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Allegory of Fame
Castillo, José del
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Castillo, José del

Madrid (Spain), 1737 - Madrid (Spain), 1793

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Allegory of Fame

Ca. 1775. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

This singular composition, which can be dated 1775, was painted at the height of the 18th century, although, in aesthetic terms, the Baroque was already in decline as it entered its final phase. Its decorative conception echoes the refinement of the rococo, although it draws much of its material from the anaglyphic repertory of the mature Renaissance—conveniently polished—when artists were recovering motives from the Roman ornamental tradition. Consequently, this work makes multiple references to the variegated world of upholstery, whose different schools and periods are manifest in both the decorative borders and the central areas of the canvases.

The main subject is a cherub riding a goose across a shelf with egg-shaped garlands on its edge. These appear to be of stone, although, theoretically, they are floating in the air. Judging by the bird and the other elements in this painting, the amusing figure must be quite small. Nude, with a pair of wings, he holds a long natural trumpet in his right hand and waves a laurel wreath or crown with his left. Both of these items are linked to the traditional iconography of fame, making this image an abstract allegory of that quality. Besides the curious couple described above—a lively little winged creature and his white, web-footed mount, whose impassive demeanor seems almost heraldic—numerous other elements are arranged in front of the deep-blue background. These are customary ornaments in Western civilization, such as scrolls, ribbons, tendrils, arabesques, leaves, a bouquet at the top, and two garlands at the base.

The compositional scheme reveals the ease with which Castillo imagines light, agreeable decorations, embellishments and other details to obtain a decorous, coherent, harmonious and well-structured whole. It belongs to a series of six works with different subjects but similar conception that represent, Painting, Architecture, Arithmetic, Music and Astronomy, as well as the present allegory of Fame. The details of these six pieces indicate that, as was to be expected, they were all painted for the same purpose. In fact, they were cartoons for the Royal Tapestry Factory of Santa Bárbara in Madrid, where they were to be reproduced as tapestries for the Princess of Asturias’s cabinet at the Royal Palace of El Pardo (Text from Luna, J. J.: El bodegón español en el Prado. De Van der Hamen a Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2008, p. 130).


Technical data

Inventory number
Castillo, José del
Allegory of Fame
Ca. 1775
Height: 112.5 cm; Width: 110 cm
Gabinete de la Princesa de Asturias, Palacio Real de El Pardo
Real Fábrica de Tapices de Santa Bárbara, Madrid; Royal Palace, in the mid-nineteenth century XIX; Prado Museum, 1870.

Bibliography +

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (III). Nuevas Adquisiciones. Museo Iconográfico. Tapices., Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996, pp. nº 5579 (Inv. cart. tapices).

Morales y Marín, J.L., ''José del Castillo. Cartones para tapiz'' en: I Congreso Internacional Pintura Española. Siglo XVIII, Marbella, Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo, 1998, pp. 613 y ss..

Luna, Juan J., El bodegón español en el Prado: de Van der Hamen a Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2008, pp. 130-131.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Las aves en el Museo del Prado, SEO/BirdLife, 2010, pp. 195,222.

Other inventories +

Inv. Cartones para Tapices. Núm. 5579.
[José del Castillo] 5579 [Nº del Inventario moderno] 40 [Id. Antiguo] / id id id La Fama

Inscriptions +

7349 [dos veces]
Scrap of paper. Frame, back, lower bar

M.N.PRADO / 07349
On metallic tablet. Stretcher

Inscribed in red color. Front, lower right corner

Exhibitions +

El bodegón español en el Prado
24.03.2011 - 26.06.2011

El bodegón español en el Prado
11.03.2010 - 06.06.2010

El bodegón español en el Prado
12.10.2009 - 14.02.2010

El bodegón español en el Prado
25.06.2009 - 20.09.2009

El bodegón español en el Prado
31.03.2009 - 31.05.2009

El bodegón español en el Prado
24.09.2008 - 30.11.2008

Displayed objects +

Trompet, Natural: Amorcillo con trompeta natural. Este instrumento musical es un aerófono con embocadura de boquilla, tubo cilíndrico en su mayor parte, que se abre en campana. La longitud del tubo determina su tonalidad base, a partir de la cual suenan los armónicos naturales. Los sonidos son modificados por la vibración de los labios del tañedor (Proyecto Iconografía Musical, U.C.M.).
La trompeta se usó en casi todos los pueblos de la Antigüedad y más tarde en Oriente, antes de generalizarse en el mundo cristiano aproximadamente a partir del siglo XIII. Es también un instrumento heráldico (Proyecto Iconografía Musical, UCM)

Update date: 18-01-2023 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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