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The Immaculate Conception
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1645
Castillo Saavedra, Antonio del
The Immaculate Conception
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1645
Castillo Saavedra, Antonio del

All parts of this extraordinarily meticulous work are related to each other from a formal and iconographic standpoint. The Virgin appears in the foreground, where she occupies a considerable portion of the pictorial surface. This insures her powerful presence, and the painter emphasizes it with a very elaborate frame that fills the image with meaning. There are two clearly differentiated parts, th

Saint Paul the Hermit
Oil on canvas. 1635 - 1640
Ribera, Jusepe de, lo Spagnoletto
Saint Paul the Hermit
Oil on canvas. 1635 - 1640
Ribera, Jusepe de, lo Spagnoletto

The thin naked torso, the cloth made from rushes, the skull and the book suggest that the figure in the painting is a hermit; the bread crust in the foreground tells us that it is Saint Paul, the first hermit, who was brought half a loaf of bread every day by a raven.

Garland with the Virgin and Child
Oil on copperplate. 1644
Seghers, Daniel
Garland with the Virgin and Child
Oil on copperplate. 1644
Seghers, Daniel

Seghers trained in Antwerp and was a member of the Jesuit Order. Around 1640 he started to paint reliefs with religious motifs framed by garlands. Works of this type proclaimed the legitimacy of images as objects of veneration.

Smokers and Drinkers
Oil on panel. 1652
Teniers The Younger, David
Smokers and Drinkers
Oil on panel. 1652
Teniers The Younger, David

Three figures enjoy tobacco in an expressive manner in the foreground while an onlooker leans through the window. Around a table in the background, another group of figures drinks or plays cards. This is an example of scenes inside taverns with smokers, drinkers and players, which Teniers made during the sixteen thirties. He began with figures by his teacher, Adriaen Brouwer (1605/1606-1638), whic

The Surrender of Breda
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1635
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
The Surrender of Breda
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1635
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y

On June 5, 1625 the Dutch governor of Breda, Justinus van Nassau, surrendered the keys of that city to Ambrosio Spínola, the Genoese general commanding the Spanish tercios (a group of soldiers that included pikemen, swordsmen and musketeers) of Flanders. Breda`s extraordinary strategic importance made it one of the most disputed cities in the Spanish monarchy`s prolonged war against the Uni

Penitent Magdalen
Oil on canvas. 1645 - 1649
Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri)
Penitent Magdalen
Oil on canvas. 1645 - 1649
Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri)

María Magdalena es una de las santas más célebres del cristianismo, por haber conocido a Cristo y porque representó el paradigma de la mujer arrepentida. En su etapa de vida mundana suele caracterizarse con ricas vestiduras. Cuando se muestra como mujer arrepentida -como en esta pintura de Guercino- aparece semidesnuda y con largos cabellos, adorando el crucifijo. Otros dos de sus atributos más re

The Embarkation of Saint Paula
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1639
Claude (Lorrain, Byname Of Claude Gellée)
The Embarkation of Saint Paula
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1639
Claude (Lorrain, Byname Of Claude Gellée)

A noble Roman widow and mother of five children, Saint Paula decided to retreat to the desert and abandon her worldly ways in favour of a life of prayer and penitence. In 285 AD she abandoned Rome with her son, Eustace, and moved to Antioch, where she joined Saint Jerome to share a hermit’s life. Claude Lorrain’s painting depicts her departure, offering an imaginary recreation of the port of Ostia

Cats fighting in a Larder
Oil on canvas. 1630 - 1640
Vos, Paul de
Cats fighting in a Larder
Oil on canvas. 1630 - 1640
Vos, Paul de

With the owners or house servants away, the animals sneak into the larder, giving free rein to their instincts. This leads to a fight. Scenes of animal fights in domestic settings were customary in mid-seventeenth-century Flemish painting. They were also frequent in the literature of proverbs, where they were interpreted as moral allusions to the abandonment of responsibilities and their consequen

Saint Agatha
Oil on unlined canvas. Ca. 1635
Vaccaro, Andrea
Saint Agatha
Oil on unlined canvas. Ca. 1635
Vaccaro, Andrea

The Sicilian saint looks imploringly to heaven as she is martyred and both her breasts cut off. The work of the Neapolitan Vaccaro reveals the influence of Guido Reni, here evident in the saint’s mystic pose and the calm resignation with which she accepts her fate.

Abraham and the three Angels
Oil on panel. Ca. 1640
Bramer, Leonaert
Abraham and the three Angels
Oil on panel. Ca. 1640
Bramer, Leonaert

The date of this painting has been the subject of critical debate for over a century. The 1889 edition of the Prado catalogue states that it was signed but fails to mention a date. The 1910 version describes it as being signed and dated in 1620. The question is not addressed in subsequent publications until that of 1985, which refers to it as being signed and dated in 1630, the year that is again

Isabel de Borbón, Wife of Philip IV
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1620
Villandrando, Rodrigo de
Isabel de Borbón, Wife of Philip IV
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1620
Villandrando, Rodrigo de

The daughter of Henri IV of France and Marie de Médicis, Isabel de Borbón (1603-1644) was the first wife of Philip IV and the mother of Prince Baltasar Carlos and María Teresa of Austria. In Villandrando’s portrait, painted a year before Isabel became Queen of Spain, she wears a stiff, sumptuous dress that emphasises her presence and royal status. Although Spanish in cut, the

Landscape with Mercury and Herse
Oil on panel. Ca. 1635
Francken II, Frans; Wildens, Jan
Landscape with Mercury and Herse
Oil on panel. Ca. 1635
Francken II, Frans; Wildens, Jan

In The Metamorphosis, the poet Ovid very precisely describes the moment when Mercury, on his way to Athens, met a group of Nymphs carrying offerings to the goddess Palas. Mercury immediately fell in love with Herse, the most beautiful of all. The canvas, with an extremely horizontal format, sets the scene in a wooded landscape where the nymphs chat and play on their way towards the temple in the b

Kitchen Still Life
Oil on canvas. Mid-XVIIcentury
Ponce, Antonio
Kitchen Still Life
Oil on canvas. Mid-XVIIcentury
Ponce, Antonio

Several aspects of this undated work indicate it was painted during the transition between the first and second halves of the 17th century. It clearly draws on Van der Hamen but some smaller details appear to foreshadow the baroque tendencies explored by Pereda in that century’s sixth decade, when Philip IV’s (1621-1665) reign was beginning to decline. And as Pérez Sánchez pointed ou

The Archery Contest
Oil on panel. Ca. 1645
Teniers The Younger, David
The Archery Contest
Oil on panel. Ca. 1645
Teniers The Younger, David

A group of villagers pass the time by testing their aim with a bow. One shoots at the target placed in the ruins of a wall while the others look on, standing or sitting, and a small group converse. The horizontal layout of this composition is more pronounced than in other scenes by this painter, which reinforces the idea of movement in the event. Stylistic motives like the evening light that flood

Still Life with a silver tazza, a roemer and oysters
Oil on panel. 1632
Heda, Willem Claesz
Still Life with a silver tazza, a roemer and oysters
Oil on panel. 1632
Heda, Willem Claesz

The painting belongs to the type of still life designated by Vroom as monochrome banketjes, pieces first executed by Heda towards the end of the 1620s that became very popular in the Netherlands and abroad, as illustrated by the fact that there were two in the inventory of Rubens´s property. There are sufficient grounds to interpret these compositions as moralising, religious or allegorical works.

Agnus Dei
Oil on canvas. 1635 - 1640
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Agnus Dei
Oil on canvas. 1635 - 1640
Zurbarán, Francisco de

A dark background and a gray table are the setting for this painting’s only motive: a merino lamb between eight and twelve months old. Still alive, it lies with bound feet in an unmistakably sacrificial posture curiously reminiscent of famous images of martyred saints like Stefano Maderno’s moving sculpture of Saint Cecilia at the basilica of Santa Cecilia in Rome. The painter draws on Zurbar&aacu

February. Winter still life
Oil on canvas. 1640
Barrera, Francisco
February. Winter still life
Oil on canvas. 1640
Barrera, Francisco

The inscription, February, indicates that this still life belongs to a series on the twelve months of the year, of which at least five others have been located. Each depicts foodstuffs, floral elements or landscapes from its corresponding month. Here, hunting game is the predominant theme, especially birds, and there is also an interesting allusion to chocolate. While the latter was drunk for most

The Birth of the Virgin
Oil on canvas. 1650 - 1660
Quellinus, Erasmus
The Birth of the Virgin
Oil on canvas. 1650 - 1660
Quellinus, Erasmus

El pintor de Amberes Erasmus Quellinus II trabajó con Rubens en los inicios de su carrera en proyectos como la Pompa Introitus Ferdinandi (1635) y la decoración de la Torre de la Parada (1636-1638), desarrollando un estilo muy próximo al de su maestro. Desde 1640 aproximadamente, y más claramente a partir de 1650, su estilo se vuelve sin embargo más personal, más clásico en sus formas y en sus mod

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