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Immaculate Conception
Cerezo, Mateo
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Cerezo, Mateo

Burgos (Spain), 1637 - Madrid (Spain), 1666

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Immaculate Conception

Ca. 1660. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

The Virgin’s facial type, the confident drawing and the forceful rendering of the spatial planes originally led this work to be attributed to Claudio Coello. But in 1986 more precise knowledge of the artistic personality of Mateo Cerezo led Rogelio Buendía and Ismael Gutiérrez Pastor to name him as its author. This attribution has been maintained and it rests on a comparison to signed works by Cerezo. Like many painters of his generation, he became a prolific author of Immaculate Conceptions after a papal bull from the 1660s definitively spurred this devotion. Among a dozen works on this subject linked to Mateo Cerezo, this one stands out as both the most variegated and dynamic. The Virgin and her widespread robes occupy much of the composition and the angels bearing symbols of the litanies add to its extreme density. And yet, this variegated presence does not weaken the composition’s dynamism, which is efficiently driven by both the Virgin’s robes and the great variety of the angels postures. There, Cerezo reveals his understanding of anatomy and his skills as a consummate colorist. These characteristics relate this work to paintings on subjects related to the Virgin Mary that Cerezo’s teacher, Juan Carreño de Miranda, began painting in the mid 1650s, and comparison of this work with important pieces by Carreño, such as the Bilbao Museum’s Assumption of the Virgin, helps to explain some of its main characteristics, such as the rendering of the Virgin’s robes or the manner in which the angels are depicted. But Cerezo eschews the tonal unity that characterizes Carreños works, preferring to play with chromatic variety and contrasts, especially in blues, reds and ivories. This work’s closeness to Carreño, and the fact that Cerezo’s Immaculate Conceptions changed in 1661, indicate that it was painted around 1660. Of the admirable collection of works by Mateo Cerezo at the Museo del Prado, this work serves to represent, with a piece of very high quality, one of the subjects that he most frequently explored in the final years of his short caree.

Technical data

Inventory number
Cerezo, Mateo
Immaculate Conception
Ca. 1660
Height: 211.5 cm; Width: 147.5 cm
Private collection, Sevilla; Collection of Plácido Arango Arias; Bequest of Plácido Arango Arias, 2015.

Bibliography +

Young, Eric, Una desconocida Inmaculada Concepción de Francisco de Zurbarán, Archivo español de arte, XLV/178, 1972, pp. 510.

Buendía, José Rogelio; Gutiérrez Pastor, Ismael, Vida y Obra del Pintor Mateo Cerezo, 1637-1666, Diputacion Provincial, Burgos, 1986, pp. 120-21.

Sullivan, Edward J., Claudio Coello y la pintura barroca madrileña, Nerea, Madrid, 1989, pp. 226.

Pérez Sánchez, A. E. en: Vallaure, M. (ed.), Una mirada singular. Pintura española de los siglos XVI al XIX, Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Oviedo, 2006, pp. 48.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Plácido Arango Arias. Donación de 25 obras maestras de su colección de arte antiguo al Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2015, pp. n. 18.

Portús Pérez, Javier, Mateo Cerezo. La Inmaculada Concepción, En: Donación de Plácido Arango Arias al Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2016, pp. 52-53 n.17.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Memoria de actividades 2015, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2016, pp. 62-63.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2906.

Exhibitions +

Special Display: Immaculate Conceptions
04.10.2016 - 26.02.2017

Update date: 06-10-2022 | Registry created on 24-08-2015

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