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1675 - 1700. Oil on canvas. On display elsewhere

This canvas by a late 17th-century painter is part of a group of four works, all at the Museo del Prado (P191, P3196, P3197 and P3198), that express the idea of the Elements through motives drawn from classical mythology. The image that embodies Fire might be taken for Jupiter, given his handful of lightening bolts and the shining star that accompanies him. However, it is more likely to be Prometheus, who has just stolen one of the Sun’s rays. His beardless and youthful appearance certainly does not belong to Jupiter, and the salamander at his feet is not related to the father of the gods, either. In fact, this reptile is a well-known embodiment of fire and is often present in allusions to that element. The canvas´s warm quality and relaxed technique are tied to the tradition of Rizi-Carreño and also reveal a clear familiarity with Rubens.

This important series has never received critical attention, yet it is especially interesting as an example of the artistic situation in circles close to the Madrid court during the final years of the 17th century. They reflect much of Carreño’s approach through Claudio Coello and Ruiz de la Iglesia, with clear but already distant echoes of Venetian and Flemish painting, and even knowledge of Luca Giordano, whose works are known to have been at the Madrid court since at least the late sixteen-fifties. These four works cannot be confidently attributed to any known artist and there are even some differences among them. The Air is attributed to Giordano, while the other three are always listed as anonymous, without mention of their school or possible circle.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Carreño, Rizi, Herrera y la pintura madrileña de su tiempo, Madrid, Ministerio de Cultura. Banco Herrero, 1986, p.350

Technical data

Related artworks

Oil on canvas, 1675 - 1700
Oil on canvas, 1675 - 1700
Oil on canvas, 1675 - 1700
Inventory number
1675 - 1700
Height: 246 cm.; Width: 106 cm.
Serie Alegorías de los Cuatro Elementos
Royal Collection (colección Felipe V, Quinta del duque del Arco, El Pardo-Madrid, cuarta pieza sala de invierno, 1745, [no. 64]; Quinta del duque del Arco, pieza cuarta, 1794, no. 70)

Bibliography +

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 814.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Carreño, Rizi, Herrera y la pintura madrileña de su tiempo, Ministerio de Cultura. Banco Herrero, Madrid, 1986, pp. 350.

Magariños, A., Las Raices de Todas las Cosas : Exposicion con Motivo del Di, Ministerio de Obras Publicas, Madrid, 1989, pp. 18.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Quesada, Luis, Luz y lumbre en la pintura española, Fundación Sevillana de Electricidad, Sevilla, 1992, pp. 74.

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, Madrid, 2004, pp. 493.

Hijo del Laocconte: Alonso Berruguete y la Antigüedad pagana., Secretaría General Técnica, Subdirección General d..., 2017, pp. n.1.

Other inventories +

Inv. Felipe V, Quinta duque del Arco, 1745. Núm. [64].
Quarta Pieza Sala de Ynvierno [...] [63-66] Quatro quadros de tres varas de largo por vara y tercia de ancho de los quatro elementos sus marcos dorados=

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Quinta duque del Arco, 1794. Núm. 70.
Pieza quarta [...] [4764] 70 / Otro [quadro] de tres varas de alto y una y tercia de ancho: representa el Elemento del fuego: en .... 200

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 1166.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1166.
Anónimo. / 1166. El fuego. / Simbolizado en Prometeo, que acaba de hurtar al sol uno de sus rayos. /</br>Alto 8 pies, 8 pulg; ancho 3 pies, 8 pulg, 6 lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 615.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1972. Núm. 3198.

Inscriptions +

Nº 3198 (2 veces)
Inscribed with chalk. Stretcher

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

Front, lower left corner

Etiqueta repintada
Scrap of paper. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed. Back, lower right area

1166 (2 veces, una invertida)
Inscribed. Stretcher

Inscribed in pen and ink. Frame, back, left side bar

Cartela moldurada: 3198 / ANONIMO MADRILEÑO / FINES del SIGLO XVII / EL FUEGO
Frame, front, lower bar

Etiqueta: M.N.PRADO / M00475
Inscribed in golden colour. Frame, back, lower bar

Etiqueta: Retirado del instituto de / Badajoz en Marzo de 1968.
Inscribed in black. Stretcher

M.N.PRADO / 03198
On metallic tablet. Stretcher

Nº 3198
Scrap of paper. Stretcher


Exhibitions +

Hijo del Laocoonte. Alonso Berruguete y la Antigüedad
04.07.2017 - 05.11.2017

Exposición sobre el Medio Ambiente
06.06.1989 - 30.06.1989

Location +

Madrid - Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales (Deposit)

Update date: 05-01-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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