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Portrait of a Gentleman
Maíno, Fray Juan Bautista
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Maíno, Fray Juan Bautista

Pastrana, Guadalajara, 1581 - Madrid, 1649

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Portrait of a Gentleman

1618 - 1623. Oil on canvas.
Room 010B

Nothing is known of this middle-aged gentleman with his black doublet and cloak, against which the wide, segmented ruff or gola and the delicate white cuff at his right wrist stand out. At his waist are a belt and a sword belt, both very plain, though essential accessories of aristocratic dress in Spain in the Golden Age. The sitter is depicted three-quarter length and lit from the side with a light that strongly models the face, creating a number of varied nuances: the carefully trimmed, greying goatee beard, in contrast with the reddish colour of the thick moustache that frames the narrow, austere mouth; the long nose, and, above all, the figure’s weary but penetrating gaze. The right hand is arranged in a gesture of subtle elegance, placed below the breast and covered with a glove painted in minute detail to show the texture of the leather and the delicate stitching. The thumb and index finger grasp the buttons of the doublet in an unusual gesture in depictions of this type, and one that breaks the vertical axis created by the row of buttons, offering an original re-thinking of elements that had been used since the Renaissance to add a more markedly rhetorical feel to portraits, namely the gestures of the hands. A close comparison in this respect is provided by El Greco’s likenesses, in which the hand emphasises the model’s eloquence and solemnity. Through the placement of the fingers on the buttons in the present canvas, Maíno focuses on the sitter’s status as a gentleman while also creating a gesture of simple elegance. The image also looks to other aspects of El Greco’s portraits, which Maíno seems to have studied with the intention of offering an updated version of those austere, sober images with their emphasis on the face and their enormous pictorial effectiveness. El Greco’s figures are outlined against a dark background which is nonetheless filled with luminous nuances that visually push the figure out from its setting. Maíno maintains these formal devices but renders them in a minutely detailed, tactile brushstroke that brings them close to northern European naturalistic painting. This was noted in 1888 by Carl Justi, who stated that this painting would have been attributed to the Dutch school had it not been signed. Justi also suggested that the model was the renowned Toledan jurist Diego de Narbona, as he detected a physical resemblance between this figure and a portrait print of that individual by María Eugenia de Beer based on a drawing by Maíno. Angulo and Pérez Sánchez did not see this similarity, which was probably based on the shared way of depicting the bones of the deep sockets under the eyes. With regard to the painting’s date, it seems reasonable to accept the suggestion of Méndez Casal and Harris, who placed it within Maíno’s Toledan period after he entered the Dominican Order (as indicated by the signature). From recently discovered documentation we know that this period lasted for some time. However, since Philip IV promulgated the use of flat, plain ruffs, forbidding the use of this high, ruffled type in early 1623, Maíno could not have made the painting after that year. Enriqueta Harris associated it with some of the heads (which she believed were clearly portraits) that appear in the canvases that make up the San Pedro Mártir altarpiece and in the Adoration of the Shepherds in the Hermitage, as well as in the Portrait of a Monk in the Ashmolean Museum, parallels that do not enable a more precise dating. Notwithstanding, given all of the above and the high quality of the likeness -of which Martin Soria and George Kubler highlighted its sense of physical energy, its powerfully volumetric nature and its profound spirituality- it is possible to place the work between 1618 and 1623 (Ruiz, L.: Juan Bautista Maíno: 1581-1649, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2009, p. 309).


Technical data

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Inventory number
Maíno, Fray Juan Bautista
Portrait of a Gentleman
1618 - 1623
Height: 96 cm; Width: 76 cm
Infante Sebastián Gabriel de Borbón, 1876; Alfonso de Borbón; acquired for the Prado Museum with funds of the Count of Cartagena, 1936.

Bibliography +

Madrazo, J. DE, Catálogo de la galería de cuadros del excelentísimo señor Don José de Madrazo, Imprenta de Cipriano López, Madrid, 1856.

Méndez Casal, A., Un retrato inédito pintado por fray Juan Bautista Mayno, Revista Española de Amigos del Arte, 6, Madrid, 1933, pp. 297-301 [301].

Harris, Enriqueta, Aportaciones para el estudio de Juan Bautista Maíno, Revista española de arte, IV, 8, 1935, pp. 333-339 [336].

Kubler, G.; Soria, M., Art and Architecture in Spain and Portugal and their american dominions, Penguin Books, Baltimore, 1959, pp. 225.

López Rey, J., Maíno y Velázquez. Dos retratos de Felipe IV en el Metropolitan Museum of Art de Nueva York, Colóquio. Revista de artes e letras, 25, London, 1963, pp. 16-17.

Angulo Íñiguez, D.; Pérez Sánchez, A. E., Historia de la pintura española: escuela madrileña del primer tercio del siglo XVII, Instituto Diego Velázquez, Madrid, 1969, pp. 305, 323, n. 50.

Ars Hispaniae: Historia universal del arte hispánico, XV, Plus Ultra, Madrid, 1971, pp. 36.

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

Puente, Joaquín de la, Del Greco a Goya, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1978.

Menéndez Pidal, Ramón, Historia de España, XXIV, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1979, pp. 423.

Águeda Villar, Mercedes, La colección de pinturas del infante Don Sebastián Gabriel, Boletín del Museo del Prado, III, 1982, pp. 102-118 [111].

Prinz Von Hohenzollern, J.G., Von Greco Bis Goya. Vier Jahrhunderte Spanische Malerei, Haus Der Kunst, Munich, 1982, pp. 178.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 389.

Fernandez Miranda y Lozana, Fernando, Inventarios Reales. Carlos III. 1789-1790. Vol. I, I, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1988, pp. 286.

La pintura española en su siglo de oro, Madrid, 1989.

Urrea, Jesús, La Pittura Madrilena del Secolo XVII, Edizioni Carte Segrete, Roma, 1991, pp. 70.

Pérez Sánchez, A. E., Fray Juan Bautista Maíno, pintor dominico, Arte cristiana. Rivista internazionale di storia dell'arte e di arti liturgiche, 764-5, 1994, pp. 433-442 [437].

Boitani, M. C., Juan Bautista Maino, Fratelli Palombi Editori, Roma, 1995, pp. 216-218.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996, pp. n. 1695.

Justi, C., Velázquez y su siglo, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1999, pp. 78.

Museo Nacional del Prado, El Greco y la pintura española del Renacimiento: guía, Museo del Prado, Aldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 194.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, Maíno en Pastrana. El retablo de los Miranda, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXIV, 2006, pp. 14-23.

Ruiz Gómez, L., Retrato de caballero (h. 1613-1618). En: Ruiz Gómez, L.: El retrato español en el Prado. Del Greco a Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2006, pp. 78, n. 18.

Museo Nacional del Prado, La Guía del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2008, pp. 64.

Ruíz Gómez, L, Juan Bautista Maíno, 1581-1649, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, pp. 194-196, n. 36.

Torre Fazio, Julia de la, El retrato español en miniatura bajo los reinados de Felipe II y Felipe III, Universidad de Málaga, Servicio de Publicaciones, Málaga, 2010, pp. 196,199-201 fg.179.

Ruíz Gómez, L., Algunas notas después de la exposición Juna Bautista Maíno (1581-1649) en el Museo del Prado, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXIX, 2011, pp. 78-96 [78].

Ed. Mena Marques, M, La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 346.

Kientz, G.K, 'Fray J.B. Maíno. Gentilhomme' En:, Velázquez, Réunion des musées nationaux-Grand Palais: Louvre..., Paris, 2015, pp. 168 n.36.

Other inventories +

Catálogo Galería de cuadros de José de Madrazo. Núm. 372.
372. es un retrato de caballero que mide 0,93 X 0,76, pintado por Maino y que procede de la casa de Altamira.

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1695.
Autor, Maino. / 1695. Asunto, Caballero / Lienzo, 96 X 73. / Nº Catalogo, 2595 / Adquirido en abril de 1936, con fondos del ''Legado Cartagena''...

Inv. Museo de la Trinidad, Pintura. Núm. 130.
130. / Un personage desconocido, con gola blanca y vestido y chambergo con la mano (d)erecha puesta sobre el pecho y vestido el guante fig.s de medio cuerpo y tamaño natural. / Autor firmado Frai Juan Bautista Maino. / Inf.te D.n Sebat.n / Alto 0,95; ancho 0,73. / id, id, id, Con moldura lisa dorada á la G.a del Infante. / Nº 46 S.S.

Inscriptions +

Frai Juan Bap.ta Maino F
Signed. Front, left side

Exhibitions +

25.03.2015 - 13.07.2015

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

Juan Bautista Maíno (1581-1649)
20.10.2009 - 17.01.2010

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

Pintura madrileña del Siglo XVII
10.12.1991 - 31.01.1992

La pintura española en su Siglo de Oro
16.03.1989 - 16.05.1989

Location +

Room 010B (On Display)


Displayed objects +


Update date: 07-10-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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