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The Art of Power. The Royal Armoury and court portraiture

09.03.2010 - 23.05.2010

The exhibition offers an exceptional opportunity to see an important selection of works from the Prado displayed for the first time alongside the collection of armour belonging to Patrimonio Nacional. This is an unprecedented concept for an exhibition and one that establishes a direct comparison between the court portraits painted by leading masters such as Titian and Rubens and the armour worn by Spanish monarchs that symbolised their power at the height of that monarchy’s splendour.

Following the exhibition The Art of Power. Royal Armor and Portraits from Imperial Spain, held at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in 2009, in 2010 the Museo del Prado shows The Art of Power. Arms, Armour and Paintings from the Spanish Court. The exhibition comprises an outstanding selection of objects loaned by the Royal Armoury in Madrid, displayed alongside a major group of paintings that reveal how the great painters of the day emphasised arms and armour when representing the power of the Spanish monarchy from the Renaissance onwards. The Art of Power. Arms, Armour and Paintings from the Spanish Court provides a unique occasion to see a group of masterpieces that could only be brought together in the Prado, set within the context of the armed portrait.

Founded at the height of the Spanish monarchy’s international power and splendour, the Royal Armoury in Madrid is the oldest and one of the finest and most comprehensive in the world. Largely built up by the Emperor Charles V (1500-1558) and his son Philip II (1556-1598), it houses not only the personal arms and armour of the Spanish monarchs but also a number of military trophies and diplomatic and family gifts.

The exhibition takes the form of an introductory section and four monographic ones, entitled The Court Portrait and the Armouries of Charles and Philip IIThe Absence of Portraits in Armour in the second half of the 16th century and their Revival under Philip III prior to his Accession,The Royal Armoury in 17th-century Court Painting, andThe Bourbon Armed Portrait: the French and Spanish Tradition. Overall, the exhibition offers a broad overview of the issues pertaining to the relationship between armour and painting. Along with the 35 paintings and 27 pieces of armour that constitute the core of the exhibition, visitors can also see a tapestry, medals and sculptures that further explain the connections between the two principal groups.

Curator:
Álvaro Soler del Campo

Access

Room A and B

Opening time

Tuesdays to Sundays, from 9am to 8pm. Closed to the public every Monday.

Co-organizer by:
Patrimonio Nacional
National Gallery of Art  Washington
Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior

Multimedia

Exhibition

Introduction

Introduction
Mars
Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 179 x 95 cm. c. 1641
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

The exhibition opens with an introductory room that aims to explain the importance of royal collections of armour and painting at the Renaissance and Baroque courts as well as ideological and thematic connections. Notable exhibits in this room include the Parade Helm of Charles V with the symbol of the Golden Fleece, an object that emphasises the monarch’s position as Grand Master of that prestigious chivalrous Order, and the Burgonet of Charles V, symbolising the victory of Christianity over Islam. These objects are seen alongside paintings by Velázquez, Rubens and Teniers. Also on display, and indicative of the close link between armour and paintings as symbols of royal power, are documents with the orders given to the Royal Armoury to allow Velázquez and Rubens access in order to copy details of arms and armour.

The Court Portrait and the Armouries of Charles V and Philip II

The Court Portrait and the Armouries of Charles V and Philip II
Emperor Charles V on Horseback at Mühlberg.
Titian
Oil on canvas, 335 x 283 cm. 1548
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado
Charles V Armour called Mühlberg
Desiderius Helmschmid. Embossed, engraved and gilt steel. Augsburg 1544
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería.

The first section analyses the influence of the armouries of Charles V and Philip II (prior to his accession) on the court portrait. It will introduce the visitor to the rise and splendour of the armed portrait, a genre that was closely associated with the triumphant image of the Spanish monarchs as victors in war and during their majestic and opulent trips to Italy and Germany. Suits of armour such as the one worn by Charles V at the Battle of Mühlberg (made in 1544 by Desiderius Helmschmid), together with Titian’s impressive portrait of the Emperor, or the Burgundian Cross worn by Philip II at the Battle of Saint Quentin (made by Wolfgang Grosschedel) and its inclusion in Anthonis Mor’s portrait, indicate the symbolic importance of these objects.

The Absence of Portraits in Armour in the second half of the 16th century and their Revival under Philip III prior to his Accession

The Absence of Portraits in Armour in the second half of the 16th century and their Revival under Philip III prior to his Accession
Child Armour of Philip III. 
Engraved, embossed and gilt steel, gold and silver damascened. Milan c. 1585
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería.

The second section of the exhibition looks at Philip II’s new use of the armed portrait with respect to its earlier manifestations. The king either favoured the classical image alla romana with its heroic connotations, or the use of court dress, except in compositions relating to the Battle of Lepanto. These concepts are illustrated through objects such as the Parade Armour of Philip II, a suit of ceremonial armour that is exhibited next to Leone Leoni’s sculpture, and the Helmet of Ali Baja, a trophy from the Battle of Lepanto, shown alongside Titian’s painting that commemorates that victory.

Royal armour was not commissioned for much of Philip II’s reign, but there was a revival of this art form arising from the uncertainty surrounding Philip III’s survival as the last possible heir in the dynastic succession. This revival saw the creation of a series of portraits in armour associated with Philip taking the oath as Prince of Asturias, for example, the portraits by Pantoja de la Cruz and Justus Tiel, which are displayed next to child armour made by Lucio Marliani and Pompeo della Cessa.

The tradition was continued during the reign of Philip IV in works such as the Portrait of Philip IV with two Servants by Gaspar de Crayer, in which the monarch is depicted in the ceremonial armour sent to him in 1626 by Isabel Clara Eugenia.

The Royal Armoury in 17th-century Court Painting

The Royal Armoury in 17th-century Court Painting
Flower Pattern Armour.
Desiderius Helmschmid
Embossed, engraved and gilt steel. Augsburg c. 1550
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería.

The third section, entitled The Royal Armoury in 17th-century Court Painting, shows the different phases in the relationship between the collection of the Royal Armoury in Madrid and the court portrait, ranging from its close links with the image of royal power to its use as a mere repository of motifs applicable to different types of painting from the second third of the 17th century onwards. During that period armour and the way it had been used by Charles V and Philip II to convey symbolic notions of power continued to be a source of inspiration for a number of court portraits (such as Philip II on Horseback by Rubens, and Charles II in Armour by Carreño de Miranda). At this period, however, we see the holdings of the Armoury being used as accessories in portraits of nobles such as the Count of Benavente by Velázquez, that of the 2nd Marquis of Santa Cruz at the Relief of Genoa by Pereda (a recently restored canvas), and the image of the Count Duke of Olivares seen in The Recapture of Bahía in Brazil by Maíno. The sitters in these compositions appear wearing armour from the Felicísimo Viaje and with the ceremonial sword of the Catholic Kings.

The Bourbon Portrait in Armour: the French and Spanish Tradition

The Bourbon Portrait in Armour: the French and Spanish Tradition
Louis XIV.
Hyacinthe Rigaud
Oil on canvas, 238 x 149 cm. 1701
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado.

The final section of the exhibition looks at the ascent to the throne of Philip V, a monarch who combined the French taste for the portrait in armour with the Spanish Habsburg tradition. The most telling example of this fusion is the anonymous portrait of the new monarch as a young man wearing Philip II’s armour that had once been depicted by Titian. This section also includes portraits of Ferdinand VI in part-armour by Jean Ranc, and that of Charles III by Mengs, which is the last example of a portrait of a Spanish monarch in armour and the final work in the exhibition.

Artworks

1

Parade Helmet of Charles V

Filippo Negroli
Embossed, chassed and gilt steel, 29,5 x 26,4 x 34,1 cm. Weight 2355 gr
Milan 1533
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

4

Helmet of Charles V

Desiderius Helmschmid
Embossed, engraved and gilt steel, 28,2 x 21,5 x 26,5 cm. Weight 1925 gr
Augsburg 1540
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

5

Apotheosis of Charles V Shield

Steel, gold and silver, 53,8 cm diameter. Weight 2970gr
Italy c. 1535-1540
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

6

Burgonet of Charles V

Filippo and Francesco Negroli
Embossed, chassed, bronzed and gilt damascened steel, 25 x 23 x 35,7 cm. Weight 2130 gr
Milan 1545
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

7

Medusa Shield of Charles V

Filippo and Francesco Negroli
Embossed, chassed and damascened steel, 59,2 cm diameter. Weight 4700 gr
Milan 1541
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

11

Charles V Aged Seven with a Sword

Anonymous
Oil on panel, 60 x 42,5 cm
c. 1508
Innsbruck, Schloss Ambras, Porträtgalerie

12

Fleur-de-lis Scroll Armour of Charles V

Kolman Helmschmid
Embossed, engraved and gilt steel
Augsburg c. 1525 - 1530
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

13

Charles V

Giovanni Britto according to Titian
Coloured engraving, 481 x 353 mm
1536
Vienna, Graphische Sammlung Albertina

15

Armour of Charles V called Mühlberg

Desiderius Helmschmid
Engraved, embossed and gilt steel
Armour and helmet
Chaffron: 65 x 27 cm. Weight 14850 gr
Augsburg 1544
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

17

Gun belonging to Charles V

Peter Pech
Steel, iron and wood, 8 x 6,8 cm; caliber 15 mm. Weight 1655 gr
Munich c. 1545 - 1550
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

18

Review of the Troops at Barcelona (Second panel in the Conquest of Tunis series)

Willem de Pannemaker, Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen and Pieter Coecke van Aelst I
Gold, silver, silk and wool, 532 x 715 cm
Brussels Brabant c. 1554
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Palacio Real

20

Charles V in Armour

Juan Pantoja de la Cruz according to Titian
Oil on canvas, 181,5 x 96 cm
1608
El Escorial, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo

21

Helmet of the Mühlberg Armour

Desiderius Helmschmid
Embossed, engraved and gilt steel, 28,2 x 21,5 x 26,5 cm. Weight 1925 gr
Augsburg 1544
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

22

View of the Entourage of Charles II in front of the Alcázar in Madrid

Spanish Anonymous
Oil on canvas, 74,8 x 112,8 cm
c. 1685
Madrid, Colección Abelló

23

Armour and Burgonet called the Flower Pattern

Desiderius Helmschmid
Embossed, engraved and gilt steel
Augsburg c. 1550
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

27

Armour, Shield and Helmet of Philip II

Desiderius Helmschmid
Bronzed, gilt and damascened steel, gold, brass and leather
Shield, 55,5 cm diameter. Weight 4580 gr
Helmet, 55 x 24 cm. Weight 1360 gr
Augsburg 1549 - 1550 and 1552
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

28

Armour of Philip II Called the Cross Harness

Wolfgang Grosschedel
Engraved and gilt steel, gold and brass
Landshut 1551
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

29

Philip II on the Day of Saint Quentin

Antonio Moro
Oil on canvas, 200 x 103 cm
1560
El Escorial, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo

31

Cenotaph of Charles V and his Family

Juan Pantoja de la Cruz
Oil on canvas, 177 x 161 cm
1599
El Escorial, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo

32

Cenotaph of Philip II and his Family

Juan Pantoja de la Cruz
Oil on canvas, 177 x 161 cm
1599
El Escorial, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo

34

Burgonet and Shield of Philip II

Steel, gold and silver
Burgonet, 28 x 21 x 37,5 cm. Weight 1745 gr
Shield, 61 cm diameter. Weight 4630 gr
Milan c. 1560 - 1565
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

35

Burgonet and Shield of Philip II

Gold and silver damascened steel, fabric
Burgonet, 37,8 x 23,5 x 40 cm. Weight 2250 gr
Shield, 59 cm diameter. Weight 4280 gr
Northern Italy c. 1560 - 1565
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

37

Parade Armour of Philip II

Anton Peffenhauser
Embossed, engraved and gilt steel, gold and brass
Augsburg c. 1560
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

38

Helmet of Ali Pasha

Damascened in gold steel, 30 x 22 x 27 cm. Weight 1570 gr
Turkey c. 1570
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

40

Prince Charles in Armour

Attributed to Joris van Straeten, called Jorge de la Rúa
Oil on canvas, 98,5 x 85 cm
c. 1565
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales

41

Juan de Austria in Armour

Alonso Sánchez Coello
Oil on canvas, 99 x 85 cm
c. 1567
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales

43

Armour and Cabasset of Philip II as a Child

Attributed to Lucio Marliani
Embossed, engraved and gilt steel, gold and silver damascened, silver, gold, brass and fabric
Milan c. 1585
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

44

Child Armour of Philip III

Engraved, embossed and gilt steel, gold and silver damascened
Milan c. 1585
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

45

Philip III, Prince, in Armour

Juan Pantoja de la Cruz
Oil on canvas, 150 x 74,5 cm
c. 1592
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Gemäldegalerie

46

Child Armour of Philip III

Atribuida a Pompeo della Cesa
Embossed, engraved and gilt steel
Milan c. 1590
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

47

Philip III in Armour

Juan Pantoja de la Cruz
Oil on canvas, 180 x 94,5 cm
1605
El Escorial, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo

48

Cabasset of Philip IV

Anonymous
Embossed, engraved and gilt steel, 32 x 30 x 39,6 cm. Weight 5595 gr
Flanders c. 1625
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

49

Philip IV with Two Servants

Gaspar de Crayer
Oil on canvas, 215 x 163 cm
1627 - 1632
Madrid, Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y Cooperación, Palacio de Viana

52

Flower Pattern Armour

Desiderius Helmschmid
Embossed, engraved and gilt steel
Augsburg c. 1550
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

54

Order provided by the Count Duke of Olivares so that Diego Velásquez could be supplied with the pieces of the Royal Armoury that he should need to complete the commission of the royal portraits

Sepia ink on paper, 213 x 150 mm
Madrid 3 September 1625
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Archivo General de Palacio

55

Order provided by the Count Duke of Olivares so that Peter Paul Rubens could be provided with all the pieces of the Royal Armoury that he should need to complete the equestrian portrait of Philip IV

Sepia ink on paper, 213 x 150 mm
Madrid 3 September 1625
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Archivo General de Palacio

57

Burgonet and Shield of the Cross Harness

Wolfgang Grosschedel
Engraved and gilt steel, gold and brass
Burgonet, 28 x 19 x 26 cm
Shield, 55 cm de diámetro
Landshut 1551
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

60

Helmet of the Cross Harness called the Burgundy Cross Armour

Wolfgang Grosschedel
Engraved and gilt steel, gold and brass
Helmet, 27,5 x 22,5 x 32,1 cm. Weight 3730gr
Landshut 1551
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

62

View of the Palace and Gardens of the Buen Retiro

Jusepe Leonardo
Oil on canvas, 139 x 308 cm
c. 1637
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Palacio Real

63

Jael and Sisera

Pedro Núñez del Valle
Oil on canvas, 124 x 133 cm
c. 1630
Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland

64

Roman-style Armour of Guidobaldo della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, Presented as a Gift to Philip II

Bartolomeo Campi
Embossed, chassed, damascened steel, gold, silver, brass and fabric
Pesaro 1546
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

65

Heterogeneous Armour of Charles called Cleves

Desiderius Helmschmid
Engraved, embossed and gilt steel
c. 1535 - 1545 and 1543
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

67

Ceremonial Sword of the Catholic Monarchs

Engraved and gilt steel, brass, wood and fabric, 134 x 27 cm. Weight 1835 gr
Spain c. 1490
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

70

Shield of the Flower Pattern Armour

Desiderius Helmschmid
Embossed, engraved and gilt steel, 53,4 cm diameter. Weight 3700 gr
Augsburg c. 1550
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería

73

Charles III in Armour

Anton Raphaël Mengs
Oil on canvas, 156 x 110 cm
c. 1761
Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Palacio Real

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