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The Relief of Genoa by the 2nd Marquis of Santa Cruz
Pereda y Salgado, Antonio de
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Pereda y Salgado, Antonio de

Valladolid (Spain), 1611 - Madrid (Spain), 1678

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The Relief of Genoa by the 2nd Marquis of Santa Cruz

1634 - 1635. Oil on canvas.
Room 009A

Here, the doge of the Republic of Genoa emerges through the gates of the city in order to receive Don Álvaro de Bazán, the Marquis of Santa Cruz, who has arrived as the commander of a fleet intended to protect the city from assault by the French troops led by the Constable Lesdiguières and Charles Emmanuel I, the Duke of Savoy. In the distance, the city´s populace jubilantly greets the arrival of the ships. In his description of Genoa, the artist has relied on prints representing Flemish cities, in particular Antwerp. The event portrayed in this painting took place in May 1625 and was a central episode in the struggle between Spain and France over control of Liguria. For the Spanish, securing Genoa represented a counterweight to the advances made by France and the Duchy of Savoy in the region. It was also one of a number of important Spanish victories that helped to secure Spanish territorial hegemony for a few more years. These victories were commemorated in several paintings, including this one, which were hung in the Hall of Realms in the Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid. The royal throne was placed in this hall, making it the most important space in the palace. The Hall was decorated with the coats of arms of the various territories held by the Spanish monarchy; ten scenes representing the labours of Hercules (the mythical founder of that monarchy); equestrian portraits of the reigning king and queen, of their predecessors and of the crown prince; and 12 battle scenes from conflicts that had taken place during Philip IV´s reign -all of which contributed to the formation of a highly complex (though ultimately homogeneous) discourse about the kingdom´s history and identity. This particular scene also serves to honour the second Marquis of Santa Cruz (1571–1644), who played a significant role during the reigns of both Philip III and Philip IV. The marquis -whose naval actions in 1604 led to the capture of the island of Longo near the Mediterranean-African coast and became the subject of one of Lope de Vega´s plays- was a well-known figure in the court. At the time Antonio Pereda executed this painting, the marquis was a member of the Council of State and, on 14 May 1634 (two months before the artist received his first payment for the commission), he left Madrid to take command of the galleys as lieutenant general of the sea, according to a contemporary writer, Pereda could conceivably have painted his portrait from life or, at the very least, after having consulted a contemporary image of the marquis, for his features seem more like those of a 63-year-old man (his age in 1634) rather than his 54 years at the time he was in Genoa. The artist has dressed him in the same arms from the Royal Armoury that Philip II wears in a royal portrait by Anthonis Mor in El Escorial. Lázaro Díaz del Valle suggested that the images of several members of his retinue were also portraits; however, what is certain is that their extraordinarily emphatic attitudes place them closer to the world of the theatre, distancing them from the conventions of the portrait. This is particularly true of the three men standing behind the group, whose poses recall the figure of the bravo (or swaggering soldier) from plays by Lope de Vega or Pedro Calderón de la Barca. Other characters in the painting are from printed sources, such as the halberdier on the left who was inspired by a print by Antonio Tempesta. The richness and variety of colours and textures in this painting, the narrative coherence and compositional unity and the expressive gestural language make the work, in pictorial terms, one of the most conceptually advanced battle scenes in the Hall of Realms. One of the most promising artistic talents in Madrid, Pereda -who was only 23 or 24 years old at the time he painted The relief of Genoa- was the youngest painter among those who contributed to the decorations of the Hall of Realms. Aware of his youth and proud of his accomplishment, he left a record of his age in the signature -the surviving fragment reads: Antonius Pereda / aetatis suae... (Antonio Pereda, at the age of...) (Text drawn from Portús, J.: Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado, Queensland Art Gallery-Art Exhibitions Australia, 2012, p. 106).

Technical data

Inventory number
Pereda y Salgado, Antonio de
The Relief of Genoa by the 2nd Marquis of Santa Cruz
1634 - 1635
Height: 290 cm; Width: 370 cm
Serie de Batallas, Salón de Reinos, Palacio del Buen Retiro
Royal Collection (Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid, 1701, n. 243; Buen Retiro Palace, 1794, n. 516); Marshal Sebastiani, Paris; Collection of Lady Ashburton, London, 1911; C. Brunner, Paris, 1912; Bequest of Marcel de Nemes to the Prado Museum, 1912

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, 1794; ed. facs. 1972, pp. 116.

Tormo, Elías, Velázquez. El Salón de Reinos del Buen Retiro, Boletín de la Sociedad española de excursiones, 19, 1911, pp. 284.

Tormo y Monzó, Elías, Velázquez y el Salón de Reinos del Palacio del Buen Retiro, Imprenta San Francisco de Sales, Madrid, 1912, pp. 84.

Mayer, August L., Zwei Gemälde des Antonio Pereda, Der Cicerone, 1/2, 1912, pp. 17.

Tormo, Elías, Un gran pintor valisoletano [sic]. D. Antonio de Pereda: 1608 (?)-1678, Boletín de la Sociedad castellana de excursiones, 12 (142), 1914, pp. 509-510.

Mayer, August L., Historia de la Pintura Española, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1928, pp. 408.

Díaz del Valle, L., Origen y ylustración del nobilísimo y real arte de la pintura (1656-1659), Centro de Estudios Históricos, Madrid, 1933, pp. fol.184v.

Lozoya, Juan de Contreras y López de Ayala, Marqués de, Historia del arte hispánico, IV, Salvat, Barcelona, 1945, pp. 115 / lám. 115.

Palomino de Castro y Velasco, Acisclo Antonio, El Museo Pictórico y Escala Óptica, I y II, Aguilar, Madrid, 1947, pp. 958.

Tormo y Monzó, Elías, Pintura, escultura y arquitectura en España: estudios dispersos de Elías Tormo y Monzó, Instituto Diego Velázquez de Arte y Arqueología, Madrid, 1949, pp. 280-284.

Caturla, María Luisa, Cuadros de batallas para el Salón de Reinos del Buen Retiro, Archivo español de arte, 33, 1960, pp. 337-338.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972, pp. 497.

D. Antonio de Pereda (1611-1678) y la pintura madrileña de su tiempo, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General del Patrimonio Artístico, Madrid, 1978, pp. nº 1.

Castillejo,D. Bernis,C. González de Amezúa, M., El Corral de Comedias. Escenarios, sociedad, actores, IV Centenario del Teatro Español, Ayuntamiento, Madrid, 1983, pp. 247 / lám. 129.

Angulo Íñiguez, Diego, Historia de la pintura española: escuela madrileña del segundo tercio del siglo XVII, Instituto Diego Velázquez, Madrid, 1983, pp. 219-220.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. nº 1317.

Jordan, W. B., Spanish still life in the Golden Age: 1600-1650, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 1985, pp. 207 / lám. xvv-1.

Barghahn, Barbara Von, Philip IV and the Golden House of the Buen Retiro in the Tradition of Caesar, I, Garland PublishingInc., Nueva York Londres, 1986, pp. 225 / lám. 884 (vol. II).

Palomino de Castro y Velasco, Acisclo Antonio1653-1726, Vidas, Alianza Editorial, 1986, pp. 219.

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

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (III). Nuevas Adquisiciones. Museo Iconográfico. Tapices., Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996.

López Torrijos, Rosa, Mitologia e Historia en las Obras Maestras del Prado, Scala Books, Londres, 1998, pp. 85.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura barroca española: guía, Museo Nacional del PradoAldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 274.

Morán Turina, Miguel, Velázquez, la pintura y el teatro del Siglo de Oro, Boletín del Museo del Prado, 19 (37), 2001, pp. 61.

Brown, J Elliot, J.H, A Palace For a King. The Buen Retiro and the Court of Philip IV, Yale University Press, 2003, pp. 173.

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

Portús Pérez, Javier, La colección de pintura española en el Museo del Prado, Edilupa, Madrid, 2003, pp. 100.

Museo Nacional del Prado, El Palacio del Rey Planeta, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2005, pp. 127-127.

Goeppert, S., Pablo Picasso. The Illustrated Books: Catalogue Raisonne, Patrick Cramer, Madrid, 2005, pp. 126-127.

Schreffler, Michael, The art of allegiance. Visual culture and imperial power in baroque New Spain, Pennsylvania State University Press, Pennsylvania, 2007, pp. 95.

Navarrete Prieto, Benito, Fuentes y modelos de la pintura barroca madrileña, Editorial Arco/Libros, 2008, pp. 54.

The Art of Power: Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain, Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior, 2009, pp. 153-215.

Bernstorff, Marieke von, Agent und Maler als Akteure im Kunstbetrieb des frühen 17. J..., Hirmer Verlag, 2010, pp. 45-48.

El arte del poder. La Real Armería y el retrato de corte, Museo Nacional del Prado, Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 2010, pp. 232-235.

Gayo, Mª Dolores; Jover de Celis, Maite, Evolución de las preparaciones en la pintura sobre lienzo de los siglos XVII y XVIII en España., Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXVIII, 2010, pp. 39-59.

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.

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from The Prado, Queensland Art Gallery, 2012, pp. 106-107 nº14.

Portús Pérez, Javier, Velázquez and the Celebration of Painting: The Golden Age in the Museo del Prado, The Yomiuri Shimbun: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokio, 2018, pp. n.27.

Other inventories +

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos II, Buen Retiro, 1701-1703. Núm. [243].
[243] Ottra [pintura] del mismo tamaño [cuatro varas de largo y tres y media de alto] y marco [dorado] del Marques de Santta Cruz quando Salio el Dux de Genoua a darle obediençia de mano de Pereda tasada en Zient Doblones ... 6000

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1794. Núm. 516.
Otra [pintura] de Pereda, del mismo tamaño qe. el anterior [quatro varas de largo, y tres y media de alto], con el marques de Stª. Cruz, quando salio el Dux de Genova á darle la Oblacion, marco dorado...8000

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1354.
Autor: D. Antonio Pereda y Salgado / 1354. Asunto: Socorro de Génova por el 2º marqués de Santa Cruz, en 1625 = estaba en el Salón de Reinos del palacio del Buen Retiro, con los cuadros de Carducho, Castelo, Caxes, Leonardo, Mayno y Velázquez. Inventariado en 1701, con el siguiente título 'el marques de Santa Cruz cuando salió el dux de Génova a darle la obediencia' / Dimensiones: alto 2,92; ancho 3,70 / Donativo de Mr. Nemes junio de 1912.

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

T. 1354
Inscribed. Front, lower right corner

Antonius Pereda aetatis svae...
Signed. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

Velázquez and the Golden Age
16.11.2018 - 03.03.2019

Velázquez and the Celebration of Painting: the Golden Age in the Museo del Prado
13.06.2018 - 14.10.2018

Velázquez and the Celebration of Painting: the Golden Age in the Museo del Prado
24.02.2018 - 27.05.2018

Velázquez and the Celebration of Painting: the Golden Age in the Museo del Prado
20.02.2018 - 27.05.2018

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
16.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Houston TX
15.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
22.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Brisbane, Australia
21.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

The Art of Power. The Royal Armoury and court portraiture
09.03.2010 - 23.05.2010

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

Location +

Room 009A (On Display)


Displayed objects +

Armor: Llamada "de la labor de aspas", de 1551. El peto ostenta la imagen de la Inmaculada Concepción y en el espaldar la de Santa Bárbara. Destaca en sus bandas decorativas las cruces de Borgoña flanqueadas por eslabones del Toisón de Oro. Marca de localidad (Grosschedel de Landshut, Wolfgang, Alemania). y punzón en peto. La decoración alude al poder y prestigio de la Casa de Austria. Realizada para Felipe II la usa en San Quintín, y las sillas en su entrada en Lisboa. La armadura se conserva en Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, Real Armería nº A.263 (Soler del Campo, A. en: El arte del poder. La Real Armería y el retrato de corte, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2010, p. 166).

Helmet: Celada empenachada de la armadura de Felipe II llamada de la labor de aspas o cruces de Borgoña.

Lances / Spears: Grupo de soldados a la izquierda del cuadro portando alabardas.

Standard / Banner / Flag

Lighting accesories

Baton, Command

Baton, Captain General's


Transport, Maritime / Transport, River

Update date: 26-05-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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