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Saint Sebastian speaking to Marcus and Marcellian and Saint Sebastian and Saint Polycarp destroying Idols
Oil on panel. Ca. 1470
García de Benabarre, Pedro
Saint Sebastian speaking to Marcus and Marcellian and Saint Sebastian and Saint Polycarp destroying Idols
Oil on panel. Ca. 1470
García de Benabarre, Pedro

In the upper section, within an urban setting with a cobbler`s workshop in the background, Saint Sebastian is seen exhorting the brothers Marcus and Marcellian to ignore their family`s pleas and not renounce their Christian faith, for which they have been imprisoned. In the lower section, Sebastian and Polycarp destroy pagan idols in order to cure the Roman prefect Cromatius of his illness. Influe

Funeral Rites for a Roman Emperor
Oil on canvas. 1634 - 1635
Domenichino (Domenico Zampieri)
Funeral Rites for a Roman Emperor
Oil on canvas. 1634 - 1635
Domenichino (Domenico Zampieri)

This is the best-documented painting in the entire History of Rome cycle. It is also one of the works that raises the most questions about aspects as important as its authorship and its subject matter. Giambattista Passeri narrated how Domenichino was contracted by the Count of Monterrey, who became Spain’s Viceroy to Naples in 1634, and how Monterrey protected this painter when he was threatened

Tereus' Banquet
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)
Tereus' Banquet
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)

Tereus, King of Thrace and wife of Procne, raped his sister-in-law, Philomela, cutting out her tongue in order to avoid being denounced. But when Philomela weaves a tapestry, her sister Procne discovers the atrocious event. In vengeance, she kills Tereus´ son, serving it to him in a macabre banquet. The story is based on Ovid´s Metamorphoses (Book VI). Rubens chose to depict the exact moment when,

Mercury
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)
Mercury
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)

Mercury, the son of Jupiter and Maya, bears his characteristic attributes as the gods´ messenger: a winged hat and shoes, as well as the caduceus, a hazel wand with two serpents wound around it, which Apollo gave him as a symbol of agreement and reconciliation. The god´s anatomy and the use of paint give this figure a sculptural appearance, showing Rubens capacity to depict on canvas some of the m

Cleopatra
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1640
Reni, Guido
Cleopatra
Oil on canvas. Ca. 1640
Reni, Guido

Cleopatra VII (r. 51-30 BCE) was the sovereign of Egypt and the last representative of its final royal family, the Ptolemaic dynasty. Feeling that all was lost after her armies and those of her Roman lover and consort, Mark Antony (83-30 BCE), were successively defeated and the latter was killed, she chose to end her own life to avoid being captured by their mutual enemy, Octavian, the future Empe

The Death of Seneca
Oil on canvas. 1612 - 1615
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)
The Death of Seneca
Oil on canvas. 1612 - 1615
Rubens, Peter Paul (Workshop Of)

This canvas depicts the death of the Roman philosopher Seneca, who was accused of treason and obliged by Nero to commit suicide in the year 65AD. It emphasises the values of Stoicism, an influential current of thought in early seventeenth-century Europe. The painting is a replica produced in Rubens’s studio of a work painted entirely by him now in the Alte Pinakothek, Munic

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

According to Ovid (Metamorphosis, book V), in order to avoid her husband Jupiter´s infidelities, the goddess, Juno, converted the nymph, Io, into a lamb and called on Argos, the shepherd, to look after her. Jupiter sent Mercury, the gods´ messenger, to kill Argos and recover the nymph. Rubens depicts Mercury without his traditional attributes. He only carries his sword and the flute with which he

Saturn devouring a Son
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul
Saturn devouring a Son
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul

Portrayed as an old man in accordance with the conventional method that was faithful to prevailing iconographic precepts, in his right hand the god Saturn clasps a scythe, his inveterate attribute, using it to steady himself. At the same time, with impressive bestial energy, he leans over a boy, into whom he sinks his teeth to devour him, while the defenceless creature attempts to kick himself fre

The Death of Hyacinth
Oil on panel. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul
The Death of Hyacinth
Oil on panel. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul

Apollo helplessly contemplates the death throes of his beloved Hyacinth, who was hit by one of the discs the two were throwing in a display of their athletic skills. This is one of the preparatory sketches Rubens made for the painting Jan Cossiers carried out for use in the Torre de la Parada. Rubens based this work on a sketch by Michelangelo, revealing his interest in Renaissance artists.

Vanitas
Oil on canvas. 1662
Negri, Pietro
Vanitas
Oil on canvas. 1662
Negri, Pietro

This work entered the Museo del Prado in 1916 titled Penitent Magdalene, along with almost ninety other Italian, French, Flemish and Spanish works from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries, nearly all with religious subjects. They were part of the bequest of Pablo Bosch y Barrau, a financier who loved and studied art. In 1924 Hermann Voss attributed this painting to Antonio Zanchi (1631-1722), a

The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist, or Madonna of the Rose
Oil on panel transferred to canvas. Ca. 1517
Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio)
The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist, or Madonna of the Rose
Oil on panel transferred to canvas. Ca. 1517
Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio)

The first verified Spanish documentation of Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist or Madonna of the Rose, c. 1517, dates from 1657. In 1642 Wenceslaus Hollar engraved this composition after a painting belonging to Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel, one of the present work’s probable owners. However, there were copies of the work in Spain in the sixteenth century, including no less t

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.

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

Cephalus and Procris
Oil on panel. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul
Cephalus and Procris
Oil on panel. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul

Fearing she was a victim of infidelity, Procris followed her beloved Cephalus to a clearing in the woods, where he was resting during a hunting expedition. The young woman´s jealousy led her to her death when Cephalus mistook her for wild game and shot her with an arrow. Rubens chose to depict that story from Ovid´s Metamorphoses in this preparatory sketch for a painting intended to decorate the T

The Rape of Proserpine
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul -Painter- (And Workshop)
The Rape of Proserpine
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul -Painter- (And Workshop)

Proserpine, daughter of the earth goddess Ceres, was kidnapped by Pluto, the god of the underworld. Despite the resistance put up by Minerva, Venus and Diana, their relationship would blossom into love, as revealed by the presence of the cupids holding the chariot reigns and urging the horses on. This story of passion was part of the decoration of the Torre de la Parada.

The Rape of Hippodamia
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)
The Rape of Hippodamia
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1637
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)

Like Fortuna (P1674) and the Marriage of Peleus and Thetis (P1634), the Rape of Hippodamia was part of the massive cycle of mythologies designed by Peter Paul Rubens in 1636-37 for the Torre de la Parada, Philip IV´s newly constructed hunting lodge on the outskirts of Madrid. The oil sketch for this picture, now in Brussels (Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique), was largely replicated in the

Satyr
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)
Satyr
Oil on canvas. 1636 - 1638
Rubens, Peter Paul (And Workshop)

In classical mythology, Silenus was the guardian of forests. He was supposed to raise Bacchus when the latter was a child. Rubens depicts him in the customary manner: with goat ears and a scraggly beard, alluding to his condition as a wild being, and clothed only in buckskin. The mask on which he is leaning recalls his ties to the world of theater, as a Bacchic and festive deity. Rubens once again

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