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Velázquez and the Family of Philip IV

Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid 10/8/2013 - 2/9/2014

The exhibition opens in 1650 during Velázquez’s second period in Rome, at which date he had already spent more than a year outside Spain. In Rome, the artist painted around a dozen portraits of individuals associated with the papal court, of which four of the surviving six are included in the exhibition.They constitute a separate chapter within the artist’s oeuvre and one in which he markedly extended his expressive registers in order to brilliantly convey the personalities and concerns of these sitters. The exhibition opens with the Portrait of Innocent X from Apsley House, London. A version of the celebrated portrait in the Doria Pamphilj Gallery, Velázquez brought it back with him to Madrid. It will now be exhibited in Spain for the first time. Also on display in this gallery are the portraits of Cardinal Camillo Massimo (The Bankes Collection, National Trust, UK), Cardinal Camillo Astalli Pamphilj (Hispanic Society of America, New York), and Ferdinando Brandani (Museo del Prado), chief clerk to the papal secretariat, the latter a new identification of a work previously known as “the Pope’s Barber”. While Velázquez was in Rome, Mariana of Austria had married Philip IV and the city welcomed the arrival of the new Queen in late 1649. The second section in the exhibition focuses on the artist’s return to the capital in 1651 after much insisting on the King’s part. It presents comparisons between some of the Roman portraits and those Velázquez executed for the court after his return. Philip IV (Museo del Prado), The Infanta María Teresa (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and Queen Mariana of Austria (Museo del Prado) reveal how the painter once again deployed the hieratic distance evident in his earlier royal portraits as opposed to the expressivity of the Roman period.This return to the court constitutes the core of the exhibition, comprising the royal portraits that Velázquez produced from his arrival in Madrid until his death in 1660. Together they form a separate chapter in his career due to their technical and iconographic uniqueness and exceptionally high quality.At this period the world of women and children makes its appearance in the artist’s work and is the subject of the third room, which includes The Infanta María Teresa, Prince Felipe Próspero and The Infanta Margarita in blue and gold, all loaned from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. During this period Velázquez’s colour became denser and more rich and varied, while the compositions included spatial references arising from the settings. Particularly outstanding within this group is Las Meninas, which will not be hung in the exhibition (remaining in its habitual location in the Museum) but which is a key element in this group given that it represents a remarkable defence of the genre of portrait painting. Its complexity makes its comparable to the most erudite type of “history painting” and it can be seen as the finest example of the level of sophistication achieved by the Spanish court at a high point of cultural creativity. In addition, Las Meninas also represents a profound exercise of social and professional affirmation on Velázquez’s part through the inclusion of his self-portrait.The demand for images following the new Queen’s arrival and the birth of infantes and princes meant that Velázquez was obliged to produce more portraits, to which he responded by setting up an active studio that is represented in this exhibition by various studio versions of originals by the artist, created under his supervision. They include The Infanta Margarita and Queen Mariana of Austria (both Musée du Louvre, Paris). The exhibition concludes with examples of court portraiture by Velázquez’s successors Martínez del Mazo and Carreño. Both artists looked to their predecessor’s solutions in order to move royal iconography towards a more complex, Baroque style and to create a particularly Spanish typology for the court portrait that differs from other European schools in its inclusion of particular rooms in the royal palaces as the settings for these works.

Curator:
Javier Portús, Head of Spanish Painting (up to 1700)

Access

Room C. Jerónimos Building

Opening time

Monday to Saturday from 10am to 8pm. Sunday and holidays from 10am to 7pm.

Sponsored by:
Fundación Axa

Multimedia

Exhibition

Why Velázquez

Why Velázquez
Queen Mariana of Austria
Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 231 x 131 cm, 1652
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

"Firstly, it is important to note that this is not a general exhibition on Velázquez as it focuses on a very specific moment in his career as a court portraitist, namely his last eleven years. From the point of view of his models, compositions and use and variety of colour this is a highly distinctive period characterised by its beauty and exceptional quality. The exhibition also looks at Velázquez’s artistic legacy and how his presence was not just limited to the works created by his own hand but continued through studio products and through the endeavours of his successors, particularly Mazo and Carreño.

From the perspective of the Museo del Prado, since the time of its foundation in 1819 Velázquez has been one of the axes around which its collections have been organised. Investigating his work and contributing to its dissemination has always been one of the Museum’s responsibilities. In the case of the present exhibition, the aim is also to introduce visitors to two of the periods in his career that are least well represented in the collections: the second trip to Italy and the female and child portraits that he executed on his return to Madrid.

Within the more general context of Spain, Velázquez is one of the reference points for our collective memory. Over the centuries we have frequently used his works to reflect on ourselves and our history, in the manner of a mirror. Over time, this has resulted in an accumulation of different readings and connotations that enrich the original meanings of the works. Exhibitions such as this one aim to continue to nourish that intellectual source and to encourage reflection on ourselves, given that this event is not just about Velázquez, Mazo and Carreño but also about the royal family and how these artists were able to reflect a particularly complex moment of our past.

The exhibition’s point of reference is Las Meninas, which means that it revolves around one of the most “modern” of all Old Master paintings and one that has been of most interest to contemporary thinking. Since Picasso produced his series based on it in 1957 and Foucault published his essay in 1966, the painting has been the starting point for raising crucial questions on the laws and limits of representation, the role of the viewer, the tension between reality and illusion and the formulas to define identity. A number of these issues are also present in other works in the exhibition, which are part of the same context as the one in which Las Meninas was created.

From the 17th century in Spain and the 19th century in Europe and America, Velázquez has been one of the Old Masters most frequently reassessed by new generations of artists in a process that continues up to the present day. As a result of this process, Velázquez is a living reference point. In the case of the works in this exhibition, paintings such as Las Meninas or the portraits of the Infanta Margarita and Queen Mariana of Austria have had an extraordinary iconic value for Spanish and foreign artists, indicating the extent to which they are images with the capacity to continue generating responses from viewers. This exhibition offers an unprecedented concentration of Marianas, Margaritas and María Teresas, a gathering that we hope will prove a powerful stimulus.

In addition to being a page in the history of painting, the exhibition is a family chronicle; through these portraits visitors will make direct contact with the story of a family group, whose lives and destinies were markedly conditioned by issues of lineage and identity."

Javier Portus, Chief Curator of Spanish Painting at the Museo del Prado

Artworks

1

Pope Innocent X

Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 82 x 71 cm
1650
London, The Wellington Museum-Apsley House

2

Camillo Massimo

Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 75.9 x 61 cm
1650
Kingston Lacy, The Bankes Collection (The National Trust)

3

Camillo Astalli

Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 61 x 48 cm
1650 - 1651
New York, on loan from the Hispanic Society of America, New York, NY

6

Philip IV

Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 64.1 x 53.7 cm
ca. 1656
London, The National Gallery. Bought, 1865

7

Mariana of Austria

Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 46.7 x 43.5 cm
ca. 1653 - 1656
Dallas, Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas.Algur H. Meadows Collection

9

The Infanta María Teresa

Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 34 x 40 cm
1653
New York, lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jules Bache Collection, 1949

10

The Infanta María Teresa

Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 127 x 98.5 cm
1653
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie

11

The Infanta Margarita

Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 128.5 x 100 cm
ca. 1654
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie

12

The Infanta Margarita

Velázquez Workshop
Oil on canvas, 70 x 58 cm
ca. 1654
Paris, Collection de Louis XIV. Musée du Louvre. Département des Peintures

13

The Infanta Margarita

Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 105 x 88 cm
1656
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie

14

Felipe Próspero

Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 128.5 x 99.5 cm
ca. 1659
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie

15

The Infanta Margarita in a Blue Dress

Diego Velázquez
Oil on canvas, 126 x 106 cm
ca. 1659
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie

16

The Infanta Margarita in a Green Dress

Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo
Oil on canvas, 121 x 107 cm
ca. 1659
Budapest, Szépművészeti Múzeum

19

Las Meninas

Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo
Oil on canvas, 142.2 x 121.9 cm
ca. 1660
Kingston Lacy, The Bankes Collection (The National Trust)

20

The Infanta Margarita in a Pink Dress

Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo
Oil on canvas, 120.5 x 94.5 cm
ca. 1663
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie

21

The Painter’s Family

Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo
Oil on canvas, 149.5 x 174.5 cm
1664 - 1665
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie

22

Mariana of Austria

Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo
Oil on canvas, 196.8 x 146 cm
1666
London, The National Gallery. Presented by Rosalind, the Countess of Carlisle, 1913

24

Charles II

Juan Carreño de Miranda
Oil on canvas, 210 x 147 cm
ca. 1671
Oviedo, Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias

27

Mariana of Austria

Juan Carreño de Miranda
Oil on canvas, 208 x 141 cm
1677
Rohrau, Graf Harrach'sche Familiensammlung, Schloss Rohrau

28

Charles II as Grand Master of the Order of the Golden Fleece

Juan Carreño de Miranda
Oil on canvas, 216 x 140 cm
1677
Rohrau, Graf Harrach'sche Familiensammlung, Schloss Rohrau

29

Queen Mariana of Austria

Velázquez Workshop
Oil on canvas, 209 x 125 cm
1652 - 1653
Paris, Collection de Louis XIV. Musée du Louvre. Département des Peintures

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