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Margarita Francisca, Daughter of Philip III, Infanta of Spain
Morán, Santiago
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Morán, Santiago

Madrid (Spain), 1571 - Valladolid (Spain), 1626

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Margarita Francisca, Daughter of Philip III, Infanta of Spain

Ca. 1610. Oil on canvas Not on display

The presence of portraits of children in the painting collections of the Spanish Austrians can be found all throughout the sixteenth century. In the 1570s this sub-genre became more highly developed at the hands of Alonso Sánchez Coello, who painted the daughters of Philip III on several occasions, creating images which, while they reflected the girls’ growth, observed all the formal stereotypes of rigid court-portraits. Even when elements of childhood were incorporated, they actually only served to announce the future roles of the girls within the dynasty.

During the reign of Philip III, the production of this type of works increased considerably. Numerous portraits of the large family of the monarch and his wife, Queen Margaret of Austria, were done almost as a matter of course. The fact that children often died quite young explains Margaret’s interest in having portraits done of her children even at such young ages.

In this example, one of the king’s last children, the Infanta Margarita Francisca, who would die at the age of seven (1610-1617), is portrayed at about the age of one, her hair pulled up into a topknot with a fetching curl and sitting on two scarlet cushions. The dark background, lacking any spatial elements that might distract the viewer, highlights the child’s bright face and clothing and, on it, all manner of amulets and charms. These last constitute an armory of defense against the ills and illnesses that beset young children of the time, not least the evil eye and evil spirits. It was, in fact, evil spirits, and ear infections, that the little bell hanging from a long chain was supposed to ward off; the same effect was hoped from the elaborate gold rattle she holds in her right hand. The other amulets and charms are a badger claw set in silver, a chestnut, a sphere or orb, a reliquary medallion, and a thick circle or ring with silver findings. These last three charms are of jet, a material which had been believed since antiquity to have magico-medicinal properties. It was used especially in Spain during the Middle Ages, when the jet-workers of Santiago fabricated amulets for pilgrims, and for centuries thereafter. In later times, it was used for children and women along with coral, the other protective element par excellence.

It was no doubt due to the influence of the queen that these portraits of a superstitious nature were so frequent during the reign of Philip III, a concession to popular beliefs that remained in the culture for centuries, as shown by the extraordinary Portrait of Prince Philip Prospero by Velázquez (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Gemäldegaleries) and one of Goya’s Caprichos, El de la Rollona, or The Nanny.

It was Pedro Beroqui who identified the sitter for this portrait as the Infanta Margarita Francisca when he compared this painting with a group of four children’s portraits considered to be by Pantoja de la Cruz that were found in 1636 in a chamber within the vaults of the Real Alcázar: her ladyship the Infanta Doña Margarita, seated on two scarlet cushions with a rattle in her hand. Pantoja was dead by the time this canvas was painted, which is why Allene-Salazar and Sánchez Cantón suggest Bartolomé González as its author, a hypothesis taken to be correct in the Prado catalogues though recently questioned by Lucía Valera, who found in the Palace Archives (Cuentas particulares, leg. 5.264) an account presented by Santiago Morán in 1613 and indicating a payment of 770 reales for a portrait of her ladyship Ynfanta doña Margarita with many amulets and charms and a bib and dressed in white silk seated upon scarlet cushions. This is especially interesting given that there are but few documentary references to this painter, and no portrait that can be conclusively attributed to him. In any case, the sequence of painters we have mentioned (Pantoja, González, and Morán) simply reflects the persistence of formulaic court-portraits, even in the case of the most private family pictures (Ruiz, L.: El Greco to Goya. Masterpieces from the Prado Museum, Museo de Arte de Ponce, 2012, pp. 122-123).

Technical data

Inventory number
P001282
Author
Morán, Santiago
Title
Margarita Francisca, Daughter of Philip III, Infanta of Spain
Date
Ca. 1610
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimension
Height: 100 cm.; Width: 72 cm.
Provenance
Royal Collection (Palacio de Aranjuez, Madrid, sexta pieza del cuarto del príncipe, 1818, nº 265).

Bibliography +

Allende-Salazar, J. Sánchez Cantón, F. J., Retratos del Museo del Prado: identificación y rectificaciones, Julio Cosano, Madrid, 1919, pp. 167-168.

Sánchez Cantón, F.J., Catálogo de las pinturas del Instituto de Valencia de Don Juan, Instituto de Valencia de Don Juan, Madrid, 1923, pp. 41.

Filgueira Valverde, J., El Museo de Pontevedra, Everest, León, 1987, pp. 27.

Orihuela, M., El ''Prado disperso''. Cuadros depositados en las provincias de La Coruña, Lugo, Orense y Pontevedra. Pontevedra. Museo, Boletín del Museo del Prado, 9, 1988, pp. 146.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. 756.

El linaje del emperador, Sociedad Estatal para la Conmemoración de los Cent, Madrid, 2000, pp. 336-337.

Ruiz Gómez, L., La infanta Margarita Francisca, hija de Felipe III (h. 1610). En: Ruiz Gómez, L.: El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2006, pp. 66, n. 12.

Ruíz Gómez, L., El retrato español en el Museo del Prado (1490-1800). En: Ruíz Gómez, L.; Barón, J. El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Sorolla, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2010, pp. 22, 23.

Del Greco a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado, Museo de Arte de Ponce. MNP. AC/E, 2012, pp. 56-57.

Cobo Delgado, Gemma, Retratos infantiles en el reinado de Felipe III y Margarita de Austria: entre el afecto y la política, Anuario del Departamento de Historia y Teoría del Arte, 25, 2013, pp. 23-42 [28-29 f.8].

Arbeteta, Leticia, 'La joyería en España y Europa en la época de Cervantes' En:, La moda española en el Siglo de Oro., Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha. Fundación Cultura y Deporte, 2015, pp. 133-155 [149].

Other inventories +

Inv. Fernando VII, Aranjuez, 1814-1818. Núm. 265.
QUARTO DEL PRINCIPE [...] Sexta pieza [...] {21065} 265 / retrato de vn niño vestido de blanco con golilla y cascabelero en la mano = Bartolome Gonzalez

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 2894.
2894. Retrato de una infanta. / Cuerpo entero, con un sonagero en la mano; estilo de Sánchez Coello. / Alto 3 pies, 7 pulg; ancho 2 pies, 7 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1873-1907. Núm. 1145v.

Exhibitions +

Los objetos hablan. Colecciones del Museo del Prado
Sevilla
01.10.2016 - 01.01.2017

Los objetos hablan. Colecciones del Museo del Prado
Valencia
01.06.2016 - 01.09.2016

Los objetos hablan. Colecciones del Museo del Prado
La Coruña
09.05.2016 - 29.05.2016

Los objetos hablan. Colecciones del Museo del Prado
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
15.10.2015 - 16.01.2016

Los objetos hablan. Colecciones del Museo del Prado
Cádiz
12.06.2015 - 20.09.2015

Los objetos hablan. Colecciones del Museo del Prado
Zaragoza
04.02.2015 - 17.05.2015

Los objetos hablan. Colecciones del Museo del Prado
Tarragona
17.09.2014 - 04.01.2015

Los objetos hablan. Colecciones del Museo del Prado
Lérida
14.02.2014 - 20.07.2014

Los objetos hablan. Colecciones del Museo del Prado
Gerona
23.10.2013 - 19.01.2014

From El Greco to Goya: Masterpieces from the Museo del Prado
Ponce, Puerto Rico
25.03.2012 - 16.07.2012

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Sorolla
01.10.2010 - 08.01.2011

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
Madrid
12.06.2007 - 02.09.2007

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
Bilbao
05.03.2007 - 20.05.2007

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
Alicante
12.12.2006 - 18.02.2007

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
Toledo
19.09.2006 - 26.11.2006

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
Salamanca
22.06.2006 - 21.08.2006

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
Santiago de Compostela
09.03.2006 - 14.05.2006

El linaje del Emperador
Cáceres
24.10.2000 - 08.01.2001

Location +

(Deposit)

Displayed objects +

Amulet

Update date: 21-06-2019 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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