more about Calabazas and how others at the Spanish court perceived him and his role as a fool. Were his “foolish” traits considered a blessing, a way of innocently speaking truth to power and challenging assumptions, or simply laughable? Perhaps a combination of the two? Were the lavish gifts bestowed upon him by the king seen as deserved and right, or a frivolous waste? Whom did he befriend, love, tolerate, or even despise? Was the woman in the miniature he holds a real person he held affection for, or an ideal he is implied to be chasing? Velázquez’s portrait as we are able to understand it today lives in uncertainty, associating Calabazas with both dignity and frivolity, with personal loyalty, as implied by the portrait miniature, and mental inconstancy, as implied by his pinwheel. Calabazas the person floats somewhere amid these ideas and archetypes–and perhaps it’s appropriate for his role as a fool that Calabazas should be so hard to define, forever tricking, misdirecting, and playing with those who view his portrait.

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Thank you so much for listening to Art History for All. You can find a transcript of this podcast, with links to images and citations, at Please follow, rate, and review Art History for All wherever you like to listen to podcasts, and follow me on Twitter and Instagram at arthistory4all, with the number 4. If you really, really like the podcast, please feel free to leave a tip on Ko-Fi at This podcast was produced and narrated by Allyson Healey, and the theme was composed by Bruce Healey. Credits for other music can be found in the episode description or at the end of the transcript. New episodes come out every month. Thanks so much for listening, and remember to look closely—you never know what you might see.

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Additional Music Credits:

Valse Gymnopedie by Kevin MacLeod




Floating Cities by Kevin MacLeod



[1] Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E.  “Velázquez and His Art,” in Domínguez Ortiz, Antonio, Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, and Julián Gállego. Velázquez. 30-32. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989.

[2] Ibid., 42.

[3] Roncero López, Victoriano, “The Court Jester in 16th and 17th Century Spain: History, Painting, and Literature,” trans. Esther Cadahía, South Atlantic Review 72, no. 1 (2007): 93.

[4] Julián Gállego, essay for Pl. 26, in Domínguez Ortiz, Antonio, Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, and Julián Gállego. Velázquez. 201. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989.

[5] Ibid.

[6] “The Buffoon Calabacillas – The Collection – Museo Nacional Del Prado,” accessed November 2, 2021,

[7] Gállego, essay for Pl. 26.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Francis, Henry S. “Velazquez: Portrait of the Jester Calabazas.” The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 52, no. 9 (1965): 122. Accessed August 2, 2021.

[10] Roncero López, “Court Jester,” 101.

[11] McDonagh, Patrick. Idiocy: A Cultural History. Liverpool University Press, 2008. 137. Accessed July 15, 2021.

[12] Erasmus, 1511, Quoted in Roncero López, “Court Jester,” 103

[13] McDonagh, 138.

[14] Sforza Tarabochia, Alvise. “The Staff of Madness: the Visualization of Insanity and the Othering of the Insane.” History of Psychiatry, vol. 32, no. 2, 1 Jun. 2021, pp. 181.

[15] Fried, Ralph I. “Calabazas: Court Jester to Philip IV of Spain,” JAMA 196, no. 9 (May 30, 1966): 85-86,

[16] Barrett, Miriam. “Diego Velazquez (1599–1660). Portrait of Juan Calabazas (Calabacillas) (1637–9),” The British Journal of Psychiatry 193, no. 2 (August 2008): 95–95,



[19] García Piñar, Pablo. “The Optics of Bodily Deviance: Juan Ruiz de Alarcón’s Path to Public Office.” In Exceptional Bodies in Early Modern Culture: Concepts of Monstrosity Before the Advent of the Normal, ed. Maja Bondestam, 86. Amsterdam University Press, 2020.

[20] Clark, Gloria Bodtorf. “Juan Ruiz De Alarcón: Impairment as Empowerment in Early Modern Spain.” Hispania 99, no. 1 (2016): 103-04. Accessed July 15, 2021.

[21] Quoted in García Piñar, 90-91.

[22] García Piñar, 87.

[23] Ibid., 100.

[24] Francis, 119-120.

[25] Francis, 121.

[26] Nethersole, Scott. “Woman at a Window.” The National Gallery. Accessed August 2, 2021.

[27] Von Bernuth, Ruth. “From Marvels of Nature to Inmates of Asylums: Imaginations of Natural Folly,” Disability Studies Quarterly 26, no. 2 (Spring 2006).

[28] Von Bernuth.