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Pret, Miguel de

Antwerp, 1595 - Zaragoza, 1644

Miguel de Pret was a Spanish painter of Flemish origin specialized in still lifes. His biography can be reconstructed on the basis of his death certificate, his will and the documents generated for his entry into the “Company of Archers of the Noble Garde de Corps of Our Lord the King” in November 1641, which required him to demonstrate his noble blood and Flemish origin. He was born in Antwerp to local textile merchant André de Pret and Anne van den Putte, who married on November 15, 1588. Miguel’s father, André, had learned his trade from his own father, also named Miguel and born in Ghent. The elder Miguel died in Antwerp and was buried in that city’s Convent of Saint Francis. He had been a member of the “Sworn Company of Calibrators” founded to serve his majesty and protect the city, and he was Deacon of that company, along with his sons, Tomás de Pret, a jewel merchant and André de Pret, Miguel’s father -all good Christians.
We know neither when nor why Miguel de Pret decided to move to the court in Madrid, but it must have been some time in the sixteen twenties, as the dowry letter of his second wife, María Cano, was drawn up on April 25, 1630 for a marriage to which Pret brought a daughter -Manuela Melchora de Pret- by his first wife, Adriana del Arca. On December 8, an addition to the dowry was drawn up, specifying that María was the daughter and widow of a painter. This indicates that Miguel was already active as a painter, although he had neither a shop nor a public studio. Perhaps he worked alone, as his name does not appear in the 1638 list of painters required to pay the alcabala sales tax. He is known to have collaborated with Francisco Barrera, for whom he made both primed canvases and finished works. His production probably dwindled between 1641 and 1644 as he had joined the “Company of Archers”, and only two known works bear his signature: Still Life with Basket of Plums and Figs and a Melon on a Shelf with Hanging Pepper, Grapes and Quinces from the Abelló collection in Madrid, which is signed “M De Pret me fecit”, and “Cluster of White Grapes”, from the Museo Cerralbo in Madrid (Inv. no. 3898), where the signature, “Miguel de Pret fecit” lies beneath a coat of paint and is only visible in the X-ray image.
He died in Zaragoza, where he had accompanied the Monarch for the Day of Aragon, on September 3, 1644 -just one day after he had drawn up his will- and he was buried at the parish of San Miguel de los Navarros (Aterido, A.; Alba, L.: "Juan Fernández el Labrador, Miguel de Pret y la "construcción" de la naturaleza muerta", Boletín del Museo del Prado, 2014, XXXI, 49, 2013, pp. 40-46).

Artworks (2)

Two Bunches of Grapes with a Fly
Oil on canvas, 1630 - 1644
Pret, Miguel de (Attributed to)
Two Bunches of Grapes
Oil on canvas, 1630 - 1644
Pret, Miguel de (Attributed to)

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