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The Recovery of Saint Kitts Island
Castello, Félix
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Castello, Félix

Madrid (Spain), 1595 - Madrid (Spain), 1651

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The Recovery of Saint Kitts Island

1634. Oil on canvas. Not on display

Saint Kitts, Nevis and Sint Eustatius, are Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. After their occupation by the French and English in 1627, they became home bases for pirates. The Spanish expedition was led by Fadrique de Toledo y Osorio, I Marquis of Villanueva de Valdueza and Captain General of the Ocean Fleet. He was accompanied by Fleet General Martín de Vallecilla and Admiral Antonio de Oquendo. After capturing various pirate ships on Nevis Island, the expedition debarked at Saint Kitts, where they rapidly captured two French forts and one English one with almost no losses. They took 2,300 prisoners and obtained 200 cannons. As with other battles depicted in the Hall of Realms, this was a fleeting victory. After burning the tobacco plantations, Fadrique left the island without leaving any garrison there. As he continued on to Portobello and Havana to take delivery of the customary treasure from the Indies, the French and English returned, occupying Saint Kitts again in August 1630. Fadrique de Toledo was the son of the V Marquis of Villafranca and had been appointed Capitan General of the Oceanic Sea in 1618 after his significant success in the Mediterranean and Brazil. Another of his achievements was The Recovery of Bahía de Todos los Santos (P885), which Maíno depicted in the Hall of Realm’s most symbolic painting. By the time those two paintings were commissioned, however, Fadrique had fallen from favor as a result of his dispute in 1633 with the Count-Duke of Olivares over a projected expedition to Brazil for which Fadrique sought a degree of funding that Olivares was unwilling to provide. Sent to prison and found guilty in November, 1633 by the Council of Castile, he was permanently banished, stripped of all his posts, and denied the income from his possessions. He died on December 10 of the following year. Castelo depicts him in the foreground, giving orders to one of his officers (possibly Pedro de Osorio, his Field Marshall), who has placed his hand on his chest. Behind this officer, we see a soldier, and another officer wearing a hat, whom Ceán and Madrazo supposed to be Juan de Orellana. As in the other paintings from the Hall of Realms, the battle is meticulously rendered in the background, with warships, barges and skiffs debarking troops. Other Spanish troops appear on land, where they are receiving fire from a burning stronghold and an enemy fort. Castelo was a relatively minor painter, with very little original work before 1633. His participation in the Hall of Realms’ decorative program (the King’s painter, Angelo Nardi was not even included in this project) can be explained by the fact that he was Vicente Carducho’s favorite disciple and seems to have been an important collaborator in previous years. This relationship is borne out by the similarity of the present work’s composition to Carducho’s although, as Angulo and Pérez Sánchez have observed, the landscape is richer and more kinetic. There is a preparatory drawing for this painting at the Cabinet of Drawings and Prints in the Uffizis.

Museo Nacional del Prado, El Palacio del Rey Planeta, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2005, p.146

Technical data

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Inventory number
Castello, Félix
The Recovery of Saint Kitts Island
Height: 297 cm.; Width: 311 cm.
Serie de Batallas, Salón de Reinos, Palacio del Buen Retiro
Royal Collection (Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid, 1701, no. 254; Buen Retiro Palace, 1794, no. 526; New Royal Palace, Madrid, "pinturas descolgadas en el callejón de las tribunas", 1814-1818, no. 526).

Bibliography +

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España, I, Joachin Ibarra, Madrid, 1776, pp. 128.

Inventario. Real Palacio del Buen Retiro. Madrid. Pinturas, [s.n], Madrid, 1794, pp. nº15999(526).

Tormo y Monzó, Elías, Velázquez y el Salón de Reinos del Palacio del Buen Retiro, Imprenta San Francisco de Sales, Madrid, 1912, pp. 34.

Exposición Iberoamercana 1929-30. Catálogo de la sección de arte antiguo., Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Sevilla, 1929.

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. 201.

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

Brown, Jonathan, A Palace For a King. The Buen Retiro and the Court of Philip, Yale University Press, New Haven; Londres, 1980, pp. 167 / lám. 120.

Brown, Jonathan, Un palacio para un rey: el Buen Retiro y la corte de Felipe, Alianza EditorialRevista Occidente, Madrid, 1981, pp. 174 / lám. 120.

González de Amezúa, Mercedes, ''Las armas en el Teatro Clásico Español'', El Corral de Comedias. Escenarios, Sociedad, Actores, Ayuntamiento, Madrid, 1983, pp. 243 / lám. 125.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 135-136.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Philip IV and the Golden House of the Buen Retiro in the Tradition of Caesar, Garland PublishingInc., Nueva York. Londres, 1986, pp. 227 / lám. 895.

Palomino de Castro y Velasco, Acisclo Antonio, Vidas, Alianza Editorial, Madrid, 1986, pp. 142-3.

Fernández Miranda y Lozana, Fernando, Inventarios Reales Carlos III 1789-1790, I, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1988, pp. 296, nº2889(526).

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. nº2674.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura barroca española: guía, Museo Nacional del PradoAldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 268.

Elliot J.H., Historia y mito en el Salón de Reinos. En Historias inmortales, Barcelona, 2003, pp. 211-228.

Portús, Javier, La colección de pintura española en el Museo del Prado, Edilupa, Madrid, 2003, pp. 99.

Museo Nacional del Prado, El Palacio del Rey Planeta, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2005, pp. 146.

Schreffler, Michael, The art of allegiance. Visual culture and imperial power in baroque New Spain, Pennsylvania State University Press, Pennsylvania, 2007, pp. 94.

Luna, J. J., Guerra y pintura en las colecciones del Museo del Prado. S. XVI a Goya, Arte en tiempos de guerra Jornadas de Arte (14º.2008.Madrid), 2009.

Marías, Fernando, Pinturas de historia, imágenes políticas. Repensando el Salón de Reinos. Discurso leído en la recepción de la Real Academia de la Historia 24 de junio 2012, 2012, pp. 17-20,68.

Bake-ituna / Tratado de Paz /Traité de Paix / Peace Treaty, Fundación Donostia/San Sebastián, San Sebastián, 2016, pp. III c, 113.

Other inventories +

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos II, Buen Retiro, 1701-1703. Núm. [255].
[255] Ottra [pintura] del mismo tamaño [cuatro varas de largo y tres y media de alto] marco [dorado] y auttor [feliz Casttelo] que la anttezedentte de Don fadrique de toledo Uatiendo a Vn Castillo tasada en zientto y Ueintte doblones ... 7200

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1794. Núm. 526.
Otra [pintura] de Feliz Castelo, del mismo tamaño [quatro varas de largo, y tres y media de alto] y marco [dorado] que las anteriores, con Dn. Fadrique de Toledo batiendo un Castillo...6000

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. 526.
Pinturas descolgadas / En el callejon de las Tribunas [...] {21937} 526 / Don Fadrique de Toledo batiendo un castillo = Felix Castelo

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 1910.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 2674.
F. Castello / 2674. Bloqueo de una fortaleza. / Alto 10 pies, 8 pulg; ancho 11 pies, 2 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 695.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 654.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 654.

Inscriptions +

Felix Castello P.F. 1634
Signed and dated. Front, Lower right area

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed in red color. Front, lower left corner

Inscribed in golden colour. Front, lower right corner

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower right corner


Exhibitions +

Tratado de Paz
San Sebastián
17.06.2016 - 02.10.2016

El palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro
06.07.2005 - 30.10.2005

Displayed objects +






Shield / Coat of Arms


Lances / Spears

Drum: En esta composición se distinguen tres tambores: el primero en la parte izquierda de la composición en la tercera nave de abajo-arriba en actitud de tocar el instrumento; el segundo en la parte central, en el campo de batalla en actitud de tocar también y el tercero, más arriba del último en la parte superior fuera del campo de batalla lleva el instrumento a la espalda. Los tes tambores son de color marrón y sólo se aprecia un parche de los dos que tiene este tipo de tambores. Tiene las características cuerdas en zig zag para tensar los parches, propias de los tambores militares. Son instrumentos bimembranófonos, de cuerpo cilíndrico, lo que los distingue de los timbales o atabales. Suelen percutirse sólo en uno de los parches y, para mayor sonoridad, suelen tener unos bordones que cruzan en diagonal el parche inferior (Proyecto Iconografía Musical, UCM).
El tambor militar se usa en Occidente desde la Edad Media, fundamentalmente como instrumento que rige la marcha, y han perdurado hasta la actualidad en ese uso.


Ship, Sailing / Sailboat

Update date: 27-02-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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