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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.

Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Lerma
Oil on canvas. 1603
Rubens, Peter Paul
Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Lerma
Oil on canvas. 1603
Rubens, Peter Paul

Felipe III´s favorite, Francisco de Sandoval y Rojas, Marquis of Denia and First Duke of Lerma is shown as chief of the Spanish Armies. Wearing half armor, he rides a white steed and carries a ruler´s staff. The scallop of the Knights of Saint James at his neck is the only decorative element in this portrait, whose decidedly military orientation is reinforced by the cavalry battle in t

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

Democritus of Abdera (460-370 B.C.) is the pictorial pendant of Heraclitus (P01680) as well as his philosophical counterpoint. Wearing bright colors, he laughs sarcastically while contemplating a globe of the Earth, alluding to his concept of the comic meaning of life. During the Modern Age, this was interpreted on the basis of Christian precepts as a message alluding to the vanity of earthly life

Perejón, Buffoon of the Count of Benavente and of the Grand Duke of Alba
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1560
Mor, Anthonis
Perejón, Buffoon of the Count of Benavente and of the Grand Duke of Alba
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1560
Mor, Anthonis

The doubts that existed regarding the dating of this work were increased when the sitter was identified. He is documented from 1544 in the accounts of Prince Philip (later Philip II) as Pero Hernández de la Cruz, known as Perejón, one of the two ‘Pericos’ whose role at Court was to amuse the prince. The inventory of the Alcázar in Madrid of 1636 confirms this identification th

Pablo de Valladolid
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1635
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
Pablo de Valladolid
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1635
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y

There were two categories of royal jesters: those whose attractiveness was based on their physical or mental limitations, and those who, lacking any such handicap, entertained with their personality or wit. Pablo de Valladolid was one of the latter. Born in Vallecas in 1587, he died in December 1648 after serving the court since 1632. His declamatory pose here led the painting to be identified as

The Buffoon Barbarroja, Cristóbal de Castañeda y Pernia
Oil on canvas. 1633
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
The Buffoon Barbarroja, Cristóbal de Castañeda y Pernia
Oil on canvas. 1633
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y

The model’s identity is known through the 1701 inventory of the Buen Retiro Palace, which lists a painting two-and-a-third rods high and one-and-a-half rods wide, which is another portrait of a buffoon with Turkish-style clothing named Pernea by Velázquez’s hand and unfinished. This description makes it possible to identify him as don Cristóbal de Castañeda y Pernia, a buffoon

Infante Don Carlos
Oil on canvas. 1626 - 1627
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
Infante Don Carlos
Oil on canvas. 1626 - 1627
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y

Following his appointment as painter to the King in 1623, Velázquez`s principal task was that of portraying the monarch and his circle. In order to do so he primarily made use of two different typologies: bust-length and full-length portraits, in which the sitters are represented standing and close to the picture plane. Among the characteristics that define the latter group are a limited ch

The Buffoon Francisco Bazán
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1680
Carreño de Miranda, Juan
The Buffoon Francisco Bazán
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1680
Carreño de Miranda, Juan

Francisco Bazán was a buffoon at the court of Charles II between 1676 and 1689. Carreño, who was reaching the end of his career when he painted this work, depicts the sitter as if delivering a note. The composition and way of inserting the figure into the pictorial space recall Velázquez’s portrait of Pablo de Valladolid.

Manuela Isidra Téllez-Girón, future Duchess of Abrantes
Oil on canvas. 1797
Esteve, Agustín
Manuela Isidra Téllez-Girón, future Duchess of Abrantes
Oil on canvas. 1797
Esteve, Agustín

Here Esteve combines the influence of Velázquez’s use of indefinite spaces with Murillo’s grace and chromatic harmony and Goya’s loose, precise technique. Considered the artist’s finest portrait, this image is notable both for its expressivity and the artist’s ability to depict the transparency of the dress, a type of light garment recommended by late 18th-century doctors as appropriate wea

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