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Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Lerma
Rubens, Peter Paul
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Rubens, Peter Paul

Siegen, Westphalia (Germany), 1577 - Antwerp (Belgium), 1640

Rubens, Peter Paul See author's file

Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Lerma

1603. Oil on canvas.
Room 028

Felipe III´s favorite, Francisco de Sandoval y Rojas, Marquis of Denia and First Duke of Lerma is shown as chief of the Spanish Armies. Wearing half armor, he rides a white steed and carries a ruler´s staff. The scallop of the Knights of Saint James at his neck is the only decorative element in this portrait, whose decidedly military orientation is reinforced by the cavalry battle in the background. Made in 1603, during Rubens´ first visit to Spain, this work shows the power and vigor of portraits from his first period, and his capacity to capture the model´s personality. Here he reflects the haughtiness and pride of the Duke´s powerful political situation. Basing his composition on Titian´s Portait of Carlos V in Mühlberg (P00410), Rubens depicts the duke facing forward, advancing toward the viewer. This creates a very Baroque effect, which is multiplied by the palm tree that frames the figure. With this painting, Rubens created a model for equestrian portraits that would prove very influential later on, especially in works by Van Dyck and Gaspar de Crayer. After the Duke of Lerma fell from grace, this painting entered the Royal Collection, but was later given to the Admiral of Castile by Felipe IV. It passed through the collections of several noblemen before it was acquired by the Prado Museum in 1969.


Technical data

Inventory number
Rubens, Peter Paul
Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Lerma
Height: 290.5 cm; Width: 207.5 cm
Collection of duque de Lerma; Royal Collection, 1635; gift of Felipe IV to almirante de Castilla; 1800, Marqués de Denia; 1878, casa del Duque de Medinaceli; 1909, collection of conde de Gavia, P.P. Capuchinos de Madrid, Museo, 1969.

Bibliography +

Renger, K., Rubens dedit dedicavitque; Rubens' Beschäftigung mit der Reproduktionsgraphik, JAHRBUCH DER BERLINER MUSEEN: JAHRBUCH DER PREUSSISCHEN KUNSTSAMMLUNGEN NEUE FOLGE, 16, 1974, pp. 122-175.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, Museo del Prado: catálogo de pintura: escuela flamenca, Museo del Prado. Patrimonio Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1975, pp. 311-313.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, Pedro Pablo Rubens (1577-1640): exposición homenaje, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General de Patrimonio, 1977, pp. 114-116.

Huemer, Frances, Portraits Painted in Foreign Countries en Corpus rubenianum, Arcade Press, Bruselas, 1977, pp. 132-135 n. 20.

Pescador del Hoyo, M.C, De como llegó al Prado el retrato del duque de Lerma, Goya: Revista de Arte, 201, 1987, pp. 148-151.

Vosters, Simon A., Rubens y España: estudio artístico-literario sobre la estética del Barroco, Cátedra, Madrid, 1990, pp. 40-49.

Vergara, Alejandro, Don Rodrigo Calderón y la introducción del arte de Rubens en España, ARCHIVO ESPAÑOL DE ARTE / ARCHIVO ESPAÑOL DE ARTE Y ARQUEOLOGIA, 67, 1994.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, El siglo de Rubens en el Museo del Prado : catálogo razonado, Prensa Iberica, Barcelona, 1995, pp. 1064-1066.

Vignau-Wilberg, T., Rubens' study in Munich for 'The Duke of Lerma on Hors, Master Drawings, 36, 1998.

Vergara, Alejandro, The Presence of Rubens in Spain. (Volumes i and II). Tesis D, A Bell & Howell Company, Ann Arbor, 1999, pp. 1-10.

Schroth, S., Re-Presenting Philip III and his Favorite: Changes in Court Portraiture 1598-1621, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XVIII, 2000, pp. 39-50.

Schroth, Sarah; Vergara, Alejandro y Vignau-Wilberg, Thea, Rubens: dibujos para el retrato ecuestre del Duque de Lerma, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2001.

Schroth, S., The Duke of Lerma's Palace in Madrid: a Reconstruction of the Original Setting for Chicago's State, Apollo, 154, 2001.

Logan, Anne Marie, Peter Paul Rubens the Drawings, Metropolitan Museum of D'Art, Nueva York, 2005, pp. 90.

Vitagliano, Maria A., Painting and poetry in early modern Spain: The primacy of Venetian colore in Gongora's Polyphemus and the Solitudes, Renaissance quarterly., LXVI n.3, 2013, pp. 904-936 [915 f.2].

Büttner, Nils., Rubens : Eine Biographie., Verlag Schnell & Steiner GmbH, 2015, pp. 43 f.13.

Martínez Plaza, P.J, El retrato en el coleccionismo burgués y nobiliario en Madrid durante el siglo XIX: Presencia, significados y narrativas, Potestas, 18, 2021, pp. 141-167 f.2.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1904.
Autor: Rubens / 1904. Asunto: retrato ecuestre del duque de Lerma. / Lienzo: 2,83 x 2,00 / Nº del catalogo: 3137 Adquirido por el patronato del Museo, en enero de 1969 a la orden de P.P. capuchinos de Madrid en 20.000.000 pts.

Inscriptions +

P.P. Rubens fecit 1603
Signed and dated. Front

Exhibitions +

06.06.2020 - 25.07.2021

05.11.2010 - 23.01.2011

The Loves of Mercury and Herse. A Tapestry Series by Willem de Pannemaker
01.06.2010 - 26.09.2010

El Greco to Velázquez: Art during the Reign of Philip III
Durham NC
22.08.2008 - 09.11.2008

El Greco to Velázquez: Art during the Reign of Philip III
13.04.2008 - 27.07.2008

Location +

Room 028 (On Display)

Update date: 26-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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