This famous surname is Spanish, but of Basque origins. Recorded in a number of forms including de Belasco, Belasco, de Velasco, Velasco, Vazquez, Velazquez, and the Portugese Vasquez and Vaz, the surname was thought originally to have been a nickname. However the presence in many early recordings of the preposition "de" meaning of or from, suggests a locational origin, and gives a meaning perhaps of the place of the crows. Whether a nickname or a placename the surname has developed from the ancient word of the pre 7th century words "vela or bela" meaning a crow, with the additional diminutive of "-sko" meaning little, and as a nickname presumably described somebody who was thought to have the characteristics of the often fierce bird. Medieval humour throughout Europe was both coarse and robust, so it is quite possible that the original meaning may have been something quite different from the modern translation, even the total reverse! This surname it can be arguably said at least in England, to be famous not just for the one artist, Diego da Silva Velasquez, but even for just one painting by the artist, the famous Velasquez nude, known as the Rokeby Venus painted in 1658 shortly before his death in 1660. However in Europe this is far from the truth, his work being known throughout the continent. The early surname recordings taken from surviving Spanish church registers include examples such as Barbra de Velasco of Soba, Santander, on April 27th 1547, and Antonio de Belasco of Valladolid, on January 14th 1562.
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