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Morales, Cristóbal de

Act. 1551, Act. 1573

He probably worked at Cornelis Buys's workshop in Antwerp before moving to Portugal, where his work, primarily portraiture, is documented at the court between 1551 and 1573. There, he continued to paint portraits in the Flemish tradition, which had been received through the influence of portraits painted by Antonis Mor for that court. Morales made some religious works—documents show he painted the retable for the main altarpiece at the monastery of La Concepción in Beja in 1567—but his best works are successive portraits of King Sebastian that follow models of authority and power associated with conventional official portraiture of the sort highly appreciated by the Habsburgs. These portraits were periodically sent to the king's mother, Juana de Austria, so that she could follow the evolution of her only son from the obligatory difference that separated them. The attribution of this work is unquestioned, due to its similarity to the only signed and dated portrait of King Sebastian still at the convent in Madrid. It was acquired by the Museo del Prado in 1998.

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