Dead Cock, Gabriël Metsu. Oil on panel, 57 x 40 cm. ca. 1659-1660.

The arrival of the Bourbon dynasty coincided with the new century and a shift in artistic taste. Philip V and Isabella Farnese, both enthusiastic collectors, brought with them an interest in the Flemish and Dutch cabinet paintings that were greatly in vogue at other European courts. As a consequence, a large group of Flemish paintings entered the Spanish collections, as well as a smaller number of Dutch ones, which subsequent Bourbon monarchs continued to acquire.

The exhibition includes a selection of the Dutch paintings acquired by successive Spanish Bourbon monarchs. The group includes all the genres typical of Dutch painting: marine views, winter landscapes, genre scenes, still lifes, hunting and battle scenes, and history paintings.

Falling into the latter category is Rembrandt’s painting of Judith at the Banquet of Holofernes (previously known as Artemisia), which was acquired by Charles III. It is one of the masterpieces of the Prado’s collection and the only work in Spain by the great Dutch master whose attribution is universally accepted by experts.

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