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Maria of Hungary
Leoni, Leone; Leoni, Pompeo
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Leoni, Leone
Arezzo, Tuscany, 1509 - Milan, 1590
Leoni, Pompeo
Milan, 1533 - Madrid, 1608

Maria of Hungary

1553 - 1564. Bronze.
Room del Claustro

Together with her brother Charles V, Mary of Hungary (1505–1558) was Leone Leoni’s most important patron at the imperial court. Leoni and Mary, governor of the Low Countries, met on three occasions: in Brussels in 1549, in Augsburg three years later, and again in Brussels in 1556.The present bronze, together with a further nine, full-length figures, was commissioned in 1549 for the dynastic gallery that Mary had devised for her palace at Binche. In fact, Leoni delayed the execution of the project until at least 1553 according to a letter of 28 December of that year from Ferrante Gonzaga to Charles V. Leoni referred to the commission again in a letter of 14 August 1555 in which he listed the statues that he was considering taking to Flanders.The present bronze was delivered to Mary in Brussels in 1556, two years after French troops had destroyed Binche, as a consequence of which it never occupied the position for which it was intended.That same year Mary moved to Spain where she died in Cigales near Valladolid in 1558. The sculptures followed her, accompanied by Pompeo Leoni, who moved to Madrid in 1556 in order to complete them, which explains the presence of his signature and the date of 1564 on the base. As in the case of the sculpture of Philip II and the bronze of the Empress Elizabeth that Leoni executed for Charles V (Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, E-274), the reference-point for the present work is the funerary monument of Maximilian I in the Hofkirche in Innsbruck, although Mary’s condition as widow (her husband Louis II of Hungary had died at the Battle of Mohacs in 1526) obliged the sculptor to restrain his tendency for busy decoration on the clothing.This proved beneficial to the present work from an artistic sense as Leoni focused on the folds of the gown and thus gave the sculpture a sense of dynamism lacking in the hieratic portraits of the Empress Elizabeth. Mary is depicted standing, dressed as a widow and with her joined hands holding a missal.The long ribbons of her headdress, tied at the back of her head and bearing a cross motif at each end, fall forwards in the manner of a stole. According to Mary’s biographer Nogarola (1553), she dressed in this way when going to church or when ‘si appresenta in maestà’. Titian also depicted her in this manner in 1548 (Paris, Musée des Arts Decoratifs). Leoni produced a preparatory terracotta bust for the present work, executed during his first meeting with Mary in Brussels in 1549, and which would also serve as the model for two further busts of this sitter, in marble (Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, E-262) and bronze (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. 5496), the latter made for Antoine Perrenot de Granvela. ( Falomir Faus, M.: El retrato del Renacimiento, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2008, p. 508)


Technical data

Inventory number
Leoni, Leone; Leoni, Pompeo
Maria of Hungary
1553 - 1564
Height: 175 cm; Width: 60 cm; Base/bottom: 70 cm
Royal Collection (Royal Casino, Madrid)

Bibliography +

Ceán Bermúdez, Juan Agustín, Diccionario historico de los mas ilustres profesores de las Bellas Artes en España, III, Imprenta de la Viuda de Ibarra, Madrid, 1800, pp. 24.

Zarco del Valle, M.R., Documentos inéditos para la Historia de las Bellas Artes en España, Madrid, 1870, pp. 268-271.

Vasari, Giorgio (1511-1574), Le Vite de Piu Eccellenti Pittori,Scultori Ed Architettori, VII, G.C.Sansoni, Florencia, 1873, pp. 537.

Plon, Eugene, Leone Leoni Sculpteur de Charles-Quint et Pompeo Leoni Sculp..., E.Plon, París, 1887, pp. 288,289.

Barrón, Eduardo, Catálogo de la escultura. Museo Nacional de Pintura y Escultura., Imprenta y fototipia J. Lacoste, Madrid, 1908, pp. 188-189, lám. LXXXI, n. 263.

Serrano Fatigati, E., Escultura en Madrid desde mediados del siglo XVI hasta nuestros días, Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones, XVII, 1909, pp. 143.

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier, Fuentes literarias para la historia del arte español, I, Junta para ampliación de estudios e investigaciones científicas, Madrid, 1923, pp. 294.

Venturi, Adolfo, Storia Dell'Arte Italiana. Vol. X. 3. Scultura del Cinquecen..., Ulrico Hoepli, Milán, 1937, pp. 420.

Inventarios reales : bienes muebles que pertenecieron a Felipe II, II, [s.n.], Madrid, 1956, pp. 188.

Mezzatesta, Michael P., Imperial themes in the sculpture of Leone Leoni, University Microfilms Internation, Londres, 1980, pp. 108-171.

Blanco, Antonio; Lorente, Manuel, Catálogo de la escultura. Museo del Prado, Patronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1981, pp. 190,191.

Pope-Hennessy, John, Italian Gothic Sculpture. An Introduction To Italian Sculptu..., Vintage Books, Nueva York, 1985.

Orso, Steven N., Philip IV and the decoration of the Alcazar of Madrid, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1986, pp. 157.

Boogert, Bob Van Den, Maria Van Hongarije 1505-1558. Koningin Tussen Keizers en Ku, Waanders Uitgevers, Utrech, 1993.

Los Leoni (1509-1608): escultores del Renacimiento italiano, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1994, pp. 124.

Neumann, M., Pompeo Leoni um 1530-1608 Ein italienischer Bildhauer am Hofe Phlipps II von Spanien (Tesis doctoral), Bonn, 1997, pp. 272,273.

Coppel, Rosario, Catálogo de la escultura de época moderna. Museo del Prado: siglos XVI-XVIII, Museo del Prado; Fundación Marcelino Botín, Madrid, 1998, pp. 88.

El retrato del Renacimiento, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2008, pp. 390-391.

Arias, Elena, Esculturas de Leone y Pompeo Leoni. Técnicas escultóricas sobre metal., Leone & Pompeo Leoni. Actas del congreso internacional, Madrid, 2012, pp. 160-172.

Cupperi, Walter, 'Leo faciebat' 'Leo et Pompeius fecerunt' autorialitá multipla e transculturalitá nei ritratti leoniani del Prado, Leone & Pompeo Leoni. Actas del congreso internacional, Madrid, 2012, pp. 66-84.

Estella Marcos, Margarita, Los Leoni al servicio de María de Hungría, Leone & Pompeo Leoni. Actas del congreso internacional, Madrid, 2012, pp. 56-65 [59-63].

Helmstutler Di Dio, K., 'Sculpted Diplomacy. State gifts of sculpture from Italy to Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries' En:, L'Arte del Dono. Scambi artistici e diplomazia tra Italia e Spagna, 1550-1650. Studi della Biblioteca Hertziana 8. Jornata di studi 14-15 enero 2008, Milan, 2013, pp. 51-65 [62].

Other inventories +

Inv. Felipe II, 1598-1607. Núm. 3689.
3689. Otra estatua de bulto, más que el natural, de la Reyna Maria de Ungria siendo viuda, de bronze, con las manos asidas y una chia echada al cuello, que baja hasta los pies; con peana de lo mismo, sobre peana de madera. Tasada en ochocientos ducados

Inv. Real Museo, Sección Escultura, 1857. Núm. 983.
983. Una estatua de bronce que representa a la Infanta Dº Margarita. / Procedente del Casino. / Alto 6 pies, 1 pulg.

Inscriptions +

Incised. Plinth

Signed and dated. Plinth

Exhibitions +

The Renaissance Portrait
03.06.2008 - 07.09.2008

María, reina de Hungría, regente de los Países Bajos
11.09.1993 - 28.11.1993

María, reina de Hungría, regente de los Países Bajos
11.09.1993 - 28.11.1993

Location +

Room del Claustro (On Display)

Displayed objects +


Update date: 10-05-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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