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Lady with a Yellow Flower
Oil on panel. Ca. 1567
Cronenburch, Adriaen Van
Lady with a Yellow Flower
Oil on panel. Ca. 1567
Cronenburch, Adriaen Van

These four portraits of women, two double ones and two single ones (P02074, P02075 and P02076) presented standing and down to kneelevel, use the same architectural setting. The series is given visual unity by the use of a central niche and two more, barely visible ones at the sides, separated by masonry pillars and decorated with small lions’ heads in the centre.This use of shared elements is prob

The Rape of Europe
Oil on panel. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul
The Rape of Europe
Oil on panel. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul

Europe turns a last glance at her companions, who are located outside the composition, as Jupiter carries her away. The god was profoundly enamored of her and transformed into a bull in order to approach her. This story from Ovid´s Metamorphoses is depicted by Rubens in a very succinct manner in this preparatory sketch for a painting Erasmus Quellinus made for the Torre de la Parada.

Still Life with a Maid
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1633
Snyders, Frans
Still Life with a Maid
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1633
Snyders, Frans

This opulent still-life scene typical of the Baroque Flemish school includes a human figure and two animals, as was common in the period, in accordance with the tastes of the clients, whose wealth and prosperity was also reflected in this genre of paintings. Snyders´ clientele were members of the nobility and haute bourgeoisie who were interested in his paintings as testimonies to wealth as well a

The Apotheosis of Hercules
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Borkens, Jean Baptiste
The Apotheosis of Hercules
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Borkens, Jean Baptiste

Hércules aparece en obras de autores como Homero, Hesidodo y Peisandros de Rodas, supuesto escritor de sus doce trabajos. También Ovidio habla de él de manera breve en las Metamorfosis, concretamente para este episodio en el Libro IX, (268-272): "(...) Así el tirintio, cuando se desprendió de los miembros mortales, cobra vigor en su parte más noble, y empieza a parecer más grande y a inspirar resp

Plate with Plums and Morello Cherries
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1631
Hamen y León, Juan Van Der
Plate with Plums and Morello Cherries
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1631
Hamen y León, Juan Van Der

Juan van der Hamen y León´s output alternates between compositionally complex still lifes and works that are smaller in size and constructed more simply, such as this canvas. It depicts a pewter, possibly silver, plate holding a small pile of plums (or sloes), and cherries. As is habitual in this type of work, the plate is placed in the close foreground, sitting on the edge of a stone ledge

A Larder
Oil on canvas. Before 1636
Snyders, Frans
A Larder
Oil on canvas. Before 1636
Snyders, Frans

Snyders invented a type of scene of domestic interiors in which animals are the principal protagonists. Here a dog which has entered a larder and taken a large piece of meat is looking defiantly at another one chewing a string of sausages. The overturned basket of fruit and the broken china indicate the damage caused by their violence.

The Persecution of the Harpies
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Quellinus, Erasmus
The Persecution of the Harpies
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Quellinus, Erasmus

Las Harpías, seres mitológicos mitad mujer mitad pájaro, son perseguidas por Zetes y Calais, los hijos alados de Boreas. Esta historia es narrada por Ovidio pero de manera muy breve en las Metamorfosis en el libro VII (3-4): "(...) Los jóvenes hijos del Aquilón habían ahuyentado de la boca del desdichado anciano a los pájaros con cabeza de doncella”. Sin embargo S. Alpers, autora del único estudio

The Sense of Hearing
Oil on panel. 1617 - 1618
Rubens, Peter Paul; Brueghel The Elder, Jan (Jan 'velvet' Brueghel)
The Sense of Hearing
Oil on panel. 1617 - 1618
Rubens, Peter Paul; Brueghel The Elder, Jan (Jan 'velvet' Brueghel)

This set of paintings on the five senses (Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, Touch) was one of the most successful collaborations of Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel “the elder.” Rubens placed his figures in the magnificent courtly scenes created by Brueghel as settings for these allegories of the senses, resulting in a series of enormous quality and esthetic appeal. The subject was widely employed i

Orpheus and Eurydice
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)
Orpheus and Eurydice
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)

Orpheus descends into the Underworld to recover his wife, Eurydice, who died after being bitten by a serpent. Pluto and Proserpina, the god and goddess of the underworld, are so moved by the music of his lyre that they accede to his request. The only condition they impose is that he contains his desire and not look at his beloved until they have both fully departed the underworld. On the basis of

Deucalion and Pyrrha
Oil on panel. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul
Deucalion and Pyrrha
Oil on panel. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul

Humanity´s rebirth after the flood is represented in Greek mythology through the story of Deucalion and Pyrrha. After surviving the disaster, they threw stones over their shoulders, each of which became a new being. This story is told by the classical poet, Ovid, in his Metamorphoses. This painting is a sketch by Rubens for a painting —now lost— by Jan Cossiers for the Torre de la Parada. Rubens w

Bacchus and Ariadne
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Quellinus, Erasmus
Bacchus and Ariadne
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Quellinus, Erasmus

La historia de Ariadna y el dios tiene dos momentos fundamentales: uno es el encuentro entre ellos en la isla de Naxos después de que ésta fuera abandonada allí por Teseo, tema que representó Tiziano para Alfonso I de Este y que ceunta Ovidio en las Metamorfosis en el libro VIII (174-182): "(...) El hijo de Egeo raptó a la hija de Minos, largó velas rumbo a Día, y en aquella playa abandonó, cruel,

The Immaculate Conception as a Child
Oil on canvas. 1656
Zurbarán, Francisco de
The Immaculate Conception as a Child
Oil on canvas. 1656
Zurbarán, Francisco de

The Virgin Mary is presented as a little girl with her hands crossed over her chest. Wearing blue and white, she ascends on a group of angels’ heads as the heavens open to welcome her. This differs from earlier versions of the same subject by Zurbarán in its lack of symbols of the litanies and in the presence of a group of singing angels that occupy the entire bottom of the painting and are

Saint Augustine meditating on the Trinity
Oil on canvas. 1636
Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri)
Saint Augustine meditating on the Trinity
Oil on canvas. 1636
Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri)

According to this saint´s story, he was walking along the seaside meditating about the mystery of the Holy Trinity when he saw a boy filling a hole in the sand with seawater. Saint Augustine asked what he was doing and the boy answered that he was trying to empty the sea by pouring all its water into that hole. Upon hearing his answer, the saint said that that was impossible. The boy´s answer was

Landscape with a Carthusian (Saint Bruno?)
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Swanevelt, Herman Van
Landscape with a Carthusian (Saint Bruno?)
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Swanevelt, Herman Van

The painting entered the Museum holdings as an original work by Jan Both. In 1959 Blunt identifies it as the landscape listed in the 1701 inventory of the Palace of the Buen Retiro and maintains the attribution to Both, as does Roethlisberger (1961). However, Waddingham (1960) ascribes it to Herman van Swanevelt, an attribution backed by Luna (1984) and officially adopted by the Museum in 1985. Th

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

Heraclitus, the Crying Philosopher
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)
Heraclitus, the Crying Philosopher
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)

The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus of Ephesus (540-470 B.C.), wears a black tunic and leans on a stone, weeping. He embodies the idea of a tragic sense of life, thinking about the future form a lonely and pessimistic point of view. This work was made for the Torre de la Parada, a small royal palace near Madrid, and contrasts with the thinking of Democritus (P01682), with which it was paired.

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

Lady and Girl
Oil on panel. 1567
Cronenburch, Adriaen Van
Lady and Girl
Oil on panel. 1567
Cronenburch, Adriaen Van

These four portraits of women, two double ones and two single ones (P02073, P02074 and P02076) presented standing and down to kneelevel, use the same architectural setting. The series is given visual unity by the use of a central niche and two more, barely visible ones at the sides, separated by masonry pillars and decorated with small lions’ heads in the centre.This use of shared elements is prob

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