Inventory number
P00656
Author
Zurbarán, Francisco de (Spanish)
Title
The Defense of Cadiz against the English
Chronology
1634
Technique
Óleo
Support
Lienzo
Dimensions
302 cm x 323 cm
School
Española
Theme
Militar
On display
Yes
Provenance
Colección Real (Palacio del Buen Retiro, Madrid, 1701, [nº 247]; Buen Retiro, 1772, nº 416; Buen Retiro, 1794, nº 520; Palacio Real, Madrid, pinturas descolgadas en el callejón de tribunas, 1814-1818, nº 520).

The Governor of Cadiz, Fernando Girón, is shown giving instructions to his subordinates in order to organize the defense of this city when it was threatened by the English fleet that appears in the background. This even took place in 1625 and was one of the battles chosen to decorate the Hall of Kingdoms at the Buen Retiro Palace in Madrid, along with other works commissioned from Spanish painters, including Velasquez, Maíno, Vicente Carducho and Pereda.

This is an important work, and a singular one in Zurbarán's output, not only because it was commissioned by the court, but also because it marks one of the very few occasions in which he dealt with a subject from “civil history.” The artist shows some of the virtues that made him a reference point in the history of Spanish painting of his time: his precise portraiture and his capacity to reproduce a great variety of textures in an exact, detailed manner.

 
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