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Elisabeth of Valois holding a portrait of Philip II
Anguissola, Sofonisba (Attributed to)
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Anguissola, Sofonisba (Attributed to)

Elisabeth of Valois holding a portrait of Philip II

1561 - 1565. Oil on canvas, 206 x 123 cm.

Isabel de Valois (1546–1568) married Philip II on 27 June 1559 in a ceremony by proxy held in Paris. Isabel was daughter of the French monarchs Henri II and Catherine de’ Medici. Her arrival at the Spanish court coincided with a particularly important period for the consolidation of the Spanish portrait; during her brief time on Spanish soil painters such as Antonis Mor, Alonso Sánchez Coello and Jorge de la Rúa (Georges von Straeten) among others were active in this genre. Another portraitist was Sofonisba Anguissola, a notable woman artist born and trained in Cremona. She was a pupil of Bernardino Campi and Bernardino Gatti and consequently developed a style characterised by soft modelling and restrained outlines, with a particular interest in a detailed representation of reality. Nonetheless, Sofonisba Anguissola arrived in Spain as a lady-in-waiting to the young queen and not as a painter, despite the fact that she gave Isabel de Valois drawing and painting lessons. During her time at the Spanish court from 1559 to 1573 she executed various portraits of the royal family that have only been identified in recent years as knowledge of court portraiture has increased.The present example from the Prado is now attributed to her following earlier attributions to Alonso Sánchez Coello or a copy by Juan Pantoja de la Cruz of a lost work by her or Sánchez Coello. As Campbell has previously noted, the composition derives from a portrait of the Empress Elizabeth of Portugal, mother of Philip II, by Titian, but with iconographic and stylistic borrowings from Antonis Mor and his Spanish follower Alonso Sánchez Coello. As a result, it conforms to a type of family image and can therefore be associated with other Habsburg portraits of around the same period, including Philip II in half-Armour by Titian of 1551. Nonetheless, the most explicit reference to the king is the miniature oval portrait of Philip, inset with gold and precious stones, which is a version of Antonis Mor’s portrait of around 1557, painted to commemorate Philip’s victory over the French at the Battle of San Quintin. Isabel owned at least two cameos with miniatures of the king, one of them painted by Sánchez Coello. This may be the one seen in the present portrait, which she holds in the hand that rests next to a column, symbol of Hercules and of the Habsburgs and thus a direct and reiterative allusion to the dynastic line. Miniatures first appeared in portraits in Europe in the 15th -century but their inclusion became particularly widespread at the court of Philip II. In particular this device was used for female portraits and more specifically for the circle close to the monarch: his sister Juana, his third wife Isabel de Valois, and their daughter Clara Eugenia. Both Isabel and doña Juana played important roles and were delegated State responsibilities by the king, a fact that suggests a more complex interpretation for this portrait. It has been suggested that it might be connected with the meeting in Bayonne of Isabel and her mother Catherine de’Medici in 1565, which was intended to bring to an end Catherine’s tolerant attitude towards the Hugenots. If this were the case, the portrait would reinforce the idea of the king’s delegation of powers to Isabel de Valois, but the image nonetheless retains its significance as a testimony of affection and subordination and a proof of dependence and fidelity. ( Ruiz Gómez, L. en: El retrato del Renacimiento, Museo Nacional de Prado, 2008, p. 510 )

Technical data

Inventory number
P01031
Author
Anguissola, Sofonisba (Attributed to)
Title
Elisabeth of Valois holding a portrait of Philip II
Date
1561 - 1565
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimension
High/Height: 206 cm.; Width: 123 cm.
Provenance
Royal Collection (ingresa en el Museo en 1845 procedente de El Escorial)

Bibliography +

Lefort, Paul, La Peinture Espagnole, Librairies Imprimeries Reunies, París, 1893, pp. 131/lam. 42.

Dayot, Armand, Le Prado de Madrid, I, Editions Pierre Lafitte, Paris, 1914, pp. 99.

Beruete y Moret, Aureliano de1876-1922, Conferencias de arte, Estab.Tip. de Blass, Madrid, 1924, pp. 17-71.

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier, Los retratos de los Reyes de España, Omega, Barcelona, 1948, pp. 125.

Menéndez Pidal, Ramón, Historia de España, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1958, pp. 420,550, 677/lám. 447, 528.

Kusche, Maria, Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, Castalia, Madrid, 1964, pp. 193-194.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Breuer, Stephanie, Werke Sánchez Coello, [Uni Druck], Munich, 1984, pp. lám. 86.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 614-615.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Philip IV and the Golden House of the Buen Retiro in the Tradition of Caesar, Garland PublishingInc, Nueva York. Londres, 1986, pp. lám. 1158.

Alonso Sánchez Coello y el retrato en la corte de Felipe II, Museo del Prado, [Madrid], [1990], pp. 133.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Campbell, Lorne, Renaissance Portraits. European Portrait Painting in the 14t, Yale University Press, New Haven.Londres, 1990, pp. 219.

Perlingieri, I.S., Sofonisba Anguissola. The First Great Woman Artist of the Renaissance, Rizzoli, Nueva York, 1992, pp. 125/lám. 74.

Sofonisba Anguissola e le sue sorelle [textos: Mina Gregori., Leonardo Arte, Cremona, 1994, pp. 234.

Bettagno, Alessandro, El Museo del Prado, Fonds Mercator Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1996, pp. 223.

Las tierras y los hombres del rey: Felipe II, un monarca y su época, Sociedad Estatal Commemoracion de Los Centenarios de Felipe II y Carlos V, Madrid, 1998, pp. 197.

Brown, Jonathan, Painting in Spain 1500-1700, Yale University Press, Yale, 1998, pp. 51/lám. 70.

Checa Cremades, Fernando., Carlos V. Retratos de Familia., Sec Felipe II Carlos V, Madrid, 2000, pp. 193-206 [202].

El linaje del emperador, Sociedad Estatal para la Conmemoración de los Centenarios de Felipe II y Carlos V, Madrid, 2000, pp. 368.

Humfrey, Peter, Giovanni Battista Moroni. Renaissance Portraitist., Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 2000, pp. 50/lám. 32.

Museo Nacional del Prado, El Greco y la pintura española del Renacimiento: guía, Museo del PradoAldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 174.

Kusche, Maria, Retratos y retratadores: Alonso Sanchez Coello y sus competidores, Fundación de Apoyo a la Historia del Arte Hispánico, Madrid, 2003, pp. 215.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, En nombre del Rey 'El retrato de Juana de Austria' del Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Buletina, 6.II, 2007, pp. 85-123 [114].

El retrato del Renacimiento, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2008, pp. 402-403.

Édouard, Sylvène, Le corps d' une reine : histoire singulière d' Élisabeth de..., Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2009.

Torre Fazio, Julia de la, El retrato español en miniatura bajo los reinados de Felipe II y Felipe III, Universidad de Málaga, Servicio de Publicaciones, Málaga, 2010, pp. 69, 107 fg.46.

Bodart, Diane H., Pouvoirs du portrait : sous les Habsbourg d' Espagne, CTHS Editions, 2011.

Sebastián Lozano, Jorge, Sofonisba Anguissola. Una mirada femenina en la corte. En: Maestros en la sombra, Fundación Amigos Museo del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 185-206 [198-200].

Édouard, Sylvène, 'Isabel de Valois, hispanizada en la corte de Felipe II' En: Vestir a la española en las cortes europeas (siglos XVI y XVII), II, CEEH, Madrid, 2014, pp. 237-266 [250 f.9].

Arbeteta, Leticia, 'La joyería en España y Europa en la época de Cervantes' En:, La moda española en el Siglo de Oro., Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha. Fundación Cultura y Deporte, 2015, pp. 133-155 [141].

Gamberini, Cecilia, 'Sofonisba Anguissola at the Court of Philip II' En: Women artists in early modern Italy, Harvey Miller / Brepols,, 2016, pp. 29-38 [31-32 f.2 nt.5].

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 2936.
2936. Id. de Dª Maria ana de Austria en trage de viuda. Carreño. / Alto 7 pies, 6 pulg; ancho 4 pies, 6 pulg

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 925.
925.-(" -C)-Retrato de la Reina Doña Isabel de Valois, ó de la Paz, en pié, con saya negra de cuello alto y mangas perdidas, jubon interior de raso blanco vareteado de oro, y muchas joyas. Tiene la mano derecha apoyada en la basa de la columna, y en ella un medallon con el retrato de su marido Felipe II.-Figura de cuerpo entero y tamaño natural.-Su autenticidad ofrece dudas. / Decoraba el ant.Alc. y Pal. de Madrid cuando ocurrió el incendio de 1734./ Alto 2,05; ancho 1,23.-L.

Exhibitions +

Meta-painting. A Journey to the Idea of Art
15.11.2016 - 19.02.2017

Location +

Room 055 (On Display)

Expuesto
Update date: 31-05-2017 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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