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Cavalry Combat
Wouwerman, Philips
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Wouwerman, Philips

Haarlem, 1619 - Haarlem, 1668

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Cavalry Combat

1650 - 1655. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

The main scene occupies the foreground, though it is no longer set in the plane closest to the viewer as in the previous period, but slightly further back. As a result, the figures are smaller in size. The horizon line is also lower, affording the sky greater prominence. Furthermore, although the composition is still partly enclosed in the background by a diagonal, it extends into the distance on the left side. At the same time, the rigid arrangement of the space on the basis of horizontal planes of colour has been replaced by an atmospheric perspective that blends light and colours, creating a sensation of spatial continuity. These horizontal planes are now connected by a series of secondary scenes that enliven the painting as a whole. All these features infuse the composition with greater depth. As for the colour, although for the main scene and the foreground landscape the artist uses the same palette of greyish-browns and yellows, broken only by small touches of red and the white of the falling horse, the green of the tree that borders the composition on the right and, above all, the delicate blue of the sky, perceptible through dramatic masses of cloud, foreshadow the delicate tones of Wouwerman`s mature style.

As is usually the case with Wouwerman, although seemingly natural, the figures are grouped together in a carefully studied manner. Here they still follow the tradition of the Haarlem school. The circular arrangement that allows the horse to be depicted from various sides in a dynamic manner is commonly found in the works of Esaias van de Velde (1587-1630) and his followers. Wouwerman employs it in a few other battle scenes, such as Battle between Christians and Turks (St Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum, inv. 838), although here the circle is more open and the dynamism more pronounced. On the other hand, the figures and animals are more refined but still recall Van Laer in certain features, such as the white horse that falls to the ground while its rider hastily flees.

Schumacher is of the opinion that these battle scenes, with complex compositions, were the young painter`s calling card: through them he showed himself to be a continuer of the tradition of Van de Velde and Van Laer and, at the same time, the leading painter of battle scenes of the Haarlem school, for which he secured a reputation in the seventeenth century (Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, p. 319).


Technical data

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Museo del Prado, vista de una de las salas
Albumen on photographic paper, 1915 - 1930
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Inventory number
Wouwerman, Philips
Cavalry Combat
1650 - 1655
Height: 49 cm; Width: 54 cm
Royal Collection (colección Felipe V, Palacio de La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia, 1727; col. Felipe V, La Granja, 1746, nº 156; Palacio de Aranjuez, Madrid, gabinete contiguo a los retretes, 1794, nº 156; Palacio Real, Madrid, habitación del infante don Carlos-sexta pieza, 1814-1818, nº 156).

Bibliography +

Hofstede de Groot, C. (Cornelis) (1863-1930), A catalogue raisonné of the works of the most eminent dutch..., II, Macmillan and Co, Londres, 1908, pp. nº753.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Valdivieso, Enrique, Pintura Holandesa del siglo XVII en españa, Universidad, Valladolid, 1973, pp. 405.

Noticias. Levantamiento definitivo de depósitos, Boletín del Museo del Prado, X, 28, 1989, pp. 125.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. n.1541.

Duparc, Frederik J., Philips Wouverman, 1619-1668, Oud Holland, 1993, pp. 257-286.

Aterido Fernández, Ángel; Martínez Cuesta, Juan; Pérez Preciado, José Juan, Colecciones de pinturas de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio. Inventarios Reales, II, Fundación de Apoyo de la Historia del Arte Hispánico, Madrid, 2004, pp. 489.

Schumacher, Birgit, Philips Wouwerman (1619-1668). The horse painter of the Golden Age, Davaco, Doornspijk, 2006, pp. n. A241 Lám.223.

Luna, J. J., Guerra y pintura en las colecciones del Museo del Prado. S. XVI a Goya, Arte en tiempos de guerra Jornadas de Arte (14º.2008.Madrid), 2009.

Philips Wouverman (1619-1668), Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, Zwolle, 2009.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado.Catálogo razonado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, pp. 162-163.

Other inventories +

Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, 1834. Núm. 151.
SALÓN 1º / ESCUELA HOLANDESA [...] Ciento cincuenta y uno. Choque de Caballería / de J.Wowermano / Lº / 10120

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1541.
F. Wouwermans / 1541. Choque de caballeria e infanteria. / En el parage de la escaramuza se ve un comboy incendiado. / Alto 1 pie, 9 pulg; ancho 1 pie, 11 pulg, 6 lin.

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, 1746. Núm. 156.
Otra Pintura origl en Lienzo, de mano de Bobermans, que reptª una Batalla donde ày muchos Soldados tirandose Pistoletazos, y en el medio un Cauallo blanco caydo con el Ginete, y un Muchacho huiendo à un lado de èl. Tiene una tercia, y diez dedos de alto; otra y quince de ancho. Marco dorado, bronceado, Tallado de medio relieve ... 1

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Aranjuez, 1794. Núm. 156.
Gavinete Contiguo a los retretes [...] {144} 156 / Dos pies de largo y uno y medio de alto. Batalla con Soldados tirandose Pistoletazos. Bouwermans ... 2.500

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. 156.
Habitación del Señor Infante Don Carlos [...] Sexta pieza [...] {21873} 156 / tres quartas en quadro batalla de soldados de caballeria y uno caido

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1836.
1836.-(1541-N.)-Choque de caballería é infantería, y un convoy incendiado. / Col. de Felipe V, Pal. de San Ildef. / Alto 0,49; ancho 0,55.-L.

Inscriptions +

Cross of Burgundy or Cross of Saint Andrew, collection’s mark belonging to Felipe V. Front, lower right corner

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

Lo.No. 156. / Choque de Caballería / 3a. Wouverman
Inscribed in golden colour. Stretcher, lower bar, on the right

Inscribed. Stretcher

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed with ballpoint. Stretcher

Inscribed with chalk. Back, right side

Inscribed in pen and ink. Stretcher

PHILS · [anagrama] W
Signed. Front, lower right corner

Displayed objects +



Update date: 18-02-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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