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Hercules defeats King Geryon
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules defeats King Geryon
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

This painting depicts the moment after Hercules has killed King Geryon, identified by the crown on his head. The monarch had come to defend his herd of oxen and cows after the god Eurystheus had ordered Hercules to steal them.This work is part of a series of ten paintings that Francisco de Zurbarán was commissioned to paint in 1634 as decoration for the Hall of Realms in the Buen Retiro Pal

The Painter Martin Ryckaert
Oil on panel. Ca. 1631
Dyck, Anthony Van
The Painter Martin Ryckaert
Oil on panel. Ca. 1631
Dyck, Anthony Van

The famous Flemish painter is portrayed almost full-length, sitting in a chair and wearing red robes and a fur coat. This landscape painter and contemporary of Van Dyck had no left arm, which is clearly shown, rather than hidden, in this portrait. In keeping with the Northern tradition of portraiture established by Anthonis Mor (1519-1576) and Adriaen Willem Key (1515/1520 - 1568), Van Dyck places

A Sybil
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1632
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
A Sybil
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1632
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y

The first known reference to this work dates from 1746, when an inventory of paintings at the La Granja Palace was drawn up. There, it is attributed to Velázquez and identified as a likeness of his wife, Juana, whose father was the painter, Francisco Pacheco. It also specifies that she is holding a board. The linking of anonymous portraits to the lives of their authors was frequent in the 1

Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier
Oil on canvas. Before 1689
Anonymous
Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier
Oil on canvas. Before 1689
Anonymous

This canvas is one of a group of portraits collected by María Luisa de Orleans (1662-1689), first wife of Carlos II of Spain, which would become part of the Royal Collection. Some of these paintings must have decorated the Queen´s Gallery in the Alcázar (Madrid), a representation space where the Queen launched a decorative and iconographic program of exaltation of her dynasty. Others

Still Life with Cardoon, Francolin, Grapes and Irises
Oil on canvas. 1628
Ramírez, Felipe
Still Life with Cardoon, Francolin, Grapes and Irises
Oil on canvas. 1628
Ramírez, Felipe

Because this work is signed and dated, it reveals the existence of a painter by the name of Felipe Ramírez, although art historians know virtually nothing else about him. This lovely example of his work makes it clear, however, that he continued the tradition of the variety of still life cultivated by Juan Sánchez Cotán (1560-1627), an artist who is considered the most origina

Village Kitchen
Oil on panel. Ca. 1632
Ostade, Adriaen Van
Village Kitchen
Oil on panel. Ca. 1632
Ostade, Adriaen Van

This work belongs to the so-called peasant interiors, one of the new genres of painting that emerged and developed in Flanders and Holland in the early seventeenth century. In Houbraken and in early inventories they are described as een boertje (a little peasant) or as toeback rookerchen (tobacco smokers). The consolidation and appreciation of this genre was fostered by the satirical and moralisin

Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy
Oil on canvas. 1627 - 1632
Dyck, Anthony Van
Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy
Oil on canvas. 1627 - 1632
Dyck, Anthony Van

The saint is depicted leaning on a boulder, in a state of mystical ecstasy following his meditation on death. That meditation is symbolized by the skull, cross and book. He is comforted by a musician angel, as is told in the book The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (Part II, second consideration). This work is from the artist´s second period in Antwerp, where he lived from 1627 to 1632 before leav

The Adoration of the Shepherds
Oil on panel. 1625
Wtewael, Joachim
The Adoration of the Shepherds
Oil on panel. 1625
Wtewael, Joachim

This Adoration of the Shepherds, signed and dated 1625, was executed in the final stage in Wtewael`s career. The intellectual approach to the scene (St Luke 2:15-18), which derives its emotive force from the refined rhythm of contrasting movements and lights, underlines the painter`s faithfulness to the Mannerist aesthetic he learned during his youth in Italy and France.The compositional structure

The Surrender of Jülich
Oil on canvas. 1634 - 1635
Leonardo, Jusepe
The Surrender of Jülich
Oil on canvas. 1634 - 1635
Leonardo, Jusepe

The capitulation of the Rhenish city of Jülich was one of the most outstanding events at the beginning of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Occupied by Maurice of Nassau’s French troops since 1610, Jülich surrendered to an army led by the Marquis of Los Balbases, General Ambrosio de Spínola, who would later triumph at Breda. This event took place after the truce established in 160

Diego del Corral y Arellano
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1632
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
Diego del Corral y Arellano
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1632
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y

Of the people with whom Velázquez must have had contact on a daily basis at the palace, many would have been high functionaries or skilled servants of the court. His own social aspirations included becoming a member of that professional group, which he eventually joined, and he made portraits of some of them, including two now at the Museo del Prado: Diego del Corral, shown here, and his wi

The Apparition of Saint Peter to Saint Peter Nolasco
Oil on canvas. 1629
Zurbarán, Francisco de
The Apparition of Saint Peter to Saint Peter Nolasco
Oil on canvas. 1629
Zurbarán, Francisco de

Saint Peter Nolasco, founded the order of Our Lady of Mercy, also known as the Mercederians, whose main objective was to rescue Christians held captive by the Muslims. The convent of la Merced Calzada for which this work was painted had been founded by Ferdinand III in 1249 -the year Pedro Nolasco died- but it was entirely reconstructed in the early 17th century. In August 1628, Zurbarán wa

Brígida del Río, the Bearded Lady of Peñaranda
Oil on canvas. 1590
Sánchez Cotán, Juan
Brígida del Río, the Bearded Lady of Peñaranda
Oil on canvas. 1590
Sánchez Cotán, Juan

Brígida del Río was a well-known character in the late 16th century, as indicated by the descriptions of her in various literary and visual accounts; works that reflect a para-scientific and morbid interest in natural anomalies and deviations. Bearded women were associated in the collective imagination with lust and devilry. The painting’s meticulous, detailed technique is characteri

Marie de Medici, Queen of France
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1622
Rubens, Peter Paul
Marie de Medici, Queen of France
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1622
Rubens, Peter Paul

Dressed completely in black, with a widow´s headdress and simple jewelry, Marie de Medici is portrayed as the Queen Mother, after having governed France as a Reagent from 1610 to 1617. As one of Rubens´s most outstanding patrons, the queen commissioned him to decorate her Luxemburg Palace in Paris with a series of works that glorified her figure and that of her husband, Henri IV. Rubens began the

Still Life with Artichokes, Flowers and Glass Vessels
Oil on canvas. 1627
Hamen y León, Juan Van Der
Still Life with Artichokes, Flowers and Glass Vessels
Oil on canvas. 1627
Hamen y León, Juan Van Der

This magnificent painting once belonged to Diego Mexía Felípez de Guzmán, Marquis of Leganés, in whose collection it was inventoried in 1655. This collection of nearly 1300 paintings comprised works by some of the most important European painters of the time, including a great number of Flemish still lifes and genre paintings. Van der Hamen was represented by nine still

Anne of Austria, Queen of France
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1622
Rubens, Peter Paul
Anne of Austria, Queen of France
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1622
Rubens, Peter Paul

Felipe III´s daughter, Anne of Austria, married young Louis XIII in 1615. She is depicted wearing black, French-style clothing, seated under a green canopy that is embroidered with fleurs de lis from the Bourbon family coat of arms. The portrait is set in the Hall of Caryatids of the Louvre Royal Palace, seat of the government. Thus, this is an official portrait and an example of Rubens´ capacity

The Crucified Christ
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1632
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
The Crucified Christ
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1632
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y

Stylistically, this work appears to have been made in the early 1630s -soon after the artist returned from Italy- and most authors date it from around 1632. The Apollonian perfection of the anatomy and the figure`s pale complexion recall the neo-Attic character of Guido Reni`s work, but it must have been Velázquez`s intention to imbue the figure with a divine and ineffable beauty, reflectin

Diana and a Nymph Discovered by a Satyr
Oil on canvas. 1622 - 1627
Dyck, Anthony Van (Workshop Of)
Diana and a Nymph Discovered by a Satyr
Oil on canvas. 1622 - 1627
Dyck, Anthony Van (Workshop Of)

From the 1857 Inventory of the Royal Museum through 2002, this work was listed as Diana and Endymion Discovered by a Satyr, but L. Ruiz has demonstrated that the scene is Diana and a Nymph Discovered by a Satyr, as the figure sleeping alongside Diana is female. Her body, completely covered by a bluish tunic, and her pearl necklace in no way recall Endymion’s masculine appearance. The satyr was a n

The Washing of the Feet
Oil on canvas. 1548 - 1549
Tintoretto, Jacopo Robusti
The Washing of the Feet
Oil on canvas. 1548 - 1549
Tintoretto, Jacopo Robusti

This scene from the New Testament (John 13, 1-20) shows the moment just before the Last Supper, when Jesus washed Saint Peter´s feet as an example of humility and service to others. The displacement of the main characters, Christ and Saint Peter, to one end of the composition is due to the original location of this work on the right wall of the presbytery of San Marcuola, where the image of Christ

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