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Marie Louise d’Orléans, Queen of Spain
García Hidalgo, José
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García Hidalgo, José

Villena, Alicante (Spain), 1645 - Madrid (Spain), 1717

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Marie Louise d’Orléans, Queen of Spain

Ca. 1679. Oil on canvas.
On display elsewhere

Marie Louise of Bourbon (1662–1689)—or d’Orléans, as she was the daughter of the Duke d’Orléans—is represented as the Queen of Spain. Forced to abandon depictions adhering to the conventions of French portraiture in Pierre Mignard’s circle, she is here presented according to the traditional line of Spanish court portraiture. The symbols that reveal the personality given to the sitter are few and subtle, but essential. The lace on the edge of her shirt is sewn into the form of a crown, which sits just above the jewel pinned to her chest. The jewel is made up of two famous gems from the Spanish crown: the diamond known as el Estanque (‘the pond’) and the pearl, hanging as a pendant, known as la Peregrina (‘the pilgrim’). In her right hand, she holds a red carnation, which could signify admiration for the consort, according to the symbolic language of flowers. It may also contain a semantic-philological play on words, referring to the latinised cultivated name of the flower, Coronaria, which may represent the princely nature of its bearer. In addition, the open carnation has a small bud, possibly alluding to the hope for perpetuating the dynasty. From a technical standpoint, the correct execution of the foreshortening outlined by the hand holding the carnation is remarkable. Nevertheless, besides that, it is characterised by the harshness of the representation of the features and details. This is typical of a person devoted to the cultivation of drawing, progressively moving away from the postulates of Coello or Carreño. This trend may be noticed by comparing it with other examples of portraits of the queen, like the one by the latter, preserved in the monastery of Guadalupe.

It is curious to note how, through the previous portraits of the royal consort of Charles II, her facial features are preserved in the basis of her iconography. However, upon closer inspection, she seems to resemble her husband more and more through a curious phenomenon of androgyny. Even though Mademoiselle d’Orléans was never destined to be a great beauty, portraits from her reign show her with an increasingly larger nose, more protruding and languid eyes, a more drooping lower lip, and a more protruding chin with a dimple like that of her uncle Louis XIV of France. Nevertheless, this gradual assimilation to a masculine image is a portrait device employed since the time of the Habsburgs. It was used to emphasise belonging to a lineage or to legitimise the sitter through the male perspective; in this case, the husband. This symbiosis is not only perceivable in the overlapping of her and her husband’s identities, but also, to a certain extent, in the image of her successor in the wedding bed, Maria Anna of Neuburg (1667–1740). After the death of Queen Maria Luisa of Spain, Charles II, King of Spain, married Maria Anna, Princess of the Palatinate. In her first portraits, she was obliged to adopt the style and iconography that coincided with those of her predecessor, including marital androgyny.

This work is closely related to the full-length portrait of the queen in the Museo del Prado (P7190). In this painting, the queen holds a bouquet of roses in her right hand, which is in a foreshortened position practically identical to that of this portrait. However, the full-length portrait seems to be of better quality than the one analysed here. Despite this, it also has a certain stiffness that seems to come from the replica of an unknown pre-existing portrait. It should also be noted that the full-length effigy is almost identical to another of Maria Anna of Neuburg, owned by Patrimonio Nacional (Spanish National Heritage) and kept in the monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial. It was created to form a pendant with the portrait of Charles II in armour painted by Carreño. Furthermore, the intention was to place it in the Quadra del Mediodía of the Monastery. The work is attributed to Claudio Coello, although it has close similarities with the workmanship of Jan van Kessel II. These commonalities reveal the importance of the models and iconographic elements established in royal portraiture. So much so that they were interchanged between successive queens.

Sánchez del Peral y López, J. R., La reina María Luisa de Orleans (h. 1679). En: Ruiz Gómez, L.: El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2006, p.108, n. 29


Technical data

Related artworks

La reina María Luisa, con rosas en la mano derecha
Oil on canvas, Second half of the XVII century
Inventory number
García Hidalgo, José
Marie Louise d’Orléans, Queen of Spain
Ca. 1679
Height: 96 cm; Width: 68 cm
Royal Collection (¿Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, pinturas que estaban en el Guardarropas, 1747, nº 890?; ¿Palacio del Buen Retiro, Madrid, cuarto del infante don Javier, 1772, nº 890?; Buen Retiro, 1794, nº 670).

Bibliography +

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

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 238.

Stêpánek, Pavel, Un retrato de María Luisa de Orleans, de José García Hidalgo, en el Prado, Boletín del Museo del Prado, VI, 1985, pp. 33-35.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, II, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1991, pp. nº2113.

Lopez de Prado Nistal, Covadonga, Maria Luisa de Orleans, Una Reina Efimera, Xunta de Galicia, Coruña, 2003, pp. 18.

Sánchez del Peral y López, J. R., La reina María Luisa de Orleans (h. 1679). En: Ruiz Gómez, L.: El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2006, pp. 108, n. 29.

Pascual Chenel, Álvaro, El retrato de Estado durante el reinado de Carlos II. Imagen y propaganda, Fundación Universitaria Española, Madrid, 2010, pp. 568-9, cat. MO 3.

Thépaut-Cabasset, Corinne, 'Maria Luisa de Orléans reina de España' En: Vestir a la española en las cortes europeas (siglos XVI y XVII), II, CEEH, Madrid, 2014, pp. 267-292 [279 f.11].

Marco García, Victor, Pintura barroca en Valencia, 1600-1737, CEEH, Centro de Estudios de Europa Hispánica, Madrid, 2021, pp. 395 nº 45.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 2113.
Copia de Carreño / 2113. Retrato de la esposa de Carlos 2º / Alto 3 pies, 5 pulg; ancho 2 pies, 5 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 692a.

Inv. Felipe V, Palacio Nuevo, 1747. Núm. ¿890?.
PINTURAS EXISTENTES ANTIGUAS [...] Pinturas que estaban en el Oficio de la Guard. y se han pasado a este [de la Furriera] donde quedan en dos piezas a la mano derecha del Salon Principal [...] {10873} 890 / Otro retrato de la señora reyna primera muger del señor Carlos segundo de vara y quarta de alto y vara de ancho trescientos reales

Inv. Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1772. Núm. ¿890?.
Quarto del Ynfante Don Xavier [...] {14536} 890 / Otro retrato de una Reyna francesa muger de Carlos segundo mas de vara de alto poco menos de ancho = Claudio Coello

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1794. Núm. 670.
Otra [pintura], con el retrato de medio cuerpo de una muger, de vara y media quarta de alto, y tres quartas de ancho, marco dorado...120

Exhibitions +

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

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

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

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

El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya
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

María Luisa de Orleans. Una reina efímera
La Coruña
12.11.2003 - 31.01.2004

Location +

Játiva - Museo del Almudín (Deposit)

Displayed objects +



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

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