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Sánchez Coello, Alonso

Benifairó del Valls, Valencia (Spain), 1531/32 - Madrid (Spain), 1588

At the age of ten, Alonso Sánchez Coello moved with his family to Portugal, where he began his first art studies. John III, king of Portugal, was aware of his talent and in 1550 he paid the young artist’s trip to Flanders to complete his training. There, Sánchez Coello worked for Cardinal Granvela and was a disciple of Anthonis Mor van Dashorst. After returning to Lisbon around 1552, he probably began working for Prince John Emmanuel of Lisbon and his wife, donna Juana, whose brother was Philip II of Spain. Following the prince’s death, Juana returned to Spain to rule the country in her brother’s absence. Around 1555, Sánchez Coello traveled to the Spanish court, then in Valladolid, to deliver a portrait of her son, the future King Sebastian of Portugal. Remaining in Valladolid, he painted the first portraits of Philip II’s heir, Prince Charles, and around 1560 he married Luisa Reynalte, from a family of silversmiths. That same year, Philip II appointed him chamber painter, a post he held until his death in Madrid in 1588. He had moved to that city along with the court in 1561. Over the course of his career, Sánchez Coello specialized in portraiture, although he also made religious works, including the altarpiece for the church of El Espinar in Segovia (1574-1577) and some pairs of saints for altars at the basilica of El Escorial (1580-1582).
Sánchez Coello is a fundamental figure in the history of Spanish painting. He was the first to bring portraiture to the peninsula, where he followed the model developed by Anthonis Mor in likenesses of the Habsburg family. Some of his paintings were included in the most important portrait galleries developed during the reign of Philip II, including those at the El Pardo and Alcázar Palaces, both sadly lost to fires in 1604 and 1734, respectively. Today, his works hang in the Museo del Prado, in Spain’s royal foundations, including the Monastery of the Descalzas Reales and in museums and collections in Austria and Bohemia (Antonio, T. de, in: Del Greco a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado, Museo de Arte de Ponce, 2012, p. 92).

His self-portrait at the Museo del Prado is catalogued as P002511.

Artworks (14)

Los Improperios o La imposición de la púrpura a Jesucristo
Oil on panel, XVI century
Sánchez Coello, Alonso
Prince Don Carlos
Oil on canvas, 1555 - 1559
Sánchez Coello, Alonso
Self-portrait (?)
Oil on panel, Ca. 1570
Sánchez Coello, Alonso (Attributed to)
Portrait of an Unidentified Young Woman
Oil on panel, 1567 - 1570
Sánchez Coello, Alonso
Infantas Isabel Clara Eugenia and Catalina Micaela
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1575
Sánchez Coello, Alonso
Lady with a Fan
Oil on panel, 1570 - 1573
Sánchez Coello, Alonso
Don Sebastian, King of Portugal
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1580
Sánchez Coello, Alonso (After Soleri, Giorgio)
Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia
Oil on canvas, 1577
Sánchez Coello, Alonso
The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine
Oil on cork, 1578
Sánchez Coello, Alonso

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