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Saint John the Evangelist in Patmos
Oil on canvas. 1612 - 1614
Maíno, Fray Juan Bautista
Saint John the Evangelist in Patmos
Oil on canvas. 1612 - 1614
Maíno, Fray Juan Bautista

On 14 February 1612 Juan Bautista Maíno signed the contract to execute the paintings for the monastery church of San Pedro Mártir in Toledo. Maíno agreed to a period of eight months to make the paintings, which had to portray the scenes and episodes specified by the prior of the monastery. Despite the agreement reached in the contract, the paintings were not completed until De

Saint Francis comforted by an Angel
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1620
Ribalta, Francisco
Saint Francis comforted by an Angel
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1620
Ribalta, Francisco

Toward the end of the 17th century, Saint Francis’s iconography expanded as many of the classical biographic themes were replaced with more complex episodes -especially trance visions- mystical ecstasies that reflected the new Baroque esthetic and offered, in the case of Saint Francis, a new approach to the depiction of a figure whose life was being presented by his Order in terms of biographical

The dead Christ
Oil on canvas. 1663
Escalante, Juan Antonio de Frías y
The dead Christ
Oil on canvas. 1663
Escalante, Juan Antonio de Frías y

In this painting, following His crucifixion and descent from the Cross, the body of Christ lies upon a white cloth. On His left is a beam of the cross bearing the sign that identifies Him as King of the Jews and the skull that, according to tradition, indicated that Calvary had been the burial site of Adam. At the other end of the painting, a washbasin recalls the tradition of the arma Christi, an

The Virgin and Child
Oil on canvas. 1645 - 1652
Cano, Alonso
The Virgin and Child
Oil on canvas. 1645 - 1652
Cano, Alonso

With its very straightforward composition, this painting has the serenity and restfulness that characterize many of Alonso Cano´s religious works. The painter´s skill at assimilating the most varied influences is evident here: the composition is based on a well-known religious print by Dürer, while the palette bears a certain resemblance to Titian´s, and the Virgin is quite close to Rafael´s

And They Still Say Fish Is Expensive!
Oil on canvas. 1894
Sorolla y Bastida, Joaquín
And They Still Say Fish Is Expensive!
Oil on canvas. 1894
Sorolla y Bastida, Joaquín

This emblematic picture is undoubtedly the best-known work on a social theme produced by Sorolla in his youth. It is also an especially good example of how fully the artist became involved in a genre which, at the time, was of particular relevance in Madrid’s official artistic circles, where Sorolla was determined to receive his first public recognition. The depth of its meaning is probably indica

Still Life with Animals
Oil on canvas. 1680 - 1690
Hondecoeter, Melchior D´
Still Life with Animals
Oil on canvas. 1680 - 1690
Hondecoeter, Melchior D´

The painting featured here is an example of the characteristic compositions with poultry in which D`Hondecoeter specialised. This type of painting was brought to Utrecht in 1619 by Roeland Savery (1576-1639), who had, in turn, been introduced to this genre -of which the most prominent and influential practitioner was Frans Snyders (1592-1667)- while at the court of Rudolf II of Prague.D`Hondecoete

The Burial of Christ
Oil on canvas. 1572
Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
The Burial of Christ
Oil on canvas. 1572
Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)

Titian represented the Gospel account of the burial of Christ (Matthew 27: 57-61; Mark 15: 44-47; Luke 23: 50-54; John 19: 38-42) on several occasions. There is a notable difference between his first version (Paris, Louvre) of around 1526 which is clearly indebted to Raphael´s painting of that subject (Rome, Galleria Borghese), and his other versions painted between 1559 and 1572. The main differe

The Good Shepherd
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1660
Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban
The Good Shepherd
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1660
Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban

In a landscape with classical ruins that allude to the defeat of paganism, the Christ Child tends a lamb. Murillo based this image on a print by Stefano della Bella (1610-1664), while making use of his outstanding ability to depict children to create one of the most effective depictions of the parable of the Good Shepherd.

Hercules and the Erymanthian Boar
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules and the Erymanthian Boar
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

Hercules’s encounter with the Erimanthean bore is not the best known of his labors. At first glance, it would appear to be nothing more than a new demonstration of his capacity to vanquish evil and save humanity from its excesses. Zurbarán’s depiction places the hero in the foreground at the center of the composition. He is about to kill the colossal wild bore that was laying waste to the l

Hercules and the Hydra
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules and the Hydra
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

The inhabitants of Lerna were terrorized by a multiheaded serpent that left a path of destruction behind. The creature was impossible to defeat because every time it lost one head, two grew in its place. Drawing on his ingenuity, Hercules cornered the serpent with fire and killed it with his club, an episode pictured in Hercules and the Hydra. Grasping his club with a powerful gesture, Hercules is

The Virgin Nursing the Child
Oil on panel. Ca. 1565
Morales, Luis de
The Virgin Nursing the Child
Oil on panel. Ca. 1565
Morales, Luis de

These works (P944 and P7948) embody a more decorous variation of the breastfeeding Madonna, a reference to the succour afforded by the Virgin to all believers. Morales designed a composition which avoids both the representation of Mary’s nude breast and explicit lactation. With both hands, Mary holds a Child who seeks maternal consolation, lifting the veil with one hand and touching the modestly c

The Virgin nursing the Child
Oil on panel. 1560 - 1565
Morales, Luis de
The Virgin nursing the Child
Oil on panel. 1560 - 1565
Morales, Luis de

These works (P7948 and P944) embody a more decorous variation of the breastfeeding Madonna, a reference to the succour afforded by the Virgin to all believers. Morales designed a composition which avoids both the representation of Mary’s nude breast and explicit lactation. With both hands, Mary holds a Child who seeks maternal consolation, lifting the veil with one hand and touching the modestly c

The Infant Christ and Saint John the Baptist with a Shell
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1670
Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban
The Infant Christ and Saint John the Baptist with a Shell
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1670
Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban

The combination of tangible reality with a visionary and spiritual atmosphere was one of the features that explain the fascination exerted by Murillo’s works, many of them extremely popular, which is why the Catholic Church used his images for the following three centuries. A fair number of his themes are not specifically described in the Bible and some, such as the scenes from the childhood of Ch

Hercules fighting the Nemean Lion
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules fighting the Nemean Lion
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

A lion was ravishing the region of Nemea and frightening its inhabitants to such a degree that they could no longer work the land. The Marquis of Villena’s Twelve Labors of Hercules, along with Juan Pérez de Moya’s Secret Philosophy (1585) and Baltasar de Victoria’s Theater of the Gods of the Pagan World (1620-1624), were almost certainly the reference texts for the conception of the Labors

Andromeda
Oil on canvas. Third quarter of the XVII century
Escalante, Juan Antonio de Frías y
Andromeda
Oil on canvas. Third quarter of the XVII century
Escalante, Juan Antonio de Frías y

Chained to a boulder, Andromeda occupies the left side of the composition, while the right opens onto a seascape from which a monster emerges to threaten the mythological heroine. This episode is from Ovid’s Metamorphoses IV: "Jupiter Ammon had unjustly ordered the innocent Andromeda to pay the penalty for her mother Cassiopeia’s words. As soon as Perseus, great-grandson of Abas, saw her fastened

Landscape with Carmelites
Oil on canvas. 1634 - 1639
Both, Jan
Landscape with Carmelites
Oil on canvas. 1634 - 1639
Both, Jan

This painting entered the Museum as an original work by Jan Both, attribution that has been maintained in the catalogues until the present day. In 1973 Valdivieso identifies it as the picture listed in the 1701 inventory of the Palace of the Buen Retiro and retains the ascription to Jan Both, which is supported by Luna (1984) and Capitelli (2005). Burke (1976) refers to it without an attribution.B

Hercules and the Cretan Bull
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de
Hercules and the Cretan Bull
Oil on canvas. 1634
Zurbarán, Francisco de

At Eurystheus’s behest, Hercules killed the Cretan Bull, a dangerous and ferocious animal that was decimating Crete. The Cretan Bull was a handsome bull that Poseidon had asked the king of Crete to sacrifice. Minos’s decision to sacrifice another animal instead angered the god, who then provoked Pasiphae’s carnal encounter with the bull. Their offspring was the Minotaur, an extraordinary animal pu

Self-portrait
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1562
Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
Self-portrait
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1562
Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)

Titian painted his first self-portrait before leaving for Rome in 1545. However, it was after his Roman stay that he showed the most interest in disseminating his image in order to fully establish his position in a context of intense rivalry with Michelangelo. In 1549 Paolo Giovio acquired a self-portrait by the artist for his Museo in Como, while in 1550 the painter had another one sent to Charle

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