- Inventory number
- Zurbarán, Francisco de
- Saint Elisabeth of Portugal
- Ca. 1635
- 184 cm x 98 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection (Royal Palace, Madrid, “trascuarto de la reina-pieza de la chimenea colgada de encarnado”, 1814-1818, n. 287, 227)
The saint is shown full length, walking toward the right and wearing a seventeenth-century lady's clothing. The roses she carries over her skirt allude to the miracle in which coins from the Royal Treasury, which she secretly handed out to the needy, turned into roses. A similar story is told about Saint Casilda, with whom this painting has also been identified.
This is one of Zurbarán's most elegant portraits, and her rich garments offer him a magnificent opportunity to demonstrate his extraordinary capacity to depict textures. It reveals the technical mastery he acquired in a highly recurrent prototype present in his work: the representation of figures that stand out over a dark background and look directly at the viewer. Sometimes these are “portraits in a divine manner,” that is, portraits of living people depicted with the attributes of the saints they were named after. Here it is Queen Isabel of Portugal.
The origin of this painting is unknown. It was first documented in 1814 at Madrid's Royal Palace.