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Watching the Hunt in Aranjuez
Martínez del Mazo, Juan Bautista
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Martínez del Mazo, Juan Bautista

¿Beteta? (Cuenca), 1611 - Madrid, 1667

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Watching the Hunt in Aranjuez

Ca. 1640. Oil on canvas. Not on display

Aranjuez, some 40 kilometres from Madrid, was one of the so-called royal residences (Sitios Reales) all situated within a radius of less than 80 kilometres from the capital that were intended for the relaxation of the king and his court. Aranjuez´s location on the shores of the Tajo River, amid fertile countryside, led Philip II to construct a palace that was gradually expanded by his successors, becoming one of the royal residences most frequented by the court during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Unlike other places, such as the Casa de Campo, Valsaín or, above all, the El Pardo Palace, the principal appeal of Aranjuez for the court did not lie in its forests well-stocked with game, but, rather, in the splendid gardens that were generously irrigated by the adjacent river, which provided the ideal setting for social gatherings. Nevertheless, hunting was also a pastime celebrated in Aranjuez, as this canvas illustrates. Each year in May, a large hunt was typically organised, for which a large stretch of land was enclosed and into which the hunters would corral big game. Once enclosed, the animals would be directed toward a narrow passage fenced off by a cloth structure, where the king and members of his court would kill their prey. The queen and her ladies-in-waiting attended the spectacle, seated on wooden bleachers or a tabladillo (small stage) placed at one end of the fenced passage, as we see represented in this painting. In the background we can also make out the palace and the tops of the trees in the gardens of Aranjuez. We would be wrong, however, to view this painting as merely a representation of a hunting scene. The hunt for big game and all the paraphernalia that typically accompanied that activity were closely linked to the life of the king and his court. Hunting scenes like the one, set around the tabladillo, implied a capacity to organise such large-scale events, a control over the land and a degree of economic power only possessed by a few. The hunt in general -it was often said- was an image of war and, consequently, was an exercise that the king, the prince and his court were obliged to practise. Yet hunting parties as complex as this one also became images of the court, in which each estate and each individual was assigned a specific place and role. From that point of view, this canvas is one of the most important examples of self-representation produced in the court of Philip IV. In the foreground, several important figures from the court can be identified. Philip IV is easily recognisable standing next to a white horse, as he is the male character who is most sumptuously dressed. The king is engaged in conversation with Gaspar de Guzmán, the Count-Duke of Olivares, his prime minister. On the right stand a wide variety of courtiers, among whom we do not fail to find a dwarf standing next to a dog that is very similar to the one in Dwarf with a dog c.1640, by an artist in the circle of Diego Velázquez (P1203). The presence of the dwarf also confirms the courtly nature of the scene. In addition, Élisabeth, the queen consort of Spain, has presumably arrived in the red coach seen on the far right, and is represented seated on the tabladillo surrounded by her ladies-in-waiting. This painting is dated to the last years of the 1630s and is the work of Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo, to whom it was attributed in the royal inventories from the seventeenth century. The painting follows the model established by Velázquez, Mazo´s father-in-law, in Philip IV hunting wild boar (also known as La Tela Real or The royal enclosure) c.1632–37, now in the National Gallery, London, which portrays a hunting scene at El Pardo. In Velázquez´s painting, there also appears a frieze of standing figures in the foreground, who serve to introduce the activities of the hunting party in the distance (Portús, J.: Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado, Queensland Art Gallery-Art Exhibitions Australia, 2012, p. 108).


Technical data

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Inventory number
Martínez del Mazo, Juan Bautista
Watching the Hunt in Aranjuez
Ca. 1640
Height: 187 cm; Width: 249 cm
Royal Collection (Alcázar Palace, Madrid, 1666; Royal Palace of El Pardo, 1714); José Bonaparte Collection; Lord Ashburton Collection, Bath-House, Londres; Sedlmayer Collection; Marcel Nemes Collection; acquired in Munich, with funds from the Legacy of Count of Cartagena, 1934

Bibliography +

Inventario: Palacio de Madrid. I. Pinturas, [s.n], Madrid, 1686, pp. nº4156.

A Stag-Hunt of King Philip IV of Spain by Diego Velazquez., Charles Sedelmeyer, París, 1913, pp. 5-11.

Beruete y Moret, Aureliano de, La Paleta de Velázquez. Coferencia leída en la inauguracion del Curso de 1920-21, Ateneo de Madrid, Suc. De M.Minuesa de los Rios, Madrid, 1922, pp. 30.

Palomino de Castro y Velasco, Acisclo Antonio, El Museo Pictórico y Escala Óptica, I y II, Aguilar, Madrid, 1947, pp. 962.

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier; Pita Andrade, José Manuel, Los retratos de los Reyes de España, Omega, Barcelona, 1948, pp. 144 / lám. VII.

Justi, Carl, Velázquez y su siglo, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1953, pp. 378.

López Rey, José, Velázquez: a catalogue raisonné of his oeuvre, Faber and Faber, Londres, 1963, pp. 170, nº142.

Camón Aznar, José1898-1979, Velázquez, II, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1964, pp. 601.

Ars hispaniae: historia universal del arte hispánico, Plus Ultra, Madrid, 1971, pp. 210.

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

Dickens, A.G., The Courts of Europe. Politics, Patronage and Royalty. 1400-, Thames and Hudson, Londres ; Nueva York, 1977, pp. 181.

El arte en la época de Calderón, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1981, pp. nº40.

Pita Andrade, José Manuel, Ob el Grieka Ob Goje, Narodni Muzei, Belgrado, 1981, pp. 72.

Bernis, Carmen, ''El traje de viudas y dueñas en los cuadros de Velázquez y su escuela'' en: Miscelánea de arte, Instituto ''Diego Velázquez'', Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid, 1982.

Menéndez Pidal, Ramón, Historia de España. La España de Felipe IV, XXV, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1982, pp. lám. 127.

Evaristo Casariego, J., La caza en el arte español, El Viso, Madrid, 1982, pp. 170.

López Rey, José, Velázquez, Compañía Internacional Editora, Barcelona, 1984.

Gállego, Julián1919-2006, Goya y la Caza, Ediciones el Viso, Madrid, 1985, pp. 68.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 401-402.

Duvosquel, Jean-Marie; Vandevivere, Ignace (eds.), Splendeurs d'Espagne et les villes belges: 1500-1700, Europalia 85 España. Crédit Communal, Bruselas, 1985, pp. 634.

Menendez Pidal, Ramón, Historia de España.Vol.XXVI.El Siglo del Quijote.1.Religion,..., Espasa: Calpe, Madrid, 1986, pp. 285 / lám. 126.

Ayala, Nina, Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo. Retratos y paisajes., Goya: Revista de Arte, 221, 1991, pp. 274 / lám. 21.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Madrid, 1994, pp. 116.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996, pp. nº1667.

Justi, Carl, Velázquez y su siglo, Espasa-Calpe, 1999, pp. 353-355.

Portús Pérez, Javier, La colección de pintura española en el Museo del Prado, Edilupa, Madrid, 2003, pp. 182.

Solano Oropesa, Carlos, Juan Bauptta Martinez del Maço. Pintor de Camara de Felipe IV, Excma. Diputacion, 2004, pp. 154-159.

Weniger, Matthias, Greco, Velazquez, Goya : Spanische Malereiaus Deutschen Sam..., Prestel, München ; Berlin ; London, 2005, pp. 200.

López Álvarez, Alejandro, 'Vehiculos representativos en la monarquía hispana de los siglos XVI y XVII' en Historia del carruaje en España, Fomento de Construcciones y Contr, Madrid, 2005, pp. 143.

El Greco, Velazquez, Goya :five centuries of spanish master..., Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, 2006, pp. 52.

Oliván Santaliestra, Laura, 'Decía que no se dejaba retratar de buena gana' Modestia e invisibilidad de la reina Isabel de Borbón (1635-1644), Goya: Revista de Arte, 338, 2012, pp. 16-35 [25].

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from The Prado, Queensland Art Gallery, 2012, pp. 108-109 nº 15.

Kientz, G.K, 'D.Rodríguez de Silva Velázquez. Portrait de l'Infant Baltasar Carlos' En:, Velázquez, Réunion des musées nationaux-Grand Palais: Louvre..., Paris, 2015, pp. 278 f.66.

Bake-ituna / Tratado de Paz /Traité de Paix / Peace Treaty, Fundación Donostia/San Sebastián, San Sebastián, 2016, pp. E.5, 257.

Olivan Santaliestra, L, 'The representational strategies of the Count-Duke of Olivares and Elisabeth of France: equestrian portraits, guardainfantes and miniature (1628-1644)' En: The Age of Rubens: diplomacy, dynastic politics and the visual arts in early seventeenth-century Europe., Brepols,, Turnhout, 2016, pp. 213-234 [228 f.12 lám 18].

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.33.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1667.
Autor, Mazo. / 1667. Asunto, Cacería del tabladillo, en Aranjuez. / Lienzo, 249 x 187 cm. / Nº catalogo, 2571. Adquirido en 1934 con fondos del legado Cartagena

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

Tratado de Paz
San Sebastián
17.06.2016 - 02.10.2016

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

Desde El Greco hasta Goya - Budapest
26.01.2006 - 14.05.2006

Displayed objects +


Update date: 13-01-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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