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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

Mary, Lady Van Dyck
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1640
Dyck, Anthony Van
Mary, Lady Van Dyck
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1640
Dyck, Anthony Van

In 1640, Van Dyck married Mary Ruthven in England. This lady of Scottish origin died in 1645. He portrayed his wife with her hair pulled back and an oak-leaf headdress alluding to her husband´s name, which means “oak” or “holm oak” in Dutch. She wears a shiny blue dress with a large décolleté, a pearl necklace and a bracelet with which she plays before the viewer in a gesture of clea

Saint Dominic of Guzmán
Oil on panel. 1612 - 1614
Maíno, Fray Juan Bautista
Saint Dominic of Guzmán
Oil on panel. 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 John the Evangelist with Two Ladies and Two Girls / Saint Hadrian
Oil on panel. 1532
Coecke Van Aelst, Pieter
Saint John the Evangelist with Two Ladies and Two Girls / Saint Hadrian
Oil on panel. 1532
Coecke Van Aelst, Pieter

The Evangelist, identified by the chalice he holds in his hand, protects four female donors dressed in plain devotional habits. In the background, Coecke provides a vision of Hell that reflects the strong influence of Hieronymus Bosch. This is the right panel of the Triptych of the Last Judgement; the central panel is at the Escorial, whilst the left panel is in the Prado (P1609).

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

The Virgin and Child
Oil on panel. Ca. 1520
David, Gérard (Attributed To)
The Virgin and Child
Oil on panel. Ca. 1520
David, Gérard (Attributed To)

Mary is depicted over half-length, standing with her child in her arms, beside an arch with gothic tracery and landscape in the background. The Christ Child plays with the coral beads of a rosary his mother wears, but he looks out at the viewer, rather than at her. This detail, along with Mary´s pensive expression and the flowers in the vase, alludes to the future passion of Christ, which th

Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain
Oil on canvas. 1607
Pantoja de la Cruz, Juan
Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain
Oil on canvas. 1607
Pantoja de la Cruz, Juan

Margaret of Austria married Philip III in 1599 after Philip II chose her from among the women of the Austria-Styria family. The marriage was planned to coincide with that of infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia and archduke Albert. Margaret was born in 1584 and when she arrived in Spain in April 1599, she had already been married by power of attorney in Ferrara. She was known for her discretion and virtue

Federico Gonzaga, Ist Duke of Mantua
Oil on panel. 1529
Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
Federico Gonzaga, Ist Duke of Mantua
Oil on panel. 1529
Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)

On 16 April 1529 Federico II Gonzaga, First Duke of Mantua (1500-1540), apologised to his uncle Alfonso d’Este for retaining Titian: perché ha conienzo un retratto mio qual molto desidero sii finito (because he has started a portrait of me which I greatly desire to be finished). In 1530 a second portrait of Federico in armour is also recorded. Typologically and conceptually, the present por

The Apostle James
Mixed method on panel. Ca. 1500
Master Of The Visitation Of Palencia
The Apostle James
Mixed method on panel. Ca. 1500
Master Of The Visitation Of Palencia

This panel is by an anonymous Hispano-Flemish painter active in Burgos and Palencia who was influenced by Diego de la Cruz and the Master of Los Balbases. His name derives from his best known work, the Altarpiece of the Visitation in Palencia Cathedral. The apostle can be identified by the inscription on his halo and his attributes: the pilgrim’s staff, water gourd, hat and cockle shells. In his l

The Actress María Guerrero as Doña Inés
Oil on canvas. 1891
Madrazo y Garreta, Raimundo de
The Actress María Guerrero as Doña Inés
Oil on canvas. 1891
Madrazo y Garreta, Raimundo de

This portrait is one of the most beautiful examples of the great actress María Guerrero’s (1867-1928) lifelong obsession with her own image. She began having her portrait painted by the most famous painters of her time while still an infant. This fixation was favored by her father’s friendship with many of those artists, and as a result, the Museo del Prado has several splendid likeness of

The Judgement of a Soul
Oil on canvas. 1663 - 1664
Cerezo, Mateo
The Judgement of a Soul
Oil on canvas. 1663 - 1664
Cerezo, Mateo

The judgement of an individual soul is a subject rooted in popular religious theater. The oldest known depictions date from the 15th century and show an angel and a devil arguing over the possession of the soul in question as Christ and the Virgin look on. Here, however, the painter takes a different approach to what may be a concrete event. Five figures are arranged on two parallel but overlappin

The Temptations of Saint Anthony Abbot
Oil on panel. 1543 - 1550
Coecke Van Aelst, Pieter
The Temptations of Saint Anthony Abbot
Oil on panel. 1543 - 1550
Coecke Van Aelst, Pieter

Saint Anthony is tempted by the Devil, transformed into a beautiful naked woman accompanied by a witch. The burning city in the background, the monsters and other elements are derived from Bosch (c. 1450-1516). However, the figures of Saint Anthony, the witch and particularly the female nude reveal Van Aelst’s assimilation of the new Italian Renaissance idiom.

The Madness of Joanna of Castile
Oil on canvas. 1866
Vallés, Lorenzo
The Madness of Joanna of Castile
Oil on canvas. 1866
Vallés, Lorenzo

This extraordinary historical painting -as appealing as it is disquieting- is one of the first and best examples of the fascination that Joanna of Castile (1479-1555) held for nineteenthcentury Spanish painters. The daughter of the Catholic Monarchs (Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon) and mother of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (King Charles I of Spain), Joanna had an unlucky life. As

Lot and his Daughters
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1634
Furini, Francesco
Lot and his Daughters
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1634
Furini, Francesco

An outstanding work in Francesco Furini’s oeuvre and one of the most sensual and morbid of all Italian Baroque paintings, Lot and his daughters, c.1634, depicts the Old Testament story of Lot (Genesis 19:30-38), who escaped the destruction of Sodom thanks to a warning from the angels charged with its obliteration. Lot’s wife, who failed to obey their order not to look back, was turned into a pilla

Philip II
Oil on canvas. 1573
Anguissola, Sofonisba
Philip II
Oil on canvas. 1573
Anguissola, Sofonisba

Sofonisba Anguissola arrived in Spain in 1559 to serve as a lady-in-waiting to Philip II’s third wife, Elizabeth of Valois (1546-1568). A renowned painter in her native Cremona, she held no official post related to her profession at the Spanish court, but we know that she made numerous portraits of the Royal Family. Those works reveal her understanding of Spanish court portraiture, but they also c

Saint Dominic of Guzmán
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1685
Coello, Claudio
Saint Dominic of Guzmán
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1685
Coello, Claudio

Spanish saint Dominic de Guzmán (1170-1221) founded the Dominican Order, which became one of the most powerful and influential religious groups in Catholic Europe, partially as a result of its defense of orthodoxy through the Inquisition, which was led by Dominican prelates. Claudio Coello made five paintings for their convent of El Rosario in Madrid, one of which is presented here. They we

The Temptations of Saint Anthony Abbot
Oil on oak panel. 1510 - 1515
Bosch, Hieronymus (Workshop Of)
The Temptations of Saint Anthony Abbot
Oil on oak panel. 1510 - 1515
Bosch, Hieronymus (Workshop Of)

Saint Anthony, whom the artist has been able to place in the immediate foreground of this panel by using a landscape format, closely resembles the saint depicted in the Saint Anthony triptych in Lisbon; he is wearing the same habit, the distinctive cape bearing the Tau cross and the customary rosary with a little bell. This large-scale figure, occupying most of the available space on the left of t

Margaret, Duchess of Parma / Mary of Portugal, Wife of Alessandro Farnesse
Oil on panel. After 1565
Mor, Anthonis
Margaret, Duchess of Parma / Mary of Portugal, Wife of Alessandro Farnesse
Oil on panel. After 1565
Mor, Anthonis

On the diptych’s left door, Mor portrays Alexander Farnese’s mother, who was Charles V’s illegitimate daughter by Juana van der Gheyst. Born in Audenarde in 1521, she died in Ortonna in 1586 after marrying twice in the emperor’s interest. Her first husband was Alexander of Medici, and after his death, she married Octavius Farnese, Duke of Parma. Following her second husband’s death, she was appoin

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