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The Miracle of the Spring
Carducho, Vicente
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Carducho, Vicente

Florence (Italy), 1576 - Madrid (Spain), 1638

Carducho, Vicente See author's file

The Miracle of the Spring

1626 - 1632. Oil on canvas.
On display elsewhere

On August 29, 1626, King Philip IV’s painter, Vicente Carducho (ca. 1576-1638), signed a contract for the creation of a cycle of paintings to celebrate the founding of the Carthusian Order by Saint Bruno and its leading members. This colossal undertaking sought to visually narrate numerous episodes from the Carthusians’ history and tradition. It was the most complete commission ever dedicated to this order, a series of fifty-four large canvases and two more of a smaller size with the coats of arms of the king and the order. This project was originally conceived by Father Juan de Baeza (d. 1641), a fundamental figure for the Carthusians’ spirituality and organization who closely controlled compliance with that order’s postulates. Juan de Baeza furnished Carducho with the episodes to be included in the series, many of which were unpublished or barely known and previously unrepresented in Spain. In terms of its narrative content, the group was organized in two parts: the first twenty-seven canvases illustrate the life of the order’s founder, Saint Bruno of Cologne (1035-1101), from the moment he decided to abandon public life and retire to the Grande Chartreuse Valley, north of Grenoble, through this death and first posthumous miracle. The second group glosses meaningful episodes in the order’s history, which took place in the principle European charterhouses between the 11th and 16th centuries. This group reveals the order’s strong founding drive, as well as some of its identity traits, including withdrawal to solitary and very beautiful settings, and a life of humility, mortification and penance, dedicated to study and prayer. The second group closes with a set of heroic scenes that represent episodes of persecution and martyrdom suffered by some Carthusian communities during the 15th and 16th centuries -images that seek to strengthen the monks’ faith while depicting Europe’s religious and territorial conflicts at that time. The series was painted between 1626 and 1632, following a laborious creative process that included the production of numerous drawings and sketches, as well as the necessary participation of some assistants. Like most 16th and 17th -century cloister series, this project was originally conceived by Carducho as a mural group. Over the course of his extensive career, he had already demonstrated his mastery of fresco painting, which was the most characteristic and, a priori, appropriate for this type of narrative cycle -at least in Italy, where every detail of this technique was known. However, the complexity of the project, the location of El Paular, and the order’s rigorous cloistering probably argued against the use of that technique. The large canvases have a semicircular arch at the top to fit the gothic segments of the cloister designed by Juan de Egas between 1484 and 1486.

After construction of the first monastery began (shown in the eighth painting from this series, lost during the Spanish Civil War), Saint Bruno and his companions realized that there was not enough water nearby. Hearing their prayers, God made a spring appear nearby. Here, Bruno thanks God for the miracle while the rest of the group looks on in wonder (Text drawn from Ruiz, L. en: La recuperación de El Paular, 2013, pp. 185-190).

Technical data

Inventory number
Carducho, Vicente
The Miracle of the Spring
1626 - 1632
Height: 337.5 cm; Width: 297 cm
Historia de la Orden de los Cartujos. Cartuja de El Paular, Rascafría, Madrid
Rascafría (Madrid), Cartuja de Santa María de El Paular, cloister; Museo de la Trinidad.

Bibliography +

Cuartero Huerta, Baltasar, La Cartuja del Paular, ARTE ESPAÑOL / REVISTA ESPAÑOLA DE ARTE, 5, 1920/1921, pp. 266.

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.

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. 122.

Ciudades del siglo de Oro: las vistas españolas de Anton Van, Ediciones El Viso, Madrid, 1986, pp. 38/ lám.24.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (II). Museo de la Trinidad, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1991.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, Madrid, 1996, pp. 62.

Beutler, Werner, Vicente Carducho. El Gran Ciclo Cartujano de el Paular, Verlag Locher, Colonia, 1998, pp. 146.

Memoria y arte del espíritu cartujano: las cartujas valencianas, Generalitat Valenciana, Valencia, 2010, pp. 217.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, 'La recuperación de la serie cartujana de El Paular' En:, La recuperación de El Paular, Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Madrid, 2013, pp. 186-202.

'Los Carduchos del Museo del Prado de la Cartuja de El Paular. Secuencia ordenada de la serie de V.Carducho para El Paular' En:, La recuperación de El Paular, Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Madrid, 2013, pp. 217-233 [219 f.388].

de Carlos Varona, Mª Cruz, 'Vicente Carducho en El Paular, la elaboración de un imaginario cartujano' En:, La recuperación de El Paular, Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Madrid, 2013, pp. 203-216.

Pascual Chenel, Á.; Rodríguez Rebollo, A., Vicente Carducho. Dibujos Catálogo razonado, Biblioteca Nacional de España - Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, Madrid, 2015, pp. 337-440 [354 f.99].

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 2149DD.
[Catálogo de 1907]

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1985. Núm. 639A.
[Catálogo 1910-1985]

Catálogo Museo de la Trinidad, 1865. Núm. 8.
8. Milagro de las aguas. / En el centro del cuadro el Santo fundador de rodillas, rodeado de sus seis primeros discípulos, da gracias al cielo que les ha concedido, por su intercesion, abundantes aguas que brotan de una roca. En el fondo se ven dos templos en construcción. / Domina en todos y cada uno de los monjes un santo recogimiento y sobrenatural asombro. La expresión de los rostros, las actitudes, el partido de pliegues de los hábitos, el color, la luz, la franqueza de toque, todo es igualmente admirable en este hermoso cuadro. / Publicado en el tomo II de El Arte en España.

Inv. Museo de la Trinidad, Pintura. Núm. 8.
8. San Bruno. / En el centro del cuadro á rodillado con otros religiosos de la misma orden da gracias á dios por haber hecho brotar de una peña el agua q.e les hacia falta para continuar la obra del convento fondo de paisaje y ambos lados muros á medio construir. / Firmado Vicente Carducho. // Alto 3,43; ancho 3,01. / Testaurado por el sr. Bernáldez. / Nº 28 C.B.

Inscriptions +

Signed. Front, lower right corner

Exhibitions +

Valldecrist y Porta Coeli. Memoria y arte del espíritu cartujano. Las cartujas valencianas
03.06.2010 - 05.09.2010

Valldecrist y Porta Coeli. Memoria y arte del espíritu cartujano. Las cartujas valencianas
25.02.2010 - 23.05.2010

Location +

Rascafría - Monasterio de Santa María de El Paular (Deposit)

Update date: 09-04-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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