- Inventory number
- Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
- María de Austria, Queen of Hungary
- Ca. 1630
- 59,5 cm x 44,5 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection (Collection of Felipe V, Quinta of the Duke of El Arco, El Prado-Madrid, “sexta pieza que sirve de gabinete”, 1745, [n. 109?]; Quinta of the Duke of El Arco, “pieza sexta de gabinete”, 1794, n. 135; Royal Palace of El Buen Retiro, Madrid, 1808)
This is a bust portrait of Felipe IV's sister. She wears a grey gauze ruff over a tawny dress. The dark background is traditional in Velázquez's portraits.
It was painted in Naples during the artist's first trip to Italy and coincided with María of Austria's passage on the way to Vienna, where she was to marry Fernando de Habsburgo, King of Hungary and future Emperor Fernando III.
Velázquez adopted a bust format, which was appropriate for portraits free of the artifice and pomp of official images. This portrait was intended for King Felipe IV, who wanted to have an image of his sister before she departed. The painter thus crafts a portrait that is truly intimate and close to the viewer.
Curiously, the artist still had this work with him when he died, probably so that he could use it as a model for later portraits. It reappeared in the collection of the Duke of El Arco in 1745 and then entered the Royal Collection.