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Porphyry vase
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Porphyry vase

Ca. 1650. Porphyry.
Galería Jónica Planta Principal Norte

This vessel is made of porphyry, a material greatly valued since classical antiquity because of its rarity and great beauty for use in ornamental pieces intended for the palaces of nobility and members of the court. Its decoration with curved grooves and the double handles in the form of snakes correspond to a classicist tendency that merged models recouped from antiquity with esthetic motives belonging to the baroque. The collection of porphyry vessels in the Prado Museum consists of pieces Felipe IV purchased from Roman antique dealers via his ambassadors and viceroys, and at the nobility´s auctions.

This two-handled, lidded vase with striated decoration is, almost certainly, one of the six that decorated the Hall of Mirrors in the Alcázar in Madrid and is depicted on one of the side tables in that room in Juan Carreño de Miranda’s portrait of Charles II painted around 1673 (P-7100).

Technical data

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Inventory number
Porphyry vase
Ca. 1650
Height: 86 cm; Width: 58 cm; Base/bottom: 42 cm; Weight: 135.2 Kg
Royal Collection (Royal Alcázar Palace, Madrid, “salón de los espejos”, 1686, s.n.)

Bibliography +

González-Palacios, Alvar, Las colecciones reales españolas de mosaicos y piedras duras, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2001, pp. 35-36.

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. 668 en CD p.721-722.

Other inventories +

Inv. Felipe IV, Alcázar de Madrid, 1686. Núm. s. n..
Salón de los espejos [...] Seis vrnas del mismo Porfido que los Bufetes vna sobre cada Bufete las dos mayores â manera de Jarrones yguales y las otras quatro a manera de tazas como cubiertas.

Inv. Real Museo, Sección Escultura, 1857. Núm. 148.
148. Jarron de porfido con su tapa y estriado. / Alto 3 pies, 1 pulg.

Location +

Galería Jónica Planta Principal Norte (On Display)

Update date: 10-05-2022 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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