Inventory number
Carreño de Miranda, Juan (Spanish)
“The Monster”, nude, or Bacchus
Ca. 1680
165 cm x 108 cm
On display
Donación José Antonio González de la Peña, barón de Forna, 1939 (colección real, Real Alcázar, Madrid, pinturas traídas de casa de Carreño a las bóvedas de Tiziano y cuarto bajo del príncipe, 1686, s.n.; Palacio de La Zarzuela, El Pardo-Madrid, retrete de la reina, 1701, s.n.; La Zarzuela, pieza primera, 1747, nº 3; Juan Gálvez, Madrid; col. infante D. Sebastián Gabriel de Borbón, Madrid; duque de Marchena, Madrid).

A portrait of Eugenia Martínez Vallejo, nude and adorned with grape leaves and grape clusters, making this an allusion to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine.

In 1680, this girl was taken to the court to be exhibited because of her extraordinary proportions. Far from its current negative connotations, this must be understood in terms of the taste for freaks of nature passed down from the sixteenth century and still present in the seventeenth, when buffoons and different entertaining personages lived at the Palace in order to amuse the Monarchs and their children.

Despite its explicit nudity, this portrait plays with appearances and eliminates the monstrous aspect of the girl by disguising her, although it also deliberately seeks a contrast with the companion work, Eugenia Martínez Vallejo, “the Monster,” dressed (P646), which is also at the Prado Museum.

These two works were listed together in royal inventories until the 1701 inventory of the Zarzuela Palace. King Fernando VII (1784-1833) later gave the nude portrait to the painter, Juan Gálvez. In 1871, it appeared among the works belonging to the infante Sebastián Gabriel de Bourbon (1811-1875).

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