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The Relief of Constance
Carducho, Vicente
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Carducho, Vicente

Florencia, 1576 - Madrid, 1638

The Relief of Constance

1634. Oil on canvas, 297 x 374 cm.

This painting celebrates the freeing of the Swiss town of Constance from its besiegement by Swedish troops under General Horn, who sought to cut off communication between imperial troops and Spanish soldiers at La Valtellina and the Duchy of Milan. Along with The Storming of Rheinfelden (P637) and The Capture of Breisach (P859), this is one of the three paintings at the Hall of Realms that commemorated the victories of the Alsatian army led by Gómez Suárez de Figueroa, Duke of Feria, in 1633. As Brown and Elliot have pointed out, the decision to include in that hall’s decorative program three battles that had occurred just a few months earlier undoubtedly reflected the Count-Duke’s desire to present the year 1633 as a new annus mirabilis in order to strengthen his own position at court. Those same authors emphasized that, in a way, the Count-Duke could take credit for the Duke of Feria’s victories as the Alsatian army had been created at his own initiative to drive the Swedes and their allies away from the banks of the Upper Rhine, and he was also responsible for raising the funds to make it possible. In the painting, the Duke of Feria appears on horseback, occupying the high ground that constitutes almost half of the composition in the foreground to the left. He wears half-armor, a stiff transparent Walloon collar and a plumed hat, as well as a red general’s sash. He looks out at the viewer and holds a command staff in his left hand. A page runs alongside him, and the group of knights in armor behind them may include a representation of the cavalry commander, Lieutenant General Geraldo Gambacurta. The city of Constance appears in the background, in the lake of the same name, while the battle unfolds in the middle ground, with various military strongholds, and foot soldiers and cavalry moving across the land. As is logical, the Duke of Feria’s appearance is the same as in The Storming of Rheinfelden. It seems unlikely, however, that Carducho painted him from life, as the duke died unexpectedly in January 1634 when the series of canvases was already planned but the painters responsible for them had not yet been commissioned -that did not happen until spring, 1634. In Carducho’s case, the only document published to date about his participation in the program is a letter of payment from July 29, 1634. This indicates that he received 400 Ducats as an advance on his payment for the canvases he is painting to decorate the Royal Hall at the Buen Retiro. His high standing at court -only Velázquez overshadowed him- is indicated by the fact that he was the only artist commissioned to paint three battle scenes for the Hall of Realms. Moreover, the participation of his disciple, Félix Castelo, is probably due to his influence. It may have been a matter of pride that he was the only artist to sign and date all of his paintings. And each of the battles and the generals involved are identified in their cartouches (Text drawn from Álvarez Lopera, J. in: El Palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2005, p. 142).

Technical data

Related artworks

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Oil on canvas, 1634
The Storming of Rheinfelden
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The Surrender of Jülich
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Inventory number
Carducho, Vicente
The Relief of Constance
High/Height: 297 cm.; Width: 374 cm.
Serie de Batallas, Salón de Reinos, Palacio del Buen Retiro
Royal Collection (Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid, 1701, no. 252; Buen Retiro Palace, 1794, no. 523; New Royal Palace, "pinturas descolgadas en el callejón de las tribunas", 1814-1818, no. 523).

Bibliography +

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España: en que se da noticia de las cosas mas apreciables, y dignas de saberse, que hay en ella, VI, Atlas, Madrid, 1793.

Inventario Real Palacio del Buen Retiro, [s.n], Madrid, 1794, pp. 15996(523).

Tormo, Elías, Velázquez y el Salón de Reinos del Palacio del Buen Retiro, Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones, 19, 1911, pp. 191.

Justi, Carl, Velázquez y su siglo, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1953, pp. 341.

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. nº466.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Potter, George Richard, Historia del mundo moderno, IV, Ramon SopenaCambridge University, Barcelona, 1980, pp. 333.

Inventarios reales: testamentaria del Rey Carlos II : 1701-1, II, Museo del PradoPatronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1981, pp. 297.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 121.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Philip IV and the Golden House of the Buen Retiro in the Tradition of Caesar, Garland PublishingInc., Nueva York, 1986, pp. 226.

Fernandez Miranda y Lozana, Fernando, Inventarios Reales Carlos III 1789-1790, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1988, pp. nº2886.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, I, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

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. 98.

Brown, Jonathan, Un palacio para el rey: el Buen Retiro y la corte de Felipe de Felipe IV, Taurus, Madrid, 2003.

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.

Picouet, Pierre, Les Tercios Espagnols 1600-1660, LRT Éditions, 2010.

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.

Newman, Abigail D., Juan de la Corte 'branding' Flanders abroad, Nederlands kunsthistorisch jaarboek, 63, 2013, pp. 264-301 [271 f.8].

Boletín del Seminario de Estudios de Arte y Arqueología, Boletín del Seminario de Estudios de Arte y Arqueología BSAA, 2014, pp. 179-198 [197].

Herrero Garcia, Miguel., Estudios sobre indumentaria española en la época de los Austrias, Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, 2014, pp. 368 f.94.

Taín Guzmán, Miguel, The Buen Retiro Palace and its italian and furniture works of art in the Diaries of the Journey to Spain of Prince Cosimo III of Médici, Studi di Storia dell'Arte, n.26, 2016, pp. 173-196 [191 f.21].

Other inventories +

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos II, Buen Retiro, 1701-1703. Núm. [252].
[252] Ottra Pinttura del mismo tamaño [cuatro varas de largo y tres y media de alto] y marco [dorado] del duque de feria quando Socorrio a Consttanza de la misma mano que a antecedentte [Uizençio Carduchi] tasada en ochenta doblones ... 4800

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1794. Núm. 523.
Otra [pintura] del mismo [Vicencio Carduchi], tamaño [quatro varas de largo, y tres y media de alto] y marco [dorado], con el duque de Feria quando socorriò á Constancian...6000

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. 523.
Pinturas descolgadas / En el callejon de las Tribunas [...] {21935} 523 / El Duque de Feria quando socorrió a Costanza = idem [Carducho]

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 33.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 33.
Carduci (Vicente) / 33. La plaza de Constanza socorrida y liberada del asedio por el Duque de Feria en el año 1633. / Alto 10 pies, 8 pulg; Ancho 15 pies, 5 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 677.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 636.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 636.

Exhibitions +

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

Update date: 07-02-2018 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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