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Philip II
Workshop of Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
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Workshop of Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)

Pieve di Cadore, Belluno, Veneto (Italy), 1490 - Venice (Italy), 1576

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) See author's file

Philip II

1549 - 1550. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

Philip II (r. 1556-98) was Titian´s most important patron, and together they forged one of the most fruitful artistic relationships of the European Renaissance. Philip surpassed all of the Venetian painter´s previous patrons both in the number of commissions and in their variety. Unlike his father, Emperor Charles V (r. 1519-56), Philip was not satisfied with only portraits and devotional works; he also requested mythological scenes. The most important of Titian´s works in this genre were his poesie paintings, which constitute what may well be the most influential group of mythological paintings in Western art. They include Danaë (c.1553; Apsley House, London); Venus and Adonis (1554; Museo del Prado, P422); Perseus and Andromeda (c. 1554-56; Wallace Collection, London); Diana and Acteon (1556-59; National Gallery, London); Diana and Callisto (c.1556-59; National Gallery, London/National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh); and Europa (1559-62; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston). Many of these works were openly erotic, which may come as a surprise because of the stereotypical image of Philip II as a champion of the Counter-Reformation, and therefore divorced from any sensual pleasures. Yet religious zeal and the appreciation of erotic art were not incompatible for Philip, especially from his youth through the crisis of 1568, the year that witnessed the start of the Eighty Years´ War between Spain and the Netherlands. In fact, at the time of his death Philip possessed the largest and finest group of erotic paintings in Europe, including outstanding works by Correggio and Titian. Philip kept these works at the Alcazar Palace, the royal family´s official residence in Madrid, and while we do not know their exact location therein, they must have hung on the ground floor, in rooms adjacent to the gardens, following the example set by Francis I of France (r. 1515-47) in the baths at his château in Fontainebleau

Titian and Philip II met on two separate occasions: in Milan in 1548-49 and Augsburg in 1550-51. During those years, Philip was still crown prince, and he posed for the artist in both instances. These meetings resulted in two portraits: the present three-quarter likeness that shows Philip wearing a rich, ermine-lined cape, his hand resting on a table and the other clutching a sword, and another, full-length depiction in which he wears armor. In contrast to the latter image, which celebrates Philip´s military prowess, this portrait evokes a subtle dignity and regal bearing. The Italian writer Pietro Aretino (1492-1556) celebrated the portrait in a sonnet, praising the prince´s profound gaze and majestic air. Titian executed both portraits for the prince himself, but the artist subsequently made replicas for family members and courtiers. These works constituted the basis for two other types of royal portraits: one in which Philip is seated (c. 1550-51; Cincinnati Art Museum) and the other, a full-length depiction in civilian clothing (c. 1554; Museo di Capodimonte, Naples; and c. 1554; Palazzo Pitti, Florence). The latter two works were not commissioned by Philip or by members of his family or court, but they must have been painted in response to the growing demand for images of the prince among leading Italian families, in this case, the Farneses and the Medici, respectively.

This portrait is usually identified with Titian´s first meeting with Philip in Milan. Titian painted a first (and now-lost) version for Philip as well as various replicas. The present work is likely one of the latter, and was probably commissioned by Mary of Hungary (1505-1558), Charles V´s sister and governor of the Netherlands. On November 13, 1553, Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle (1517-1586), minister of the Habsburgs in Brussels and bishop of Arras, wrote to Charles V´s ambassador to the English court, Simon Renard (1513-1573), to inform him that Mary was sending this portrait of Philip to his fiancée, Mary Tudor (1516-1558). In the letter, Granvelle warns that the portrait is not recent, and that it shows Philip with an inferior complexion than at present, as well as less mature and with a sparser beard. On November 19, Mary of Hungary wrote to Renard, explaining that the painting had been made three years earlier, and, while it had been considered a striking likeness at that time, it was now slightly damaged by age and by the trip from Augsburg. Mary closed with a suggestion that the portrait be contemplated with the proper light and distance, like all of Titian´s works (Text drawn from Falomir, M.: Splendor, Myth, and Vision. Nudes from the Prado, 2016, pp. 68-70).


Technical data

Inventory number
Workshop of Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
Philip II
1549 - 1550
Height: 103 cm; Width: 82 cm
Royal Collection (Alcázar Palace, Madrid, 1636; Alcázar Palace, 1700; New Royal Palace, Madrid, 1772; New Royal Palace, 1794).

Bibliography +

Rooses, Max, L'Oeuvre de P.P.Rubens.Histoire et Description..., IV, Jos.Maes, Amberes, 1886, pp. 198-199.

Beroqui, Pedro, Tiziano en el Museo del Prado, Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones, 35, 1927, pp. 11.

Beroqui, Pedro, Tiziano en el Museo del Prado, Hauser y Menet, Madrid, 1946, pp. 118.

Dierickx, S.J., Malines.4 Siecles Cite Archiepiscopale, Centre Culturel, Malinas, 1961, pp. nº 28.

Wethey, Harold E.1902-1984, The paintings of Titian, II, Phaidon, Londres, 1971, pp. 130-131.

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. 710-711.

Anes, Gonzalo, Monedas Hispanicas 1475-1598, Banco de España, Madrid, 1987.

Urrea, Jesús, Principes de Asturias, Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Oviedo, 1988, pp. 34-35, nº 1.

Saavedra Vázquez, C., Exposición IV Centenario de María Pita, Ayuntamiento de La Coruña, La Coruña, 1989, pp. 37.

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

Checa Cremades, Fernando, Tiziano y la monarquía hispánica: usos y funciones de la pintura veneciana en España (siglos XVI y XVII), Nerea, Madrid, 1994, pp. 276, n. 59.

El emporio de Sevilla: IV centenario de la construcción de l, Caja de San Fernando de Sevilla y Jerez, Sevilla, 1995.

Arias Montano y Su Tiempo, Editora Regional de Extremadura, Cáceres, 1998.

Las tierras y los hombres del rey: Felipe II, un monarca y s, Sociedad Estatal Commemoracion de Los Centenarios, Valladolid, 1998.

El linaje del emperador, Sociedad Estatal para la Conmemoración de los Cent, Cáceres, 2000, pp. 278, nº 48.

Esplendores de Espanha de el Greco a Velazquez, Arte Viva, Río De Janeiro, 2000, pp. 52.

Marcenaro, Giuseppe, Viaggio in Italia. Un Corteo Magico Dal Cinquecento al Novec, Electa, Genova, 2001.

Arte y poesía: el amor y la guerra en el renacimiento, Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Madrid, 2002, pp. 451, nº3.

España y América: Un océano de negocios. V centenario de la Casa de Contratación 1503-2003, Catálogo de la exposición celebrava en Sevilla, Real Alcázar y Casa de la Provincia, Sociedad Estatal Conmemoraciones Estatales, Madrid, 2003, pp. 264-265.

Finaldi, Gabriele, ''Studio of Titian'.' En: The marriage of England & Spain., Flora Winfield, -, 2004, pp. 23-24.

De Tiziano a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado., Tokio - Osaka, 2006.

De Tiziano a Goya: grandes maestros del Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado: SEACEX, Madrid, 2007, pp. 233.

Le botteghe di Tiziano, Alinari 24 ORE, 2009, pp. 361-2.

Bodart, Diane H, 'Quizá mejor de Tiziano: Antonio Moro retratista' En: Maestros en la sombra, Fundación Amigos Museo del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 131-162 [152].

Arbeteta Mira, Letizia, Las joyas reales en la Monarquía Hispánica. Una aproximación iconográfica, C.I.C.T., U. Católica Lisboa; I. de Humanismo y tradición clásica, León, 2014, pp. 365.

García Sierra, Mª José, 'Quién vestía a los reyes. Real Guardarropa y sastres de Cámara' En: Vestir a la española en las cortes europeas (siglos XVI y XVII), I, CEEH, Madrid, 2014, pp. 113-135 [119 f.4].

Martínez Leiva, Gloria; Rodríguez Rebollo, Ángel, El inventario del Alcázar de Madrid de 1666. Felipe IV y su colección artística, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid, 2015, pp. 387 nº 420.

Falomir, M., 'Titian. Philip II' En:, Splendor, Myth, and Vision : Nudes from the Prado, Clark Art Institute ; Museo Nacional del Prado,, 2016, pp. 68-71 n.1.

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 498.
498.-Retrato de Felipe II. / Alto 1,03. Ancho 0,82.-Lienzo. / Está representado de edad juvenil, con el cabello corto, la barba clara y suave, y su traje es una ropilla negra muy ajustada, de seda y terciopelo á listas, con forro de piel de cisne que asoma por el cuello y los puños, y por las costuras del peto y de los brahones. Lleva jubon interior de fina gamuza blanca, que sale por los puños; rica botonadura de pedrería, y cadena de oro con el Toison pendiente al cuello. Apoya la mano derecha en la esquina de una mesa ó bufete cubierto con tapete carmesí franjado de oro, y [...]

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 649.
Escuela de Tiziano / 649. Felipe 2º / Lleva trage negro guarnecido de armiños, tiene la mano izquierda en el puño de la espada, y la derecha sobre una mesa. (figura de medio cuerpo.) / Alto 3 pies, 8 pulg, 2 lin; ancho 2 pies, 11 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 649.

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed in red color. Front, lower left corner

[¿33?] [Restos de etiqueta muy perdida y oscurecida por los barnices]
Inscribed. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

Titian: Love, Desire, Death. Poesías de Tiziano
10.08.2021 - 02.01.2022

Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits from Holbein to Warhol
Houston TX
07.10.2018 - 27.01.2019

Splendor, Myth and Vision: Nudes from the Prado
Williamstown MA
12.06.2016 - 10.10.2016

Imágenes del poder y la magnificencia. Tapices flamencos para los duques de Borgoña, el emperador Carlos V y el rey Felipe II
15.04.2010 - 04.07.2010

From Titian to Goya. Great Masters from the Museo del Prado
13.09.2007 - 12.11.2007

From Titian to Goya. Great Masters from the Museo del Prado
29.06.2007 - 24.08.2007

De Tiziano a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado
14.07.2006 - 15.10.2006

De Tiziano a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado
24.03.2006 - 02.07.2006

The Marriage of England and Spain
29.06.2004 - 30.09.2004

España y América. Un océano de negocios. V Centenario de la Casa de Contratación
10.12.2003 - 28.02.2004

Pintura y poesía: del amor y la guerra en el Renacimiento
01.11.2002 - 31.01.2003

Viaggio in Italia
30.03.2001 - 29.07.2001

El linaje del Emperador
24.10.2000 - 08.01.2001

De El Greco a Velázquez. La cultura española durante la Unión Ibérica, 1580-1640
Río de Janeiro
12.07.2000 - 24.09.2000

Las tierras y los hombres del rey
22.10.1998 - 10.01.1999

Arias Montano y su tiempo
20.03.1998 - 17.05.1998

El emporio de Sevilla . IV Centenario de la construcción de la Real Audiencia
23.05.1995 - 30.06.1995

IV Centenario de María Pita
La Coruña
04.05.1989 - 31.07.1989

Retratos pictóricos de los Príncipes de Asturias
14.10.1988 - 13.11.1988

Monedas hispánicas de los siglos XV Y XVI
02.12.1987 - 07.01.1988

Displayed objects +


Insignia / Decoration: Toisón de Oro

Update date: 14-12-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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