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Carducho, Vicente

Florence (Italy), ca. 1576 - Madrid (Spain), 1638

This Italian painter had a fecund and influential career at court in Madrid, especially with religious works whose initial Counter-Reformation classicism evolved towards a sometimes highly intense naturalism. He arrived at San Lorenzo de El Escorial in 1585 with his brother, Bartolomé, who was Federico Zuccaro's assistant and young Vicente's teacher. In 1599, he took part in the decorations for Queen Margaret's arrival in Madrid. He accompanied the court when it moved to Valladolid, and there he worked for palaces and convents at the behest of the Duke of Lerma. In 1607, he was contracted in Madrid to paint the frescoes of The Triumph of the Eucharist for the dome of the chapel at the El Pardo Palace and after his brother's death he was appointed King's Painter in his place. He then completed his brother's frescoes of the Story of Achilles for that palace's Mediodía Gallery, although only the preparatory drawings have survived. Over the following years, he made paintings for the Constable of Castile (Briviesca) and the King (for the Monastery of La Encarnación in Madrid and the Capucin monastery in El Pardo). With Eugenio Cajés, another royal painter, he made the frescoes and canvases for the main altarpiece of Guadalupe, which was underwritten by the king, as well as Philip III's tumulus at the church of San Jerónimo el Real in Madrid, in 1621. Velazquez's extraordinary status at the court of Philip IV did not prevent Carducho from actually receiving a greater number of commissions for religious works. In contrast with Carducho's approach, Velazquez's direct and unadorned presentation of his subject matter made him the artist of choice for portraits. Carducho also painted historical works for the royal palaces and his activity in defense of painters bears witness to his prestige. Outstanding among his many disciples are Castello, Román, Francisco Fernández, Ximeno and most of all, Francisco Rizi.
In 1633 he published “Dialogues on Painting”, a text that exemplifies the concepts of his period's Italian-style academicism and his reservations with regard to Caravaggesque realism. After completing the altarpiece for the church of Las Jerónimas—popularly known as Carboneras—in Madrid, he painted an Annunciation for the monastery of las Descalzas, of which there is a replica at the Museo del Prado. The Prado also has his posthumous portrait of “The Blessed Mariana de Jesús”, which he painted between 1626 and 1632. He then began his leading work: a series of fifty-six monumental canvases for the El Paular charterhouse. These works on the lives of saints now belong to the Museo del Prado, and some twenty sketches and an equal number of preparatory drawings are also known. Such drawings were a customary part of his methodology and around 150 from different periods of his career are known today. Carducho's maturity is evident in his mastery of space, his skill at creating complex and highly balanced compositions, his narrative capacity, his contained expression of sentiments, the wealth and variety of colors reminiscent of the Venetian school, his attention to secondary details in indoor settings or landscapes, and his anatomical accuracy. For Madrid's Alcázar palace, he made a pair of monarchs (1625) as a model for those he later painted for the Golden Hall and the King's bedroom; a “Story of Scipio” (1626) and an “Expulsion of the Moors” (1627), all now lost (there is a preparatory drawing for the “Expulsion” at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid). He is also almost certainly responsible for the “Giant's Head” now at the Museo del Prado, and over the following years, he made an abundance of canvases for altarpieces, most of which have survived. These include works for Braojos (Madrid), the hermitage of El Ángel in Toledo, for the Franciscan nuns known as Nuns of Constantinople, for the Franciscan monks of Saint Giles and Saint Anthony of the Portuguese in Madrid, a Holy Family of unknown origin (Prado), as well as works for the Barefoot Mercedarians of Madrid (Prado) in 1631, and the Augustinian Recollect nuns of Pamplona. In 1632 he was contracted to paint the altarpieces and twelve stories for the Barefoot Trinitarians in Madrid, most of which are at the Museo del Prado. In 2000, that museum acquired The “Ordination and First Mass of Saint John of Mata”. These works maintain the characteristics of the Carthusian series, including the importance assigned to the middle and backgrounds. In his final years, Carducho concentrated on canvases for the royal palaces, including three battles (Fleurus, Constance and Rheinfelden) for the Hall of Realms (1634, Museo del Prado) and Ataulfo, King of the Goths (1635, Museo del Prado, on loan to the Military Museum) for the Buen Retiro palace, as well as all of the decoration—twenty-six paintings—for the Torre de la Parada's prayer chapel (“Betrothal” and “Visitation” at the Royal Palace) between 1636 and 1638 (Cruz Valdovinos, J.M., Enciclopedia M.N.P., 2006, vol. II, pp. 631-632).

Artworks (110)

La Toma de Antequera
Oil on canvas, Late XVI - Primer tercio del siglo XVII century
Carducho, Vicente
The Annunciation
Oil on canvas, Late XVI - Primer tercio del siglo XVII century
Carducho, Vicente
The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist
Oil on canvas, Late XVI - Primer tercio del siglo XVII century
Carducho, Vicente
Martirio de san Ramón Nonato
Oil on canvas, Late XVI - Primer tercio del siglo XVII century
Carducho, Vicente
Martirio de san Pedro Armengol
Oil on canvas, Late XVI - Primer tercio del siglo XVII century
Carducho, Vicente
The Annunciation
Oil on canvas, Late XVI - Primer tercio del siglo XVII century
Carducho, Vicente
San Bruno
Oil on canvas, Late XVI - Primer tercio del siglo XVII century
Carducho, Vicente
Santiago en la Batalla de Clavijo
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1605
Carducho, Vicente
La Beata Mariana de Jesús
Oil on canvas, 1625
Carducho, Vicente

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