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Gladiators Fighting
Workshop of Lanfranco, Giovanni di Stefano
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Workshop of Lanfranco, Giovanni di Stefano

Terenzo, Parma, 1582 - Rome, 1647

Lanfranco, Giovanni di Stefano See author's file

Gladiators Fighting

XVII century. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

This work belongs to a group from the History of Rome series for the Buen Retiro Palace. Dedicated to depictions of Roman public pastimes, the group includes athletes, gladiators, chariots, animal fights, mock sea battles and so on. Following initial doubts, the Buen Retiro Palace was conceived as a place of leisure, where it would be possible to forget the worries associated with running the monarchy. This group of paintings probably sought a simple association of the palace’s leisure activities and those of Antiquity.

This may be the Gladiators’ Arena (no. 406, valued at 100 Doubloons) attributed to Paolo Domenico Finoglia in the Charles II’s will (1701), although that document lists considerably larger dimensions.

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; 176-177).

Technical data

Inventory number
Workshop of Lanfranco, Giovanni di Stefano
Gladiators Fighting
XVII century
Height: 182 cm; Width: 235 cm
Historia de Roma Antigua, Palacio del Buen Retiro
Royal Collection (Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid, 1794, no. 12; Royal Palace, Madrid, secretaría de Estado, 1814-1818, no. 12).

Bibliography +

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

Blunt, Anthony, The Paintings of Nicolas Poussin. A Critical Catalogue, Phaidon, Londres, 1966.

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

Thuillier, Jacques, La obra pictorica completa de Poussin, Noguer, Barcelona, 1973.

Browm, J., A Palace For a King. The Buen Retiro and the Court of Philip..., Yale University Press, New Haven, 1980, pp. 121.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Philip IV and the Golden House of the Buen Retiro in the Tradition of Caesar, Garland PublishingInc., Nueva York, 1986, pp. 304/ lám.1142.

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

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. 176-177.

Goeppert, S., Pablo Picasso. The Illustrated Books : Catalogue Raisonne, Patrick Cramer, Madrid, 2005, pp. 176-177.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1013.
Nicolás Poussin. / 1013. Combate de gladiadores para celebrar algún acontecimiento glorioso en tiempo de un emperador romano. / Este cuadro parece representar a primera vista el combate de los horacios y curiacios, que debía decidir la victoria entre los dos pueblos albano y romano; pero se opone a esta interpretación el ser siete los combatientes cuando en aquel hecho fueron solo seis. / Alto 6 pies, 6 pulg; ancho 8 pies, 5 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 1013.

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1794. Núm. 12.
{2375} 12 / Otra [pintura] de Nicolas Pusino de una Palestra de Gladiatores de tres varas menos quarta de largo y dos varas y quarta de alto con marco dorado ... 10.000

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. 12.
Secretaría de Estado [...] {22206} 12 / Tres varas de largo dos y tercia de alto funcion de gladiatores en que hay varios muertos y un senador en el trono = escuela del Pusino

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 2045.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1972. Núm. 2315.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 2315.

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

Update date: 29-06-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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