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Two Wrestlers
Fracanzano, Cesare
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Fracanzano, Cesare

Bisceglie, Barletta, Puglia, 1605 - Barletta, Puglia, 1651

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Two Wrestlers

Ca. 1637. Oil on canvas

This work belongs to a group from the History of Rome series for the Buen Retiro Palace. Dedicated to depictions of Roman public pastimes, the group includes athletes, gladiators, chariots, animal fights, mock sea battles and so on. Following initial doubts, the Buen Retiro Palace was conceived as a place of leisure, where it would be possible to forget the worries associated with running the monarchy. This group of paintings probably sought a simple association of the palace’s leisure activities and those of Antiquity.

In these works, the painters show considerable knowledge of the literature on Antiquity produced in Italy in the previous seventy years, and the general idea presented in this group reflects considerable reading. The two authors most influential in its constitution were Onofrio Panvinio and Justo Lipsio, although one can easily imagine that Jerónimo Mercurialis, Antoine Lafréry, Giacomo Lauro and Serlio were also consulted. Besides gladiatorial scenes, it is possible to detect the origin of the athletes’ scenes in Panivinio and other authors such as Jerónimo Mercurialis, whose De arte gymnastica was published in 1573 and includes a great variety of prints with athletic exercises similar to those depicted by Francanzano (P142).

In recent decades, efforts have been made to establish the existence of a series of paintings related to the History of Rome -including the present work- that Philip IV’s representatives would have commissioned in that city and in Naples around 1634 for the Buen Retiro Palace. Today, twenty-eight extant works can be related to this project (most in the Museo del Prado or Patrimonio Nacional), along with another six mentioned in Charles II’s will but now lost or destroyed. This total of thirty-four paintings constitutes the largest group from the Retiro, including the Hall of Realms. The only larger group consists of mythological scenes that the king’s brother, Cardinal-Infante don Fernando, commissioned Rubens to paint for the Torre de la Parada. The size of the Roman group is the first indication of its importance in the new palace (Text drawn from Úbeda de los Cobos, A. in: El Palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2005, pp. 169-170; 176-180).

Technical data

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Vespasian’s Triumphal Entry in Rome
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Constantine’s Triumphal Entry in Rome
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Sacrifice to Bacchus
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Inventory number
Fracanzano, Cesare
Two Wrestlers
Ca. 1637
Height: 156 cm.; Width: 128 cm.
Historia de Roma Antigua, Palacio del Buen Retiro
Royal Collection (Buen Retiro Palace, Madrid, 1701, no. 404; Buen Retiro Palace, 1794; New Royal Palace, Madrid, "cuarto del capitán de guardias", 1814-1818)

Bibliography +

Inventario de las Pinturas del Museo Hecho a la Muerte del Rey, Madrid, 1834, pp. 26.

Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon : die bildenden Künstler aller Z, Saur, 1916, pp. 269.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del S. XVII en España, Universidad Fundación Valdecilla, Madrid, 1965, pp. 395.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura italiana del siglo XVII: exposición conmemorativa del ciento cincuenta aniversario de la fundación del Museo del Prado, Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, Madrid, 1970, pp. 260.

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

Ponz, Antonio, Viage de España, VI, Madrid, 1972.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 224.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura napolitana: de Caravaggio a Giordano, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 142/ lám.142.

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. 286/ lám.1072.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. nº1155.

Úbeda de los Cobos, Andrés, El Palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro, El Palacio del Rey Planeta. Felipe IV y el Buen Retiro, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2005, pp. 176-180.

Goeppert, S., Pablo Picasso. The Illustrated Books : Catalogue Raisonne, Patrick Cramer, Madrid, 2005, pp. 176-180.

Porzio, Giuseppe, Cesare Francazano: un Compianto sul corpo di Abele e altre restituzioni al suo catalogo, Ricerche sull'arte a Napoli in età moderna, 2013, pp. 80-87 [86].

Della Ragione, Achille., Cesare Fracanzano: opera completa, Edizioni Napoli Arte, 2014, pp. 3,5,6,23,38-39 f.10 L.9.

Other inventories +

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos II, Buen Retiro, 1701-1703. Núm. [404].
[404] Una Pinttura de dos Uaras de altto y Uara y media de ancho de Una lucha de mano de fracanzani con marco tallado y dorado tasada en quarenta Doblones ... 2400

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. s. n..
Cuarto del Capitán de Guardias [...] {22168} Dos varas de alto vara y media de ancho, dos hombres casi desnudos el uno con un paño amarillo y el otro azul = escuela de Velazquez

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 1155.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1155.
Fracanzani (Cesar) / 1155. Dos luchadores. / Alto 5 pies, 7 pulg; ancho 4 pies, 7 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 160.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 142.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 142.

Exhibitions +

I fasti del Conte
14.04.2018 - 30.09.2018

Update date: 09-10-2018 | Registry created on 02-12-2015

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