Inventory number
P00431
Author
Titian [Vecellio di Gregorio Tiziano]
Title
Following Victory at Lepanto, Felipe II offers the Infante Don Fernando to Heaven
Chronology
1573-1575
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimensions
335 cm x 274 cm
School
Italian
Theme
Allegory
On display
Yes
Provenance
Colección Real (Real Alcázar, Madrid, salón de los espejos-cuartos principales, 1700, nº 4; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, tercera pieza de la Furriera, 1747, nº 152; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, paso de tribuna y trascuartos, 1772, nº 152; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, cuarto de la serenísima infanta-dormitorio, 1794, nº 152; Palacio Real, Madrid, pieza amarilla, 1814-1818, nº 152).

Felipe II (1556-1598) holds his son, Fernando (1571-1578), up to an angel who carries a palm leaf on which is written: MAIORA TIBI ("greater triumphs await you"). At his feet lies a chained Turk whose turban has been removed.

This work was commissioned by the Spanish Court and the painter was sent a model by Sánchez Coello, or was given very precise instructions, as the work was to be an exvoto through which Felipe II sought to give thanks for the favors he had received. Titian, who must not have felt very comfortable with the commission, partially delegated its completion to his assistants.

The composition commemorates two events that were very important for the king and that happened at almost the same time: his victory over the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, on 7 October 1571, and the birth, on 5 December of that same year, of the Infante Fernando, who would have been the next king had he not died seven years later.

This work was listed in Spain for the first time in the 1600 inventory of Madrid's Alcázar Palace. In 1625, the Spanish painter, Vicente Carducho, added strips of fabric allowing him to widen the composition to match the dimensions of Carlos V at the Battle of Mühlberg (P00410).

 
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