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Gladiators at a Banquet
Lanfranco, Giovanni di Stefano
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Lanfranco, Giovanni di Stefano

Terenzo, Parma, 1582 - Rome, 1647

Lanfranco, Giovanni di Stefano See author's file

Gladiators at a Banquet

Ca. 1638. Oil on canvas Not on display

Giovanni Lanfranco painted at least six works that can be related to the commission to decorate the Buen Retiro Palace. The first five are at the Museo del Prado -Auspices in Rome (P236); The Allocution of a Roman Emperor, (P2943); Funeral Rites for a Roman Emperor (P234); Gladiators at a Banquet and Roman Naumachia (P235)- while the sixth, Triumph of a Roman Emperor with two Captive Kings, belongs to Patrimonio Nacional (Inv. 100113395).

The number and importance of the works he made for the History of Rome series make Lanfranco the most favored by that commission. Indeed, alongside Ribera, he was the most admired by the VI Count of Monterrey and Spanish Viceroy to Naples between 1631 and 1637, Manuel de Fonseca y Zúñiga.

It is not easy the establish the chronology of these works, but the starting point is information provided by Lanfranco himself on December 10, 1637 in a letter to Ferrante Carlo. There he mentions a second commission by Monterrery for two new works, has he had already concluded a previous one for a number of works that he does not specify in that letter. Eric Schleier has offered the most convincing interpretation of this letter, suggesting that the three smallest works -Auspices in Rome, Roman Naumachia and Triumph of a Roman Emperor- probably correspond to the initial commission. Their less-sketchy character has always been considered an argument in favor of this suggestion. Moreover, there is no doubt at all that the figure pulling on a ram at the left edge of Auspices was reused by Lanfranco in Sampson and the Lion (Bologna, Pinacoteca Nazionale), which dates from 1635-1636. That, and the hurried technique shared by both works, with firmly constructed anatomies and tense musculature defined by violent shading, allows us to proposed 1635 as the approximate date for the present work, as well as the Naumachia and the Triumph.

The greatest difficulties arise with the other three paintings, which are almost certainly later. Schleier noticed that the back of one of the preparatory drawings for the Funeral Rites has a study for the figure of God the Father present in the enormous Annunciation at the church of the Agustinas Descalzas in Salamanca, which was founded by Monterrey and concluded around 1635 or 1636. Those same dates could therefore be proposed for the Naumachia as well. Lanfranco’s approach to these works must have been similar to that employed in other contemporaneous commissions, beginning with a meticulous study of the figures. There are at least nine extant drawings related to these works, with complete figures and anatomical details. The best-documented canvas is Auspices in Rome, for which there are six surviving drawings, almost all related to the gladiators fighting in the foreground. It is very difficult to specify what artists influenced Lanfranco. Poussin has been named repeatedly, and his influence is clearest in Lanfranco’s earlier works. Rubens should also be mentioned.

In recent decades, efforts have been made to establish the existence of a series of paintings related to the History of Rome -including the present work- that Philip IV’s representatives would have commissioned in that city and in Naples around 1634 for the Buen Retiro Palace. Today, twenty-eight extant works can be related to this project (most in the Museo del Prado or Patrimonio Nacional), along with another six mentioned in Charles II’s will but now lost or destroyed. This total of thirty-four paintings constitutes the largest group from the Retiro, including the Hall of Realms. The only larger group consists of mythological scenes that the king’s brother, Cardinal-Infante don Fernando, commissioned Rubens to paint for the Torre de la Parada. The size of the Roman group is the first indication of its importance in the new palace (Text drawn from Úbeda de los Cobos, A. in: El Palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2005, pp. 169-170; 206-209).

Technical data

Related artworks

Elephants in a Circus
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1640
Roman Athletes
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Roman Soldiers in the Circus
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Lupercalia
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1635
Two Wrestlers
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1637
Funeral Rites for a Roman Emperor
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1636
Roman Naumachia
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1635
Sacrifice for a Roman Emperor
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Vespasian’s Triumphal Entry in Rome
Oil on canvas, 1636 - 1638
Constantine’s Triumphal Entry in Rome
Oil on canvas, 1636 - 1638
Inventory number
P003091
Author
Lanfranco, Giovanni di Stefano
Title
Gladiators at a Banquet
Date
Ca. 1638
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimension
Height: 232 cm.; Width: 355 cm.
Series
Historia de Roma Antigua, Palacio del Buen Retiro
Provenance
Royal Collection (Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid, 1701, no. 278; New Royal Palace, Madrid, "paso de tribuna y trascuartos", 1772, no. 278; New Royal Palace, Madrid, "antecámara de las señoras infantas", 1794, no. 278; Royal Palace, Madrid, "pieza de entrada para la habitación de la reina de Etruria que esta de blanco", 1814-1818, no. 278).

Bibliography +

Inventario Palacio Nuevo, [s.n], Madrid, 1794, pp. nº13947(378).

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España: en que se da noticia de las cosas mas apreciables, y dignas de saberse, que hay en ella, VI, Atlas, Madrid, 1794; ed. facs. 1972, pp. 36.

López Jiménez, José Crisanto, Una tabla leonardesca en Murcia, Archivo español de arte y arqueología, 32, 1959, pp. 325-326.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del S. XVII en España, Universidad Fundación Valdecilla, Madrid, 1965, pp. 159.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Principales adquisiciones de los últimos diez años: 1958-1968, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1969.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del siglo XVII: exposición conmemorativa del ciento cincuenta aniversario de la fundación del Museo del Prado, Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, Madrid, 1970, pp. 336.

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

Painting in Naples 1606-1705: from Caravaggio to Giordano, Royal Academy of ArtWeidenfeld and Nicolson, Londres, 1982, pp. 188-189.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 358-359.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura napolitana: de Caravaggio a Giordano, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 204/ lám.79.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Philip IV and the Golden House of the Buen Retiro in the Tradition of Caesar, Garland PublishingInc., Nueva York, 1986, pp. 250/ lám.975.

Brown, Jonathan, Velázquez: pintor y cortesano, Alianza Editorial, Madrid, 1986, pp. 91/ lám.105.

Fernandez Miranda y Lozana, Fernando, Inventarios Reales Carlos III 1789-1790, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1988, pp. 48.

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

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Madrid, 1994.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Madrid, 1994, pp. 317.

Borea, Evelina, L'idea del bello: viaggio per Roma nel seicento con Giovan P, Edizioni de Luca, Roma, 2000.

Brown, Jonathan, Un palacio para el rey: el Buen Retiro y la corte de Felipe de Felipe IV, Taurus, Madrid, 2003, pp. 129/ lám.66.

Úbeda de los Cobos, A., El ciclo de la Historia de Roma antigua, En: El Palacio del Rey Planeta, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2005, pp. 169-189.

Úbeda de los Cobos, A., El Palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2005, pp. 206-209.

Obras maestras del patrimonio de la universidad de Granada, Universidad de Granada, Granada, 2006, pp. 253-276.

Quintana Calamita, Enrique, 'La limpieza de los gladiadores en un banquete de Giovanni Lanfranco del Museo del Prado' en In sapientia libertas : escritos en homenaje al profesor Alf..., Museo Nacional del Prado: Fundac, Madrid, 2007, pp. 315.

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.

Marshall, Christopher R., Baroque Naples and the industry of painting, Yale University Press,, 2016, pp. 227-228.

Other inventories +

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos II, Buen Retiro, 1701-1703. Núm. [278].
[278] Una Pinttura de quattro Uaras menos quartta de largo y dos y media de alto de la Zena del rey Midas Con los gladiatores Con marco tallado y dorado original del Cauallero lanfranqui tassada en Zien doblones ... 6.000

Inv. Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1772. Núm. 278.
Paso de Tribuna y Trascuartos [...] {12704} 278 / =Retiro= Otro [quadro] que contiene varios gladiatore luchando y en el principal vna mesa con figuras y varios premios de quatro varas de largo y tres de caida original de Lanfranc

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1794. Núm. 278.
Antecamara de las Sªs. Ynfantas [...] {422} 278 / Quatro varas y tercia de largo y tres menos quarta de alto: varios Personages á una mesa y gladiatores riñendo. Lanfranco ... 50.000

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. 278.
Pieza de entrada para la habitación de la Reina de Etruria que esta de blanco [...] {21681} 278 / Cinco varas de largo tres de alto, un combite de los romanos con gladiatores = Lanfranco

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 1114.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1114.
Lanfranco / 1114. Combate a muerte de gladiadores durante un banquete de patricios. / Cuadro de costumbres romanas en tiempo de algunos emperadores. / Alto 8 pies, 4 pulg; ancho 12 pies, 9 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 282.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1972. Núm. 3091.

Exhibitions +

Intercambio con Patrimonio Nacional
Aranjuez
11.02.2008 - 01.06.2008

El palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro
Madrid
06.07.2005 - 30.10.2005

Displayed objects +

Sword

Glasses and Goblets: Copas de vidrio

Update date: 25-07-2019 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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