Inventory number
P01180
Author
Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y
Title
Prince Baltasar Carlos on Horseback
Chronology
Ca. 1635
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimensions
211,5 cm x 177 cm
School
Spanish
Theme
Portrait
On display
No
Provenance
Royal Collection (Royal Palace of El Buen Retiro, Madrid, 1701, [n. 266]; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “paso del cuarto del señor infante don Luis”, 1772, n. 266; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “cuarto de la serenísima infanta-dormitorio”, 1794, n. 266; Royal Palace, Madrid, “callejón de paso a las tribunas”, 1814-1818, n. 266)

An equestrian portrait of Prince Baltasar Carlos (1629-1646), son of Felipe IV (1605-1665) and Isabel de Borbón (1603-1644), bearing the staff of command and wearing a general's sash. The mountains of Madrid are visible in the background. He was the King's first male son and his early death left Spain without a male heir until the birth of the future Carlos II (1661-1700).

This work was painted for the Salón de Reinos at Madrid's Buen Retiro Palace, where it was hung over a door between the equestrian portraits of the Prince's parents (P01178, P01179), in in keeping with the idea of dynastic continuity that the iconographic program sought to reflect. The fact that the painting was intended to hang at such a height explains its strange perspective, especially the anatomic composition of the horse, as it was intended to be seen from below.

The very fresh and loose technique is especially impressive in the boy's face, making this one of Velázquez's best portraits.

 
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