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V4)««4^ '' If''*'^*' 

Diego Vcla'/quez. 

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Diego Velazquez 








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IN this English edition of Professor Justi*s great work on 
*' Velazquez and His Times'* the text has been closely 

adhered to throughout ; and the fact that the proof-sheets 

have passed through the Author's hands will perhaps be a 

sufficient guarantee of its fidelity to the original. At the same 

time it was not thought necessary to reproduce a number 

of pieces justificatives and other documents of various kinds, 

by which the work would have been needlessly encumbered, 

and references to which will doubtless be found sufficient for 

all practical purposes. Some historical and descriptive details 

not bearing directly on the argument have here and there 

been also omitted with the Authors sanction. But in all 

other respects the text will be found intact, and nothing has 

certainly been curtailed by which the vivid picture of the great 

central figure, whether as a man of striking personality or an 

artist of astounding originality, might in any way be impaired. 

The few explanatory and other notes added by the 
Translator are in all cases duly certified. 

Special care has been bestowed on the Index, where 
fulness has been aimed at, even at the risk of redundance. 

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vi Preface. 

It may here be mentioned that, although the work was 
dedicated by permission to the late Emperor Frederick, he 
never lived to see its completion. There was a special fitness 
in this dedication, which had suggested itself so far back 
as the year 1883, during the then Crown Prince's visit to 
Madrid. On that occasion this illustrious friend of Art had 
been more profoundly impressed by the works of Velazquez 
than by any of the other treasures of the world-renowned 
Prado Museum. 

A. H. K. 

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Introduction . . i 

The Galleries • • ^ . . 7 

Biographical Data ^ 

Seville 16 

The Poets and Literary Circles 21 

Mediaeval Art 25 

The Mannerists . 30 

Juan de las Roelas 35 

Francisco de Herrera 38 

Francisco Pacheco 42 

" Art of Painting " 47 

*• Book of Portraits " 49 

Venetian Painting 50 

El Mudo 50 

El Greco 51 

The Toledan School 54 

Orrente 54 

Maino 54 

Tristan 55 


The Family 59 

His Student Years 61 

National Types .68 

The Water-Carrier of Seville 69-72 

The Old Woman and Omelet 72-3 

The Mendicant and Globe 73-4 

Religious Subjects 75 

St. John in Paimos 76 

The Woman and Dragon 76-7 

The Epiphany ; . 78-80 

The Shepherds 81-3 

The Two Journeys to the Court 83 

The Appointment 88 

Madrid oi 

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viii Contents. 


Art Circles 93 

Court and Palace, Madrid . . 96 

Philip IV 104 

Olivares , 113 

Charles Prince of Wales 120 

The Italian Court Painters . . 121 

Caxesi 123 

Nardi 123 

Carducho 124 

Carducho's Work on Painting 126 

The Expuhion of the Moriscos 129 

Rubens in Madrid . . 131 

Influence of Rubens on Velazquez ... * 133 

The Bacchus (The Borrachos ox Topers) 139-46 


Eastward Ho ! 149 

In Venice -15' 

Titian and Tintoretto 153 

Rome in the year 1630 156 

Art and Artists 158 

The Pictures of the Twelve Masters 160 

His Own Portrait ... , 163-4 

In the Villa Medici 164-6 

Triumphal Arch of Titus 167-8 

The Forge of Vulcan ... 168-73 

Joseph's Coat 174-5 

Naples: Mary of Hungary 175-9 

Jusepe Ribera 179 


Official Duties . . 187 

Buen Retiro 189 

Park Views 196 

The Fountain of the Tritons '97-9 

The Surrender of Breda 199-209 

Hunting and Hunting-pieces 209 

The Boar-hunt 212-8 

The Stag-hunt . 218-20 

The Three Royal Sportsmen 220-4 

The Master of the Hounds 224-6 

Alonso Cano in Madrid • . . . . 226 

Murillo in Madrid .... 229 

The Crucifixion in San Placido 236-41 

Christ at the Pillar 241-8 

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Velazquez as a Portrait Painter 251 

Female Portraits 262 

The Sibyl 265-6 

Lady with a Fan 266-8 

J nana de Miranda 268-71 

The Duchess of Chevreuse 271-2 

Isabella of Bourbon 272-5 

The Two Little Maidens 275-7 

Celebrities and Obscurities 277 

Quevedo 277-81 

The Sculptor Martinez MontaHes 281-4 

Cardinal Borja, or Borgia 284-91 

Francis d'Este, Duke of Modena 291-4 

Admiral Adrian Pulido 295-8 

The Count of Benavente 298-9 

Portraits of Unknown Persons 299 

The Marquis of Castel Rodrigo . 

The Equestrian Portraits .... 
The Equestrian Portrait of Philip IV, 
The Fraga Portrait .... 
Equestrian Portrait of Prince Balthasar 
Equestrian Portrait of Olivares . 
The Portraits of Philip III. and Queen Margarita of Austria 




31 1-3 

Last Portraits of Olivares 317-9 

Julianillo 319-21 

Prince Balthasar Carlos 321-8 

The Child 321 

The Little Rider 322 

The Little Sportsman 324 

The Little Wooer 325 

Town Views: Saragossa 328-31 

The Fortress of Pamplona ^331-2 

The Conversation 333-6 

Group of Cavaliers 333 

Two Groups of Courtiers 334 

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SIXTH BOOK.— ry//: secoxd journey to rome, 


Occasion of the Journey 339 

Pictuie-dealing in Venice . . r 340 

Naples in 1649 343 

Rome in 1650 345 

Velazquez' Relations to the Roman Artists 347 

Juan de Pareja 352-4 

Innocent X. 354-62 

The Antiques 362 

Metelli and Colonna > 364 


The Last Years ....:... 
The Office of Palace Marshal (Aposentador de Palacio) 

Administration of the Galleries 

The Cross of Santiago 

The Completion of the Escorial 

The ** Mcmoria " . • 


The Third Style 389 

Queen Mariana 0/ A us iria 39S-402 

The Infanta Maria Theresa 402-5 

The Princess Margaret 405-10 

The I nfaf it Don Philip Prosper 410-2 

iMst Portraits of Philip IV. 412-3 

The Family Portrait {Las Meninas ; The Maids of Honour^ . . . . 414-22 

Velazquez' Family 422-5 

Portraits of Velazquez 425-7 

The spinners {Las Ililanderas) 427-33 

Dwarfs, Buffoons and Jesters 433 

Cristdbal de Pentia 438-40 

Don Juan de Austria 440-1 

Pablillos de Valladolid 442-3 

The Marquis del Borro 443-5 

The Dwarfs 445 

Sebastian de Morra 447-9 

El Primo 448-9 

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Contents. xi 


Idiots and Imbeciles 449 

El Bobo de Coria 449-50 

El Niho de Vallccas 449-5 ' 

The Philosophers 451 

Esop 451-3 

Menippus 453-5 

The Ugly in Art 455 

Mythologies. . . , 457 

Mars 458-61 

Mercury and Argus 461-2 

Venus with the Mirror 462-6 

Religious Paintings of the Last Period 466 

The Coronation of the Virgin 466-9 

The Anchorites {SS. Paul and Anthony) 4^9-74 

The Journey to the Pyrenees^ 474 

The End 47^ 

Velazquez* Successors 480 

Carreno 480 

Coello ... 481 

Index .... , 485 

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Page 87, line 5 from end, for Charton, read Churton. 
„ 96, „ 2 from top, for Coffington, read Cottington. 

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A HUNDRED years ago the name of Velazquez was still rarely 
mentioned this side of the Pyrenees, and least of all in Germany. 
The muster roll of the great painters seemed long dosed, and no one 
suspected that in the Far West, in the palaces of Madrid and Buen Retiro, 
lay concealed the credentials of an artist who possessed full claims to rank 
with the foremost of the great masters. He had doubtless passed, from 
Palomino, the "Spanish Vasari," into the dictionaries of painters, but it 
was reserved for a Gernian painter to give him his proper place in the 
general history of modern painting. Raphael Mengs — whose writings con- 
tain critical estimates of the classical masters, and who dreamt of a new 
dawn of Art by a fusion of their diverse qualities, combined with a study 
of the antique, but who himself remained one of the last and feeblest of 
the Eclectics — during his survey of the royal pictorial treasures in 1761, 
found himself, not without emotion, for he had at least the eye of a painter, 
in the presence of one who, of all he had hitherto met, least resembled 
himself. In what this Saxon called the ''natural style" he discovered 
in Velazquez a superior even to those whom — like Titian, Rembrandt, 
and Gerhard Dow — he had hitherto regarded as the leaders in that field. 
"The best models of the natural style,'* he wrote in 1776 to Antonio Ponz, 
the cicerone of Spanish Art, " are (he works of Diego Velazquez, in their 
knowledge of light and shade, in the play of aerial effect, which are the 
most important features of this style, because they give a reflection of 
the truth." 

What Mengs here states in his own way had already been the impres- 
sion of contemporaries. When, in the jubilee year, Philip IV.'s Court 
painter exhibited the portrait of his slave Juan Pareja, in the Pantheon 
at Rome, the painters, according to the report of the German, Andreas 
Schmidt, then present, declared that all else, whether old or new, was 
painting; this picture alone was truth. And this statement doubtless 


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2 Velazquez. 

implied more in 1650 than at any time before or since. Moreover, it 
expresses the ideal of the master himself, and probably in his own words. 
We hear artists making the same remark to-day when contemplating the 
portrait of the then reigning Innocent X., which Velazquez left behind in 
the *' Capital of Art," as he had his own portrait twenty years previously. 
From the impression made on me by this remarkable work, which I first 
saw in the Doria Gallery in 1867, dates my own interest in Velazquez, as 
well as the first impulse to the journeys and researches which have resulted 
in the present work. 

Velazquez is one of those individualities that brook no comparison with 
any others. All attempts to sum up such persons in a single sentence 
end only in platitudes or hyperbole. The Court painter of Charles III. 
regarded him as the first of naturalists. ''Were painting but a second 
birth of Creation," says Charles Blanc, " then Velazquez would unques- 
tionably be the greatest of painters." To Waagen, who became acquainted 
with his works late in life, he appeared to represent the realism of the 
Spanish school in all its one-sidedness, but also in its greatest perfection. 
Still this critic cannot refrain from adding : " Nay, so far as it is a question 
of reproducing men as they are, with the utmost vividness of conception, 
with the greatest truth to form and colour, with the rarest mastery of an 
absolutely free and broad treatment, I do not hesitate to pronounce him 
the greatest painter that has ever lived." Beul^ called him the first of 
colourists, and Thore the painter of painters (le peintre le plus peintre qui 
flit jamais). 

Piety and mysticism have been specified as the peculiar and dominant 
characteristics of Spanish Art, and this may be true of its subject-matter 
as well as of the strict religiosity of its exponents. But who will maintain 
that Spain can rival Italy in religious painting? Where are her Giottos, 
her Fiesoles and Peruginos ? We seek in vain for a monument on a 
level with the Sixtine Madonna and the Disputa, the Adoration of the 
Lamb in Ghent or Titian's Asunta, just as we seek in vain for a Spanish 
Dante or Milton. Spain has her solitary Murillo, whose mental calibre is 
comparable to that of devotional painters such as Guido, Carlo Dolce, and 
Sassoferrato ; but what places him far before these is the happy association 
of homely national types, local colouring and play of light in the traditional 
material, his naturalism, and genial childlike character. 

What fascinates strangers in the Spanish religious paintings is, not so 
much their wealth of feeling and depth of symbolism as a certain touch of 
earnestness, simplicity, and downright honesty. These artists were far from 
making religious subjects a pretext for introducing charming motives of a 

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Introduction. 3 

different order ; but, with mediaeval artlessness, they never hesitated to 
transfer such subjects to a Spanish environment. Hence the frequently 
whimsical character of these Spanish ecclesiastical paintings, which — 
although seldom repulsive, and mostly even attractive through their genuine 
qualities — has occasionally led to an exaggerated view of their artistic worth. 

In the fifteenth century we find the retablo painters of the provincial 
schools, under the influence of the Flemings, already betraying similar 
tendencies, even within the narrow bounds of " Gothic " Art. But the 
intruding Italian spirit soon arrested these beginnings of a genuine 
national school. For fully a century the Spaniards devoted themselves 
to idealism, with the result that with much pains they produced nothing but 
indifferent works. Then followed the reaction to the opposite system, but 
now with very different artistic powers. The invariable effect of this system 
was to give scope to individuality, pointing, as it did, to Nature as the true 
source of inspiration, and placing talent on an independent footing. But 
these very Spanish masters, of a pure and even rugged type, who, with one 
exception never travelled abroad, nevertheless made the round of the world, 
and created the notion of what is called the Spanish school. They belong 
to the epoch of Philip IV., as pictured to us in the words of Leopold Ranke : 
" His epoch, so saddened by political failures and financial maladministration, 
has otherwise a far more Spanish complexion than earlier times." 

Of this group Velazquez was the most consistent in principle ; he 
possessed the greatest technical skill, and the truest painter's eye. Hence, 
from the material standpoint, he may be unreservedly accepted as not only 
the one almost purely secular Spanish painter, but the most Spanish of 
Spanish painters. 

For over a century the Spaniards possessed a state, in the modem sense 
of the term, but a state the machinery of which was still clogged by the per- 
sistence of many elements of mediaeval culture. From the friction of the 
jejune modern classically trained intellect with this world of dreams there 
arose, if not the .only good work, assuredly the most incomparable and 
entertaining of Spanish, if not of all modern imaginative literature. In those 
days no anti-chamber lacked its Don Quixote) this book circulated as 
an innovation • amongst the young generation, founders of the "School of 
Seville." Miguel Cervantes, who, like Leonardo, called experience the 
mother of all science, and who declared history to be holy, '* because it is 
true, and where is truth there is God,'* ^ possessed in his richly endowed 
mind a large share of commonplace rationalism, what Schlegel called '* the 
prosaic corner in his poetic soul." But such a prosaic corner everywhere 

* Don Quixote^ i. 21 ; li. 3. 

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4 Velazquez. 

crops up in Spanish poetry and culture. By the side of the pale gaunt 
steed of romanticism trots the ass of practical popular wisdom. The 
romances of vagabond life (gusio picaresco) are, even in their trivial details, 
no exaggerated fore-runners of the realistic novel created by the present 
school of South French writers. Dramatists, such as Lope, glorified the 
old ideas of honour, love, and loyalty in subtle entanglements and in 
sparkling language. But Calderon, the poet of the age and of the Court — 
" a poet if a poet ever was " — embodies not only the spirit of his epoch, 
but also a picture of contemporary manners and dress, of scenes in the 
streets, in parks, church, and palace — a picture than which no better can be 
gleaned from chronicles and memoirs. 

Whence comes this feature of the Spanish character ? Is it an heirloom 
of their Iberian forefathers, a product of soil and climate ? or is it to be 
sought in that interchange of qualities that may have been brought about 
during their protracted struggles with their Eastern oppressors ? *' The 
Arab," says Dozy, ** has little fancy and no invention, but a preference for 
the real and positive. The Arabian poets describe what they see and experi- 
ence, but they invent nothing." * In the same way Cervantes calls the 
knight-errant poetry lying books (libros mentirosos). Had their religion 
allowed the Arabs to have painters they would probably have painted 
portraits, hunts, festive sports, and pictures of manners, such as we see 
in the Hall of Justice in the Alhambra — painted, however, as I believe, 
by Spaniards. The same trait is still characteristic of modern Spanish 
painting, which has been freely developed without any special connection 
with the past. 

In any case this feature provided itself at the right moment with an eye 
as an organ exceptionally endowed for photographing visible phenomena. 
''With Velazquez we seem to observe nature as in a camera obscura" 
By his official position completely restricted in the choice of his subjects he 
seems, in his inmost soul, interested only in his optic pictorial problems. 
He was often attracted by what was difficult to grasp and reproduce, but 
what at the same time was of daily occurrence, familiar as the all-diffused 
sunlight itself. He thus imposed tasks upon himself which have not again 
been attacked till quite recent times. Yet, for all that, few others have 
given less rein to the play of fancy, or turned to such little account the 
opportunities of immortalizing beauty ; few also have shown less sympathy 
with the yearning of human nature for that unreal which consoles us for 
the realities of life. 

But his portraits, landscapes, hunting scenes, all that he ever did, may 
^ Hisioire des Musuhnans d'Espagne, i., 13. 

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Introduction. 5 

be taken as standards wherewith to measure the depth of conventional 
dross in others. The medium through which he viewed Nature absorbed, 
to use a physical illustration, less colour elements than that of other ^ 
artists. As by the side of the electric light otherwise white flames seem 
murky, so in the presence of his works those even of naturalists show 
to disadvantage. Compared with Velazquez, Titian's colouring seems 
conventional, Rembrandt phantastic, and Rubens infected with a dash of 
unnatural mannerism. 

If he infuses less into his subjects than any others he certainly extracts 
more from them. No one has taken more to heart Borer's maxim that 
" truly Art lies hid in Nature ; he has her that can draw her out." Impressed 
by the Spanish Gallery in the Louvre, a German wrote : " If he lacked wings 
to soar above the welkin, and to body forth the superhuman expression of 
those realms, he was perhaps the greatest of all whose feet ever trod the 
ground. His works were elevated by expression and character, and often 
acquired a highly poetical colour, even when he himself meant only to be 
true and loyal to Nature. Velazquez imparted to the iTiost ordinary por- 
trait more poetry and loftiness than many other historical painters to their 
allegorical compositions." 

Whatever he saw he transferred to the canvas by methods of a constantly 
varying and even impromptu character, which are often a puzzle to painters. 
Yet these methods were often extremely simple, such as those by which 
Rembrandt produced those inimitable effects in his etchings. It has been 
remarked that " the mental intention of the artist is intimately bound up with 
the technical power of representation." But it is no less true that genius, 
like Nature herself, never yet lacked the means of realizing what it saw and 
wished to realize. The Italian painting of the fourteenth century would have 
scarcely been differently constituted even had the new oil* technique been 
already known, and the great Fleming himself would surely have still been 
possible, had he to put up with any other medium. Velazquez impresses 
the great majority of those who handle the brush, especially by the outward 
display of those expedients, as the most ingenious of all artists, that is, \ 
who can make the most out of the slenderest resources, and we often 
forget that for him this is merely a means to the end. 

Hence the never-failing attraction possessed by Velazquez' works. Of 
no other can we view so many together without a sense of weariness. Not 
a few he has executed, each of which is quite sui generis , and such that, on 
the variations of the theme in other hands, a whole series of subjects might be 
founded. The lifelike charm that they exercise lies both in their outward and 
' E. C. (KoloflF) im Kunsiblatt, 1839, P- '57. 

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6 Velazquez. 

inward aspects, in the glow of the complexion and the revelation of 
the will, in the breathing, throbbing glance and the depth of character. 
" His principal works," aptly remarks Sir J. C. Robinson, "... like the im- 
mortal creations of Shakespeare, are replete with such intense and vivid 
realism, that, as long as the world endures and they remain in evidence, 
they will probably commend themselves to the observer in as complete 
earnest as at the first moment of their production. The pictures of Velazquez 
have this in common with photographs, that they impress the mind with 
such a powerful sense of actuality, as almost to suggest to the beholder in 
their after remembrance the having assisted at the visible passages of human 
action represented." * 

Hence the life-work of Velazquez readily lends itself to monographic 
treatment ; one might even say that each separate work invites such treat- 
ment. Others have doubtless handled far more weighty and edifying themes ; 
others have possessed a higher measure of the creative faculty ; others have 
had at their command more penetrating tones and ravishing harmonies. 
Compared with the colourists of the Venetian and Netherlandish schools, 
Velazquez appears even prosaic and jejune ; nay, we scarcely know one with 
fewer attractions ^or the uninitiated. 

But one quality he possessed in a pre-eminent degree. In each indi- 
vidual work he is new and special, both as regards invention and technique. 
For the historical student the productions of this " Home Secretary of 
Nature," as Ch. Blanc calls him, are contemporary records ; to the philosopher 
they exhibit, as in a mirror, his chief theme, man ; for the practical artist 
they are stimulating, while their details satisfy anatomist, sportsman, and 
cobbler alike. 

His works possess in a high degree that quality of originality which 
Palomino calls the ''canonization" of a work of Art. In his great 
historical paintings no connection can be detected with earlier models, and 
they have, in their turn, remained inimitable. But what eminently dis- 
tinguishes him from all other original painters is his artlessness and 
uncoloured truth to Nature. His two picturesque masterpieces are memories 
of observed situations of the most trivial and limited nature. For other- 
wise the impression of originality is based on an overwhelming subjectivity 
stamped upon every feature of the composition. ^^.i^ 

The interest and enthusiasm with which we contemplate Art works 

of the past would appear to depend not alone on a yearning after historic 

knowledge, or on the practical utility of such studies ; it must even be 

somewhat independent of our attitude in the idle discussion on the superiority 

' Memoranda on Fifty Pictures (London : 1868), p. 43. 

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The Galleries. 7 

of old and modern Art. Painters declare that, as regards technique they 
have nothing more to learn from the old masters. In any case their Art ' 
differs in this respect from the mechanical Arts, for instance. The charm 
of the old monuments lies in the. here embodied special manifestations of 
spiritual and physical humanity — which being conditioned by certain 
relations of time, culture, and race — can no more recur than can those 
relations themselves. Hence what we seek and what rivets our atten- 
tion is a complete representation of our common nature^ which in 
each successive epoch is exhibited only in a fragmentary way. Herein 
for us lies the value and the indispensable character of Greek plastic 
Art. Hence the tendency of our times towards mediaeval Christian Art, 
in which is embodied a peculiar and irrecoverable phase of human 

The times of Cervantes and Murillo, when in Spain special forms were 
created for special material conditions and ways of thought^ may also be 
taken as a special, if somewhat limited, phase of humanity, entitled to 
a niche in its pantheon, and not merely to a page in the records of 
historical finds. 

The Galleries. 

Velazquez and his admirers have had the rare good fortune that the 
more important half of his works have never been scattered, but still remain 
where they were originally produced. They have, migrated only from the 
palaces to the Prado Museum. Thanks to the slight deterioration of the 
colours, the dry atmosphere of Madrid and long exemption from the meddling 
of curators of the old type, they are also in a state of preservation that leaves 
nothing to be desired. We are thus enabled to follow, step by step, an 
artistic career of forty years, where land and people — here more characteristic 
and persistent than in northern regions — serve as commentaries to the 
authors text. For life alone can remove the dust and stiffness imparted 
by time to works of Art. Contemporary records, chronicles, and literature 
enable us also to conjure up the epoch and very surroundings of this active 
career in all its lifelike details of characters and outward circumstances. 
In the writings, despatches, and poetry of the times, how often do we meet 
descriptions, which seem stereotyped on the paintings of Velazquez ! In 
the broad, solitary, treeless valleys of the Castilian table-lands how often 
do we recognize those landscapes, with their clear, deep azure atmo- 
spheric tones, in which he places his glowing equestrian portraits ; or in 
the narrow streets of his towns some peasant or mendicant, who seems 
to have stepped out of one of Velazquez' frames I The Museum itself 

Digitized by 


8 Velazquez. 

forms a chapter in this commentary. Here we behold the very society, 
the hills, the parks, in which he moved, the productions of the Italian 
brush that he admired and studied, and some of which he had himself 
brought with him from Italy to enrich these collections. 

Only a few important works have perished in the conflagrations of 
churches and palaces. But during the stormy times at the beginning of 
this century many, apparently all in private collections, found their way 
to foreign lands. For a complete survey of his life-work a knowledge is 
needed of this dispersed second half of his productions. Let no one 
flatter himself that he knows this painter, unless he is familiar with the 
works at present in England. Although the Madrid Museum must always 
remain unrivalled as possessing all the five great historical and equestrian 
subjects, it still lacks many remarkable pieces, and even whole classes of 
representations. Amongst these are the common everyday scenes of his 
Andalusian period, such as the Water-Carrier, owned by the Duke of 
Wellington ; the types of Church dignitaries, such as the Pope in the 
Doria Palace, and the Cardinal now in Frankfort ; and, with one exception, 
the great portraits of Spanish ladies, and his solitary Venus. The Belvedere 
Gallery surpasses Madrid in delightful pictures of children endowed with 
all the softness of tender years, and radiant in their bright adornments. 
Lastly, to England have gone the scenes of the hunt and riding-school, 
and, last, not least, the few genuine original sketches. 

The best specimens of Velazquez in foreign lands are not to be sought 
in the great collections. In no other case do the much administered 
public museums show to greater disadvantage compared with the results of 
private enterprise. The London National Gallery contains only the ruined 
Boar-hunt, two ordinary portraits of Philip IV., and the Shepherds, which 
as a production of his youth and imitation doubtless possesses some 
biographical value, but which can scarcely pretend to give an adequate idea 
of the master's Art. For some little time, however, it has here been more 
worthily represented by the gift of the Christ at the Pillar. Although nearly 
all portable works of Velazquez, as well as of Murillo and Zurbaran, have 
during the present century appeared on the market, and mostly in London ; 
although English amateurs had already in the previous century acquired a 
taste for Spanish Art ; although painters like Wilkie and Burnet had ob- 
served the kindred spirit animating Velazquez and the British portraitists; 
and although English writers had first proclaimed the excellence of 
these Spanish masters, still none of their best works seemed destined to 
enrich the London National Gallery. When we picture to ourselves a 
general exhibition of the Velazquez scattered over England, such as that 

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Biographical Data. 9 

of Manchester,' we see how easily London might have acquired a Spanish 
collection worthy to compare with that of Madrid itself. 

Nor have things been better managed on the Continent. The Louvre 
has a replica, and a very indifferent one, of the Royal Sportsman, an easel 
painting, and a small sketch; the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, besides a 
replica of the Pope's Head, nothing but doubtful pieces; the Dresden 
Gallery three from Modena; even the Munich Pinakothek scarcely any- 
thing except one portrait of Olivares from the Castle of Schleissheim. 
Lately the Berlin Museum has acquired two notable portraits of ladies. 
Drawings are very rare, a few only having reached the Madrid National 
Library from Valentine Carderera's estate ; some of a very remarkable 
character are also in the collection bequeathed by Cean Bermudez to the 
Instituto Asturiano of his native town, Gijon. 

Biographical Data. 

Velazquez' name first appears in print in Vincenzo Carducho's Didlogos 
de la Pintura (1633), where mention is made of the paintings in the royal 
palace of Madrid. But the earliest trustworthy accounts of his life occur 
in his father-in-law's (Pacheco) Arte de la Pintura (Seville: 1649). The 
description here given of his first Italian journey would appear to be 
derived from letters written at the time. Sixty-four years after his death 
appeared Palomino's detailed biography in the Museo Pictorico (1724). But 
this biographer of the painters was already at work in Madrid so early 
as 1678, and had been Court painter since 1688. In the palaces he saw 
everything left behind by Velazquez ; he also availed himself of the public 
records as well as the memoranda of artists who, like Juan de Alfaro, had 
associated with him. Palomino could still draw from the copious stream 
of unbroken tradition, and in point of fact subsequent writers have done 
little beyond making a few corrections and additions to his memoir. The 
Museo was the only source of all our information regarding Velazquez and 
his associates outside Spain down to the present century. The account of 
Velazquez' life contained in it was translated into English in 1739; into 
French in 1749; and into German (Dresden) in 1 78 1. D'Argenville's 
Biography (1745) is a mere summary of this account. Antonio Ponz 
introduced a few descriptions of paintings into his Art Journey (Madrid : 
1772) et seq, Cean Bermudez utilized for his Diccionario the memoranda 
of contemporaries, such as those of the painter Lazaro Diaz del Valle 

' "Aucun mus6e excepts le mus^e de Madrid, n'offre une aussi splendide collection 
de leurs tableaux (Velazquez et Murillo).'— W. BUrger, Tresors dArt en Angleterre, 
(Brussels: i860). 

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lo Velazquez. 

(1659), copies of which are still extant in private collections. The 
Discourses of Joseph Martinez, another contemporary colleague, published 
in 1866 by Valentine Carderera, also contains a section bearing on this 

But not till the present century was it possible for the name of 
Velazquez to take a prominent and clearly defined position in the com- 
monwealth of Art. Two events contributed to this result : One was 
King Ferdinand VII.'s decision (18 19) to bring together in one museum 
the paintings in the royal palaces of Madrid and San Ildefonso, where 
they had been only casually accessible to a few privileged persons; the 
other was the dispersion of a part of Velazquez' works throughout 
France and England after tht wars of the empire. Even what had 
already found its way abroad now first attracted attention. Many paintings 
in France and Italy, in the Austrian imperial palaces, in the Dresden 
Gallery, and elsewhere, had hitherto been partly inaccessible, or else 
passed under false names, especially that of Rubens. The portrait of 
the Pope in the Pamfili Palace had alone retained its right name. 

Since then others, besides specialists, have become acquainted with 
Velazquez. In the Paris and London Art circles he has become a 
well-known and familiar name, quite as attractive to Art students as to 
connoisseurs, dealers, and collectors. 

The lead was taken by England, thanks to the general love of travel 
and to a preference for the Spanish school which even in the last century 
was already represented in private collections. The first readable bio- 
graphy we owe to Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, a Scottish baronet, who 
was born in 1 81 8 and died in 1878. It first appeared in the Annals 
of the Artists of Spain (London: 1848), and afterwards in separate 
editions. This writer was a gentlemarf of the grand style, not only 
because he did not make a trade of his books, but also because in their 
company we always seem to be moving in the best society. He doubt- 
less appeals to the somewhat spoiled taste of the British public, but 
he always quotes with the conscientiousness of a well-trained historian. 
In a small space he gives us the most out-of-the-way, but always interest- 
ing and curious, details, such as could be brought together only by such a 
bibliophilist, whose Spanish library was, and still is, without a rival in 
Europe — an olla podrida^ as Ford calls it, " stuffed with savouries, not 
forgetting the national garlic." Yet, although a skilful draughtsman. Sir 
William was still far more of a historian, a heraldic writer and man of 
letters, than a connoisseur. He lingers rather over graphic descriptions 
of grand State ceremonials and festivities than on artistic processes, such 

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Biographical Data. i i 

as Prosper Merim6e missed in his numerous notices.* These Annals, 
composed while still quite a young man, are, after all, nothing more than 
an elegant re-hash of those of Palomino and Bermudez, served up with 
English sauce, substantially the same as Fiorillo brought out in Gottingen 
(1806), only enlivened by the lights and shadows of his impressions of 
travel, and by the broad perspectives of history, in which he was wtII 

A better connoisseur than Sir William, although now regarded as 
somewhat optimistic, was Richard Ford (1796), the genial companion of 
all travellers in Spain. His Handbook of Spain, first issued in 1845, 
is altogether incomparable of its kind, the work of one deeply read in 
ancient and modern authors, seasoned with humour, sarcasm, sympathy 
based on a knowledge of the people, saturated with the very atmosphere 
of the land. His article on Velazquez in the Penny Cyclopcedia is also the 
best in the English language. 

Stirling-Maxwell's biography was also translated into German (Berlin : 
1856), and by G. Brunet into French, with a Catalogue Raisonne by W. BOrger 
(pseudonym of T. Thord), 1865. But while that work is based mainly 
on book knowledge, the Apen^us of Theodore Thord are, on the contrary, 
altogether inspired by a study of the originals themselves. This unerring 
critic of old and modern painters, who mostly hits the right nail on the head, 
was even a recognized innovator in the method of estimating paintings ; and 
the fact that he himself took a passionate part in the struggles of modern. 
Art merely adds animation to his descriptions. He was one of those born 
painters, who work only with the pen, and his causual aphorisms are more 
trustworthy than many learned works. His '* winged words " have the 
force of irresistible conviction, because they express first impressions alone, 
impressions which are too often counterfeited by the cacoethes scrtbendi of 
the monographist. 

In similar apposite notices French literature is by no means poor, 
though here it will suffice to mention Charles Blanc and Th^ophile Gautier. 
The valuable articles contributed to the Gazette des Beaux-arts by Paul 
Lefort, the best 'French critic of the Spanish school, have now been 
brought together in an illustrated volume. 

Since the year i860 the fellow-countrymen of the now highly esteemed 
painter have also on their part taken the preliminary steps for a complete 
biography, based on the original materials stowed away in the national 
archives. Some twenty years ago monographs were prepared, and in 1870 
and 1874 partly promised, by three collectors of documents favourably placed 
* Revile des Deux Mondes^ 1848, xxiv., p. 639 et seq. 

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1 2 Velazquez. 

for undertaking such works. Still these researches have not yielded the 
results that might have been expected. But few references to special 
paintings have come to light, and so far not a single letter of the painter 
himself. Yet he is known to have corresponded with Rubens and with 
the Murcian painter, Don Nicolas de Villacis. An important find would 
certainly be the recently discovered memoir on the paintings in the 
Escorial, but unfortunately its authenticity is more than doubtful. 

The distinguished bibliophilist, Don Manuel Zarco del Valle, the king's 
librarian, has for the first time published in the Documentos ine'ditos 2l 
number of the more important records in the palace archives. He at the 
same- time promised a work which was to contain some extremely remark- 
able documents, utilizing for the purpose a number of very rare printed 
books of the seventeenth century, as well as information regarding unknown 
paintings from notices by contemporaries.* 

For these studies the greatest services have been rendered by Don 
Gregorio Cruzada Villaamil (born 1832, died 1885), editor of El Arte en 
Espafia (1862-70) — the only Art journal in Spain, now defunct through 
want of support — and author of the memoir on Rubens as a Spanish 
Diplomatist (Madrid: 1876). He has republished the extremely rare 
books of Carducho and Pacheco, which are so important for the study of 
the Spanish painting of this period ; and to him we owe the publication 
(1874) of the documents on Velazquez' patent of nobility from the archives 
of the Order in Ucles. Villaamil had begun to Issue a life of the painter, 
based on original documents, of which nine sheets lie before me, when 
this energetic man, who also took an active part in politics, was torn 
from his friends by a sudden and premature death. 

The first part of the copious Catalogue of the Prado Museum, a model 
of its kind, by Don Pedro de Madrazo y Kuntz (Madrid: 1872), contains, 
besides a biographical sketch enriched with some fresh data from the 
palace archives, careful descriptions of the paintings specially useful for 
the costumes, and an account of their vicissitudes in the royal palaces. 
For this volume, which has been followed by no others, Don Pedro 
received a thousand gold pieces from Isabella II. Numerous articles by 
this fruitful writer in his Gems of Paintings in the Illustrated Journal, 
and in the Paris review LArty are all preparatory to a comprehensive 
work which may now be expected, and for which he is undoubtedly in 
a highly favourable position. 

The advocate and bibliophilist, Don Francisco Asensio, of Seville, has 
communicated, in a memoir on Pacheco, the original entries in the Church 
' Documentos incditos para la Historia de Espafia, Iv., 1870, p. 398. 

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Biographical Data. • 1 3 

registers ; he has also lately issued a phototype of Pacheco's portrait 
series — again discovered and acquired by himself — the most fruitful source 
for a knowledge of contemporary society in Seville. At the time of my 
visit I was able to consult a copy of the text preserved in the library of 
the Historical Academy. 

Recently a work has been devoted to Velazquez and Murillo, such as 
one would Hke to have on many other artists. 1 refer to the remarkable 
book of Charles B. Curtis of New York/ with which America enters the 
arena of Art History. This work, evidently a labour of love and the 
result of some twenty years' industry, aims at a classified description of 
everything that at least in print has borne the name of Velazquez, together 
with the history of the paintings, their prices, and an inventory of all the 
reproductions, of which Curtis himself apparently possesses the most 
complete collection. The author has designedly refrained from critical 
estimates, which would have doubtless spared his readers much superfluous 
inquiry, but which would have also more than doubled his own task, 
while bringing the book very near to the ideal which seems to hover before 
the eyes of modern Art students. A specially convenient feature is the 
form which the book takes of a catalogue, whereas with such materials, 
ample enough no doubt for a Catalogue Ratsonne\ others might have believed 
themselves competent to write a history. At the same time the few doubts 
and conjectures scattered here and there show plainly enough that he by 
no means lacks critical acumen. Meanwhile his book relieves the present 
work from the necessity of supplying a detailed inventory of Velazquez' 

Richard Ford's remark, in 1848, that the Germans had not yet turned 
their usual accurate and critical industry in the direction of Spanish 
painting, contains a suggestion that has not yet been acted upon. Two 
journeys of Passavant and Waagen resulted in a small treatise by the 
former and a few articles by the latter, both with some reference to 
Velazquez, but that is all. 

During his first journey to Spain (1872), undertaken without any 
definite or literary purpose, the present writer felt himself especially 
attracted towards this master. He has often since returned to the 
Peninsula, but mostly with a view to other branches of the local Art 
world, which perhaps possessed to a greater degree the charm and 
advantage of an unexplored field. At times it occurred to him that a 
work on Velazquez might be more suited to Spanish readers, if not to 

1 Velazquez aftd Murillo ; a Descriptive and Historical Catalogue. By Ch. B. Curtis 
(London : 1883). 

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1 4 Velazquez. 

a Spanish pen. But after such intervals of hesitation he was still drawn 
towards this favourite object ; and thus, at last, was almost reluctantly 
produced the present work. In our days he alone has a right to attempt 
the biography of a painter who, by unwearied study of the originals, has 
laid a sure foundation for their appreciation. The author has endeavoured 
repeatedly to examine all the works known to him, including those scattered 
over Italy, Russia, and especially England. Those who have made similar 
researches will best judge of the time and labour needed merely to train 
the eye, or to form an estimate of works often of no importance in them- 
selves, or else in a few lines to justify the rejection of some doubtful 

Although the study of archives and the like are for us mere intervals 
of repose in the midst of our proper labours spent on the works them- 
selves, on the laws and technique of the Art, yet in the present case 
these intervals have at times been greatly protracted. Thus, to mention 
only one point, autographic copies had to be made of the inventories of 
the royal palaces, from which conclusions may be formed regarding the 
industry displayed by Velazquez in the arrangement of collections. The 
Spanish correspondence in the archives of Venice, Naples, Florence, 
Modena, and elsewhere in Italy, contain, besides some letters referring to 
the master, many data which often throw a surprising light on persons and 
circumstances mentioned in his biography. The life of an artist, in 
whom his epoch was so largely mirrored, would seem, like a mere frag- 
ment of some lost manuscript, unless correct bearings be taken of that 
epoch. But such bearings must be sought not in historical works, but in con- 
temporary diaries, despatches, and comedies, at least if something better is 
to be written than mere threadbare introductions to Art History. 

His travels in Spain itself gave him an opportunity to learn something 
of the land and the people, and this becomes in its turn indispensable to 
a full understanding of his productions. Velazquez should there be studied 
in the provinces as' well as in the capital, although outside Madrid 
scarcely any of his works can now be seen. If truth be the first virtue 
of a work of the imitative Arts, the special enjoyment of which consists 
after all in recognition, how are we to form a judgment without knowing 
what the artist had before his eyes ? The dons in their ruffs, and the 
dames in their farthingales, are doubtless no longer met on the banks of 
the Manzanares ; but their kith and kin have undergone little change. 
We often hear things called unnatural, only because we have never seen 
them, and so we attribute to the artist what lies in his subject. We trace 
the descent of motives, as if they were the traditional secrets of a guild, 

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Biographical Data. 15 

whereas they were all the time patent to everybody. We call certain 
conceptions stiff or crude, affected or ideal, which are yet downright honest 
copies of the reality. The native gesture-speech of the southerners to us 
seems mere pantomimic and mannered action, only because it is agitated 
as with the throb of life. Thus, by a recent bungler our master's land- 
scapes are likened to hanging draperies, although they are recalled at 
every step by all travellers in the Castilian highlands. 

A word on the disposition and arrangement of the contents. 

The history of an artist is, above all, the history of his works ; and 
these may with the greatest ease be determined, even where outward 
evidence fails us. In the present case we are not so fortunate as with 
Rembrandt or Ribera, for instance, but also not so helpless as with 
Murillo. The main changes in his pictorial Art are firmly established. 
But to pretend to give year and month for every painting could lead 
only to self-deception. How seldom — and even then one might say 
only by chance — are our deductions confirmed by subsequent extrinsic 
evidence ! The determination of the so-called " development " directs the 
attention too forcibly to certain changes of style depending on the periods 
of life, which in all cases are of a more or less typically similar character, 
but which have little to do with the inner essence of the artist's 

Our woodcuts, executed by R. Brend'amour, are based, apart from 
drawings by artists, mostly on J. Laurent's photographs and Braun's 
masterpieces; supplemented, where these failed, by lithographed copies, 
old copper-plates and etchings. These cuts are intended merely as 
illustrations, affording such a measure of help as the reader's imagination 
could not very well dispense with. It was not my intention to produce 
a sumptuous volume after present models, even were the means available. 
The book is the production of a writer who wants readers, not a text 
for a volume of pictures, where the author points, like a showman in 
the fair, to his exhibition. A work such as this should stand on its 
own merits. 

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Naturae gaudentis ct lascivientis opus. 


MANKIND generally takes more or less interest in the outward 
drcumstances and surroundings of persons who have left a deep 
impression behind them, either as public benefactors, or because of 
their great achievements or simply as objects of affection. We are curious 
about their birthplaces and early associations, the mountain air that they 
have breathed, the graves where they have found rest ; we seek informa- 
tion regarding their forefathers, their teachers, and companions in life ; 
and biographies now usually take account of this natural tendency, 
especially in the case of men, whose activity has been displayed in 
the realm of fancy. 

The present section will accordingly be devoted to the city of Seville 
and its society, to the changes of taste between the fifteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries, and to the leading artists who flourished about the 
beginning of the latter. Were all this as well known as, for instance, in 
the case of Florence, such a section might well have been omitted. But 
in the life-history of our painter a number of persons and things will 
have to be mentioned, suggesting to few readers any clear associations, 
and it would be scarcely courteous to expect them to provide themselves 
with a small library in order to complete the picture. A good book 
should contain nothing that is not perfectly clear and intelligible from 
the context itself. 

What Seville was in former times we do not yet need to discover in 
musty records, or to conjecture from ruined monuments. There still 
survive Jaber's famous minaret, and the orange court of the mosque. 

Digitized by 


Seville. 17 

with the puerta del perdon ; Don Pedro's alcazar and garden still serving 
as a royal residence; lastly, the stupendous cathedral, which according to 
the local tradition the canons resolved during a vacancy in the see to 
erect somewhat in the spirit of the builders of the tower of Babel. "Let 
us build such a huge church that posterity shall look upon us as fools/* 
is anyhow a happy Andalusian invention, expressed with thorough Spanish 
humour. It is a structure, so to say, without founder or architect, a work 
of many generations of canons and deans and archbishops, aided by a 
colony of foreign and native artists. 

These monuments show that -long before Columbus Seville was the 
fairest and most flourishing town in the kingdom ; in the language of 
Alarcon, "the paragon of the times and envy of cities." Navagero 
thought it more like those of Italy than any other place in the State, and 
it is described by the Florentine Serrano as the metropolis of the best 
province, and through its commerce generally regarded as the richest city 
in Spain (February 7, 1637). 

Seville had from of old prided herself on her wealth and devotion, on 
the elegance of her dwellings and the munificence of her benevolent 
institutions, on the beauty of her women and the bravery of her nobles. 
She had not always been a city of Sybarites, but had long fostered the 
spirit of the hardy conquerors from the north, as breathed in the sepul- 
chral effigies of the Riveras and Ponce de Leon in the University. Here 
is the recumbent statue of the founder, Per Afan de Rivera, who died 
in 1423, in the 105th year of his age; and who, in the words of the 
inscription, "consumed his life in the service of God, in the wars against 
the Moors, and in the service of five monarchs ; " here also that* of his 
son, Diego Gomez, "who spent his whole life in the Moorish wars." 

Seville had become a universal emporium. "It would have been as 
great a wonder," says Alarcon, " to meet a woman in Madrid that did not 
beg as a cavalier in Seville without a taste for trade." In the early 
period ships of 400 or 500 tons ascended the Guadalquiver to discharge 
their cargoes at the Molo, the Torre de Oro. The tides mounted two 
miles above Seville, which exported oil, wine, oranges, and lemons to 
the north ; cloth of gold, stout sarsenets and velvets to Castile ; while 
thousands were still employed in the silk industry. 

Thus it came about that during the sixteenth century wealth accumu- 
lated with unheard-of rapidity, when the city became the great and 
exclusive outlet of trade with the New World, and the Silver Fleet first 
entered and cleared from this port. Here were painted the flags and 
banners which bore the arms of Spain over all the high seas of the 


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1 8 Velazquez. 

globe. The colonial trade was regulated by the Casa de O)ntratacion, 
while the great merchants enjoyed a monopoly of the commerce of the 
seas. They controlled the markets of the old Mediterranean marts, and 
even those of the north, whose dealers brought their wares to this 
commercial metropolis of the Peninsula, at that time the centre of a 
world-wide empire. ** Seville," says Thomas Mercado, " is the capital of 
all the merchants in the world ; but recently Andalusia still lay on the 
confines of the globe, now she has become the central point." Revenues 
and customs, value of land, the population, all increased ; and this 
universal commerce attracted quite new social groups. There were thus 
developed three sharply defined classes : (i) The natives descended from 
colonists and remnants of the old inhabitants, nobles and people ; sedate, 
brave, wealthy, living on their income or on their manual labour, never 
wandering abroad ; (2) the foreign traders, whose colonies — German, 
Flemish, French, Italian — are still recalled by the corresponding names of 
streets ; (3) the idlers, ne'er-do-weels, loafers and gamblers, who occasionally 
supplied trained bands for the wars against the Moriscos. With these 
elements the place was thronged to overflowing, and, '* as in China, the 
river itself became inhabited." 

A gradual change ensued in the life and very aspect of the city. 
''The treasures of India," remarks Ziifiiga, "attracted the trade of all 
nations, and with it a superabundance of all that the world most prizes in 
Art and Nature." The reign of Philip 111., coincident with the youth of 
Velazquez, is indicated by the chronicler as precisely the epoch when 
these changes set in. These were the times of great foundations, the high 
water mark of the spirit of enterprise. "Presently," he tells us, "another 
world began to reveal itself in all departments." These were the halcyon 
days of Seville. 

The State regarded Seville, where, in the. words of Lope, " twice a 
year the whole sustenance of Spain was landed," as its universal help 
(socorro) and the common hope of its cities." In the seventeenth century 
she supplied two-thirds of the currency for the Peninsula, and "the arrival 
of her galleons," Ziiniga tells us, " is eagerly awaited by all the nations 
of Europe, which are now unfortunately more interested in them than are 
Spain and Seville, whither most comes and where least bides ; " for the 
Spanish pistoles were met only abroad, and Spain herself was compared 
to the Arcadian ass, laden with gold but feeding on thistles. 

" But," says Pedro de Medina, *' this gold was the reward of the true 
faith, just as the Lord provided Solomon with gold and silver to build the 
Temple, that is, to gather the unbelievers into the bosom of the Church." 

Digitized by 


Seville. 19 

In those days Church and 'Change were still close neighbours. Before 
the lonja was finished, the merchants used to assemble on the open space 
raised on steps before the cathedral. In the neighbouring streets auctions 
were held of silver ware, slaves, textile fabrics, cabinet-work, paintings, all 
as in the temple of the goddess Libitina, says Rodrigo Caro. Amongst the 
charitable institutions was the Hospital de la Sangre, the largest edifice in 
the city, founded by Dofta Catalina de Rivera, and her son, Don Fadrique. 
This munificent house had spent altogether fifty thousand ducats on pious 

Seville was also a very catholic city. After the conquest her 
Moorish palaces had been converted into convents. " Her greatest privilege 
is the devotion to the Queen of Angels, that belief in the Immaculate 
Conception, the dogmatic definition of which doctrine was here first 
advocated." Seville possesses three colossal mediaeval paintings of the 
Madonna, which, by those whose faith is stronger than their archaeology, 
are still referred to the early Christian period, such therefore as no 
other Christian nation could boast of possessing. 

Yet, despite all this, and despite the Italian humanistic culture and 
poetry, at that time all the rage, Seville had remained, as she still remains, 
an essentially Oriental city. Her marble-paved courts, enlivened with 
fountains and flowering plants and laden with balsamic perfumes, seem 
like glimpses of the Arabian tales to the Northerner penetrating through the 
maze of narrow lanes to gaze at them through their open porches. In 
the popular melodies we still catch an echo of the plaintive Arab strains, 
nor has dancing yet disappeared from the churches. These dances 
feasts, masks, and processions have to strangers, at all times, seemed 
quite in the Eastern taste. In the apartments disposed round the courts 
stood cabinets with inlaid work of cedar, rosewood, ebony and ivory, 
with tortoise-shell and the precious metals, the finest Indian work from 
Goa; Chinese enamelled vases with tropical birds of gorgeous plumage. 
Round the walls ran glazed tiles of a lustrous sheen, Flemish and Mexican 
tapestries and Cordovan leather hangings, while the floors were covered with 
Persian carpets. And now the museums are filled with these splendours 
which are daily growing rarer. Even the Christian edifices down to 
the sixteenth century were a mixture of mosque and church with Gothic 
portals and Moorish horse-shoe arches. 

But Fadrique Enriquez de Rivera's Casa de Pilatos (1533) had asso- 
ciated the Moorish style with the most hallowed memories of Christendom. 
The Arab and Gothic architecture had been followed by the Italian 
Renaissance, which, however, had been unable to resist the spirit of the 

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20 Velazquez. 

place, and, for a time, ran riot in figurative and phantastic ornamentation. 
But all this yielded at last to Herrera's severe and even jejune cinquecento 
style in which was built the Temple of Mercury. Now everything was 
seen with the eyes of a Vignola, and the achievements of the last five 
hundred years were forgotten. Lope admired the cold Monument of the 
Holy Week (1559?) as the most noteworthy object in Seville. Still, even 
in the eyes of the new generation, the triumphs of earlier times shed a 
poetic glamour over the city, which Tirso calls the " Memphis of Castile." 
Nor had the spring of creative Art yet run dry, and the Andalusian capital 
had in her school of painting a precious gift still in store for Spain and 

Seville was also a city of pleasure. At that time her plains and river 
banks were laid out in gardens to a far greater extent than at present. 
Navagero found her still thinly peopled, with manv gardens within the 
walls ; this Venetian is enraptured with the parks and their quickset cedar, 
orange and myrtle hedges, and especially with the gardens of Eden of the 
Carthusians and St. Gerdnimo de Buena Vista. Yet they owed more to 
Nature than to Art, and stretched far into the country. From the western 
eminence, where begins the Ajarafe, a prospect was commanded, which, 
according to Rodrigo Caro, " the brush of the most skilful painter would 
despair of reproducing." For readers of Spanish comedies such places as 
the alameda of Hercules, or the margin of the stream planted with 
avenues by the son of Columbus, or the garden of the alcazar, become 
again animated with scenes of romantic adventure ; for, as Calderon tells 
us, Seville every night witnesses a hundred fresh intrigues. Here 
lived and was carried off by the devil Don Juan Tenorio, the " Sevillan 
Scoffer." Mateo Aleman calls it the Mother of Orphans and the Refuge 
of Sinners, while the green halls of the alcazar are elsewhere spoken 
of as the School of Love. It lay close to the Exchange, and "here the 
poetic descriptions of the gardens of Admetus and Alcinous no longer 
seemed to be fables; it is the women's Exchange" (Tirso). To pass from 
devotion to mundane pleasures it sufficed to cross the bridge of boats 
leading to the Triana, which was the foreign quarter, laid out with beautiful 
gardens, pretty houses, and well-kept streets. Here, also, were the 
gambling-houses and the posadas (inns), where many distinguished guests 
were always to be met, because here people could associate freely, undis- 
turbed by the police or their neighbours. Here were the workshops of 
the potters and glassblowers, whose widely spread productions shed a 
lustre over many churches and palaces of Spain and Portugal. 

But besides the Queen of Heaven Moloch also claimed his victims. 

Digitized by 


Literary Circles. 2 1 

The contagion of the morbid aberrations of the religious sentiment was 
revealed by the occurrences of the year 1623, when, in six months, ten 
thousand " aliimbrados " were arrested on the charge of heresy. Scared 
by their very multitude the Inquisition " brought to the stake only seven of 
the ringleaders with one of the female enthusiasts, remitting for the rest 
the well-deserved capital sentence."^ 

Thf. Poets and Literary Circles. 

Since the middle of the sixteenth century Italian culture had also 
permeated the educated classes of Seville. After the introduction of Latin 
studies by Antonio de Lebrija (1444 — 1522) the reading of old and recent 
Italian poets gave rise to a new world of sentiment and of literary forms 
within the rigid limits of Catholic tradition. With the neglect which every 
epoch shows for its immediate precursor, the earlier poetic creations were 
often overlooked, those even that alone have now any charm for us ; writers 
became absorbed in the memories of old Roman times, and poetic tears were 
shed over their disappearance. Rodrigo Caro of Utrera (i 573 — 1647), historian 
of Seville and of her celebrities, is the author of an ode on the ruins of Italica 
(Old Seville), which has been merely re-hashed or else plagiarized in some of 
its better strophes by Francisco de Rioja. A sonnet on the same theme was 
composed by Pedro de Quires, while Juan de Arguijo bemoaned in song 
the ruins of Carthage and Troy, the death of Cicero, and the like. 

Hernando de Herrera, " the divine," most famous of Seville's poets 
(1534-97), followed closely in the steps of Boscan and Garcilaso, the latter 
in his opinion the greatest of Spanish poets. According to Pacheco 
Herrera was the first to bring the language to its highest perfection. He 
considered the sonnet the most beautiful form both of Spanish and Italian 

And what titles ! Gigantomachta (by Herrera), Hercules^ Psyche (twelve 
books in rima suelta), the Deaih of Orpheus in ottava rima (this by Malara), 
the same subject by Jauregui. In the Hercules^ forty-eight cantos dedicated 
to Don Carlos, " all the excellencies were collected which could be found in 
the Greek and Roman poets " ! 

Pedro de Mexia (ob. 1555), at one time the most formidable swordsman 
in Salamanca, in later years, when broken down in health and suffering from 
long-standing headaches, composed one of those favourite miscellaneous collec- 
tions, mostly from old writers and in the manner of Macrobius, the Silva de 
varia leccion^ that was translated into many languages, and was universally 

t Kheveiihiller. Annalcs Fetd. X, 330. 

Digitized by 


22 Velazquez. 

read in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Pacheco credits his verses 
with the qualities of wit {agudcza) and softness (dulzura). 

Of these writers, the most facetious was Balthasar del Alcazar (ob. 1606), 
the ** Martial of Seville." Pacheco confesses that, like a Spanish Boswell, 
he took notes of all the poet's sayings at their interviews. Amongst his 
compositions are some surprisingly bold bacchanalian songs. 

These erudite poets also turned their attention to the rising stage. The 
popular drama had been founded in Seville in 1544 by Lope de Rueda, a 
goldbeater of that place, and numerous religious and secular pieces had been 
composed in Latin and Spanish by Juan de Malara, ** the Andalusian 
Menander" (ob. 1571), jointly with Francisco de Medina (ob. 1615), teacher 
of Latin and Greek. At the request of Philip IL he composed in Madrid 
(1566) some lines for Titian's four /urie. His comedies have been as 
completely forgotten as those of Gutierrez de Cetina (ob. 1560), written in 
prose and verse. More fortunate have been the dramas of Juan de la Cueva, 
some of which still hold their ground. 

Still, the pedantry of these writers was mainly confined to their mytho- 
logico-classical apparatus. They wrote canzoni to each other, in which they 
called themselves Damon and Vandal io ; but in their daily intercourse they 
betrayed none of the usual features of the humanists. They were selfmade 
men, moving in the full stream of those stirring times. They could fight, 
command on land and sea, pray, mortify the flesh, attend to public affairs. Yet 
they were no Philistines, and the sketch given of Herrera by Pacheco shows 
characteristics the very reverse of those common to Italian and German men 
of letters. " He detested hypocrisy, and never accepted gifts from the great, 
even withdrawing from those who offered them ; he drank no wine, never 
indulged in gossip about the private life of others, and avoided the places 
where such took place. He disliked being called a poet, although he polished his 
compositions carefully, and consulted the friends before whom he read them.'' 
He died before they were published, and they would have perished but for 
Pacheco's affection. Balthasar del Alcazar served in Don Alvar de Bazan's 
galleys, and Cetina was '*just as much the quiver of Mars as the lyre of 
Apollo." " Never," maintained Don Quixote, '' has the lance blunted the 
pen, or the pen the lance." 

A type of such men was Argote de Molina (1548-98), sprung from a 
race of ntatamoros who claimed descent from the conquerors of Cordova. 
After a distinguished military career of thirteen years, he opened in his 
house, Cal de Francos, an armoury and a museum, where were deposited the 
mediaeval Spanish literary treasures collected during his travels. Here he 
began a history of the Andalusian nobility, of which it was said that his 

Digitized by 


Literary Circles. 23 

assertion alone sufficed to attest a fact. The place was adorned with mytho- 
logical subjects and portraits of celebrities, for which he had secured the 
services of Sanchez Coello ; he was here honoured by a friendly visit from 
Philip II. 

Attention was also paid to national antiquities, family histories, collections 
of proverbs, even romances, glosses, and coplas. Heart-stirring songs 
Herrera first gives us in odes on the battle of Lepanto, on Don Sebastian's 
disastrous expedition to Morocco, on Saint Ferdinand, and Medrano in his 
sonnet on the abdication of Charles V. But it is noteworthy that they here 
take their inspiration from the Psalms and the Prophets, as did also Luis de 
Leon, greatest of Spanish lyric poets. 

Indifference or aversion from ecclesiastical institutions was no charac- 
teristic feature of this, as it was of other humanistic circles. Archbishop de 
Castro (ob. 1600), although a prelate of austere character and strict religious 
principles, appears as the Maecenas of painters and poets ; the Latinist and 
antiquary Maestro Francisco de Medina was his secretary, Rodrigo Caro his 
intimate associate, and to Herrera he in vain offered honours and preferment. 
Welcome guests in the archiepiscopal palace were Guerrero the musician, 
the painter Pablo de Cdspedes of Cordova, and the canon and licentiate 
Pacheco (the uncle), the best Latin poet in Seville. In this capital it is not 
surprising to find the pulpit orators most numerously represented amongst 
the theologians. Pacheco describes ten celebrities, amongst them a Christian 
Demosthenes, the Carmelite friar Juan de Espinosa, for forty years preacher 
to the cultured and ecclesiastical circles. The Augustinian prior Pedro de 
Valderrama, divided his fourteen working hours between study, preaching, 
administrative duties and building. Without resources he undertook and 
executed great monastic structures in Malaga, Granada, Seville. *' He 
wanted to build houses for God in order one day to receive one from 

Amongst so many ascetics and eloquent preachers we meet only one 
profound scholar, Benito Arias Montano (born 1498), " master of Biblical 
erudition," and thoroughly acquainted with eleven living and dead languages. 
To him Philip II. entrusted the famous Polyglot Bible {Biblia regia) to 
which, in Antwerp, he devoted eleven hours of daily work, and which was 
printed in Plantin's office there. 

To Hernan Colon, son of Columbus, was due the patriotic idea of 
bequeathing in perpetuity to the city and cathedral chapter a library of 
twenty thousand volumes, which, although far from wealthy, he had 
collected during his travels throughout Europe. 

In such institutions discussion turned also on the Arts; here^all were 

Digitized by 


2 A ' Velazquez. 

familiar with the copperplates of the German and Italian schools. Francisco 
de Medina (ob. 1615), who had visited Italy, built himself in the suburb a 
sort of secular hermitage, where he collected, besides coins and paintings, 
printed books and other memorials of persons and contemporary times. Of 
him Pacheco the painter says: ^'He was not only a connoisseur, but was 
unrivalled in explaining and estimating Art works, in the choice of the best 
and most apt expressions in the Spanish language, being in this respect 
far superior to the most refined {cultos) speakers of his time." 

Unlike the poets, the painters had fortunately no opportunity to depict 
battles of giants and romances of the Psyche type. But even more com- 
pletely than the poets they had renounced the hitherto current speech in 
favour of the foreign idiom. As Hernando de Hozes* held that, since the 
introduction of the Tuscan measures, everything hitherto composed in the 
old Spanish metrical system had so lost favour that few any longer thought it 
worth reading, so the leading artists and enlightened spirits now talked of 
the local Gothic barbarism swept away by the first visitors to Rome. Even 
the Renaissance style of Diego de Siloe himself they accepted only as 
marking a period of transition. Of Jauregui's translation of the Aminta 
Cervantes remarked that the reader was in a happy state of doubt as to 
which was the original and which the version. Tasso was also said to have 
kept Herrera's poems under his pillow in order in ihem to admire the excel- 
lence of the Spanish language. So also Spanish painters worked with the 
Italians on the frescoes of Trinity dei Monti, the chancellery and the 
vestibulum of the Sixtine Chapel, nor can a trace of national Art be detected 
in the parts executed by them. Some, like Ruviales, settled permanently in 

The paintings of the leaders of the new style in Seville are full of 
borrowings and reminiscences from Italy. Herrera requires all expressions 
to be banished from lofty poetic effusions, which could impart a familiar, 
commonplace tone to the thought ; and in fact the Spanish of these poets 
became overladen with foreign idioms taken from the Latin and Italian 
languages. In the same way the rich local colouring of mediaeval 
Art vanishes from the pictorial productions of this period. We seek 
in vain for national types and characteristics, for locally distinctive motives 
and tones in works which might just as well have been painted in Utrecht 
or Florence. 

Still in the youth of Velazquez these stars of the Italo-Spanish firma- 
ment were already on the wane. Quite a new, yet fundamentally an older, 
national taste had been awakened. In Calderon's days sonnets already 
* Ticknor, History of Spanish Literature, i., 496. 

Digitized by 


Medieval Art. 25 

passed for old-fashioned, and he could speak of the **now slumbering 
memories of Boscan and Garcilaso." * 


On entering Andalusian territory the traveller's first impression is that a 
change of scene has taken place. The prospect is more coloured, more 
animated, more tuneful, more cheerful, as if the Spanish frontier had only now 
been crossed. Nor could the North Spanish. conquering races escape the 
irresistible influence of this southern nature. The re-conquest was closely 
followed by colonization, and in Spanish poblacion and pueblo are terms still 
used in the sense of township or commune. Still time was needed for the 
, climate to tell on the character of the settlers, and still more for the painting 
introduced with the Church to be transformed to a perfect instrument for the 
expression of South Spanish thought. Doubtless the new masters had trans- 
planted their magnificent language to Andalusia, it was even said with the 
Asturian accent. But the crude artistic productions which they brought with 
them can scarcely claim consideration in this connection. We are seldom con- 
scious before Murillo's epoch that features, figure and attitude were expressed 
in softer lines, that here warmer colours were diffused, or that eastern fancy 
had not, so to say, re-crossed the Straits with the banished Moors. 

The great architectural epoch of the Arab rulers reached its acme 
scarcely fifty years before their overthrow, and for the hundred and fifty 
years following Saint Ferdinand's Conquest (1248), Christian Art lived in the 
shade of the purified mosque (finished 1171), and its minaret (1184-96). 
The Church occupied the large as well as the numerous small mosques, and 
continued to build in a Christian-Moorish (tnudejar) style. The Castilian 
kings in the same way took up their quarters in the sumptuous royal Moorish 
palace rebuilt still on the old lines. St. Ana, founded by Alfonso X., in the 
Triana suburb is the only important structure built in the northern style. 
A northern and Christian stamp was imparted to the mosques by the 
introduction of a few meagre Gothic elements. The extremely rude, half- 
barbaric level of the ornamental statuary is explained by the fact that in 
the Mohammedan traditions scarcely any room was left for the plastic Arts. 

Of the pictorial Art of this period a dim trace may be found in 
the large wall painthigs of the Madonna. Despite repainting, both the 
Virgen del Coral in St. Ildefonso's, and the Rocamador in St. Lorenzo's, as 

* Que aunque hoy el dar un soneto 
No est^ en uso, dispertando 
Las ya dormidas memorias. 
Del Boscan y Garcilaso. 

Calderon, Antes que todo es mi dama, i. 

Digitized by 


26 Velazquez. 

well as the Antigua of the cathedral, still betray their descent from the 
Gothic painting of the fourteenth century. These rare monuments have 
at the same time numerous analogies in the large statues, which for 
churches of this style were probably prepared by the general contractors 
themselves. In Seville there exist two statues of the Madonna, the 
Virgen de las Batallas in ivory, and Virgen de la Vega, which date from 
the time of the Conqueror, Ferdinand III. To the same style also 
belongs the reliquary of Alfonso X., the so-called Tablas Alfonsinas. For its 
first sepulchral monument of real artistic worth the cathedral is indebted to 
a northern sculptor ; it was erected to the memory of Archbishop Cervantes 
(died 1457), by Lorenzo Mercadante de Bretafia. 

Then followed in the year 140 1 one of the boldest projects ever 
conceived by a mediaeval cathedral chapter — the erection of a new 
Gothic cathedral, of hitherto unrivalled magnitude (1403-1508). Its 
execution attracted a stream of masters from other provinces and from 
abroad, and henceforth the Moorish and French began to yield to Low 
German taste and influences. The painters on glass were exclusively 
from the Netherlands. The quaint and partly bizarre reliefs of the stalls 
(1475-78), are the work of Nufro Sanchez, a disciple of Mercadante. 
In the gigantic reredos, designed by Danchart in 1482 and completed in 
1526, the Italian style already begins to obtrude itself towards the end, 
when the Florentine Domenico Alessandro took part in the work. The 
finest piece in the whole composition is the Pietk in the upper part, by 
Pedro Fernandez Aleman. 

According to the latest researches, Pedro Millan stands out as the 
most distinct personality. His chief work, no doubt, perished with the 
fall of the Cimborio in 151 1 ; but the Virgen del Pilar, is the noblest 
statue of the Madonna in Seville, while the Child is perhaps the truest 
of the many thousand bambinos in the Spanish churches. In a highly 
Gothic taste are the statues adorning the two west doorways of the 
cathedral. But he supplied also the models for the figures of Niculoso's 
Robbia-portal in Santa Paula. Such a remarkable intermingling of the 
Art of three nations is characteristic, both for this cosmopolitan emporium 
and for Spanish Art generally. 

The predominance of Netherlandish elements is still more perceptible 
in painting. 

The Flemish oil process is known to have penetrated nowhere so early 
as into Spain; nowhere else was it so rapidly assimilated to the national 
taste, and from no other quarter were so numerous orders received in 
Bruges and Antwerp. 

Digitized by 


Medieval Art. 27 

Thirteen years after the completion of the Ghent altar-piece Luis de 
Dalmau, earliest imitator of Jan van Eyck, executed the first Spanish 
oil-painting in Barcelona (1445). He was soon followed by Fernan 
Gallegos in Zamora and Salamanca, and somewhat later in Andalusia by 
Juan de Cordova, whose Annunciation in the former mosque of that city 
is decorated with eastern splendour. 

Isabella the Catholic entertained three Netherlandish painters at her 
Court, and the Crucifixion, a triptych by Dierick Bouts is still preserved 
in her royal chapel at Granada. Other Flemings also crossed the Pyrenees 
and settled in Spain. In their works we see the native manner of painting, 
combined with Spanish types and costumes, buildings and landscapes. In 
Palencia Juan de Flandes executed the high-altar tables ; he had previously 
long been at work with the master Miguel in the service of Isabella. In 
Andalusia we meet, if not Juan himself, at all events a fellow-countryman 
of the school at Bruges, the painter of the remarkable eight pieces in the 
church of the Knights of St. John at Marchena. Still later Francisco de 
los Cobos, minister of Charles V., enriched the Church of St. Salvador at 
Ubeda, founded by himself, with six Flemish triptychs, which are now in 
the sacristy. 

The discovery in 1878 of a well attested reredos in the Church of St. 
Julian at Seville, by Juan Sanchez de Castro, makes it probable that the 
school of Seville itself had its beginning in a Flemish impulse. With 
true foresight Stirling-Maxwell had already called this' artist the Morning 
Star of the school. Recently some authorities have questioned the correct- 
ness of this term; but a school means nothing more than an unbroken 
line of artists working under common influences in the same town or 
district, and by no means an unmixed pedigree. Before the discovery of 
Sanchez it would, at all events, have been rash to attempt to determine 
the stages of a Sevillan school of Art from scattered monuments, whose 
origin is partly doubtful, partly referable to remote lands. 

To judge from that triptych of the Madonna with Peter and Jerome, 
Sanchez must have derived his oil technique as well as his naturalism 
from the Flemings. At the same time between his clumsy drawing and 
the accuracy and delicacy of his prototypes the interval is considerable. 
His St. Christopher in the same church {1484) may still be recognized, 
despite the repainting. Here we have a hard, curly-haired, peasant's 
head, perhaps a Guadalquiver boatman, with narrow skull, low brow, and 
full occiput, large and round black eyes and arched eyebrows, large cheek- 
bones and lips, thin beard and receding chin. A piece, the Burial, by his 
son, Pedro, has also come to light in the Lopez Cepero Gallery. The 

Digitized by 


28 Velazquez. 

disconsolate Piet^ in the Sacristy de los CdliceSy by Juan Nuftez, probably 
his son-in-law, rivals the works of the Nether-rhinish imitators of Dierick 
Bouts, in its dry painstaking and ascetic severity. The St. Bartholomew, 
the central figure of his reredos in St Anne's Chapel in the cathedral 
(1504), is a thorough Spanish monk, with heroic features, full flowing 
black beard and hair, and fiery glance, a man of the stock whence came 
the conquistadores, the smugglers and toreros, a man who may have 
wielded the sword at the conquest of Granada. 

The impulse to master the outward phenomena, the straining after a 
closer imitation of the whole and all its details lay in the very culture of 
the age. Assuredly the northern influence did not give this tendency to 
Spanish Art, but it furthered it to an incalculable extent. 

In this epoch appears a personality in many respects distinct, Alejo 
Fernandez, although of his life nothing is known except that in 1508 he 
was summoned from Cordova to paint and gild the great reredos. His 
chief work in Cordova, the St. Jerome in the Convent of St. Martha, has 
disappeared, but a survival of his early period may perhaps be the Christ 
at the Pillar with the Penitent Peter, now in the museum. From the 
name of his brother Jorge Fernandez Aleman, who came with him, he 
appears to have been a Low German. 

The Cathedral of Seville preserves four of his lai^e pieces, scenes 
from the life of Mary: The Meeting at the Golden Gate, the Birth 
of Christ, the Presentation in the Temple — in the dark sacristy near 
the high altar; and the Epiphany, in the large sacristy; all works 
unique of their kind.* 

Earlier observers detected in them the manera alemana, or German style, 
while Germans themselves have been recently reminded of the Florentine 
school by the bold flow of the draperies; now the figures are in Seville 
declared to be ** purely Spanish." To me this Fernandez seems to have 
studied under Flemish influences. Flemish traits are the colouring, and 
the honest adherence to Nature in every detail, already free from petti- 
ness, but not without a certain stiff* rigid harshness. The pale maiden, 
with the green gold-embroidered coif (in the Birth of Christ) seems 
to have accompanied him from Antwerp ; in her features, bearing and 
side glance this Madonna cannot deny her pedigree. But in the 
intellectual friction of those motley groups of artists, the painter has 
conformed to the local taste, and yielded more and more to the new 
world of the south. The vistas through arched halls, before which his 

» An opportunity was for the first time afforded of inspecting these pictures in the 
year 1882, when they were removed to the room set apart for repairs. 

Digitized by 


Medl^val Art. 29 

figures move, are in the plateresque style of Felipe de Borgona, with 
Moorish details; the views of town and hills are Andalusian, while the 
gold betrays the estofador. For his plebeian characters he seems at times 
to have had as models the semi-African populace of the Triana ; the St. 
Balthasar is an emir. Assuredly such diversified heads without repeti- 
tion, with such vigour, harmony, and animated expression, were scarcely 
again seen in the ensuing period of the Renaissance in Seville. 

But the Flemish style has already retired far to the background in the 
Virgen de la Rosa bearing his name, a Madonna and Child, with worship- 
ping angels in the trascoro of St. Ana in the Triana. The free, flowing 
lines, and such lovel}' hands ! the clear soft modelling in pearly tone, 
altogether a noble type recalling the old Venetians, such as Carlo 
Crivelli, only his metallic sharpness is replaced by softness. We are here 
in the presence of a riddle, such, however, as is not rarely presented by 
Spanish Art. 

Nor are paintings of this description very rare, and perhaps a few 
ma^' yet be recognized as the works of Fernandez. In the same style 
are painted the eight founders of Orders and doctors of the Church in 
St. Benito de Calatrava, although somewhat older. But to meet figures 
comparable to the Virgen de la Rosa the small provincial towns must 
be visited. In Ecija, Marchena, Carmona, and elsewhere, many a 
surprise awaits the explorer. He will find in St. Jago at Ecija, and 
St. Juan at Marchena, above the same altar where are those eight 
Flemish pieces, six figures of saints, male and female, the latter especially 
worthy rivals perhaps of the noblest Florentine and Venetian quattro- 
cento work. Seldom has the ideal of saints or martyrs been more faithfully 
interpreted than in these figures of faultless proportions, refined beauty 
in features, neck, hands, diffused by a sensuous charm, a calm proud 
dignity and sweetness. Truly a real treasure of past memories are these 
forgotten figures in the forgotten churches of districts seldom visited 
even by the natives themseves. They are, possibly, by the same Pedro 
Fernandez de Guadalupe, by whom was executed the well known Descent 
in the Chapel of Santa Cruz. One cannot but wonder how this promising 
school was so short lived, in a few decades giving place to a wearisome 
century of a cold pedantic art. Some one hundred and fifty years later 
a gifted artist again awoke the genuine Spanish type of saints, though 
animated by a somewhat more mundane spirit. 

The following epoch, completely occupied with new and difficult 
problems, condemned mediaeval paintings to oblivion. Within half-a- 
century of this Fernandez' decease everything produced by the middle 

Digitized by 


30 Velazquez. 

ages in statuary and painting before Michael Angelo was pronounced 
"abominable." "Whatever is ugly/' says Pacheco, "without art or 
spirit, is called Flemish." The name of Fernandez is not even mentioned 
in Pacheco's work, otherwise so nch in personal references. Pablo de 
Cdspedes, also, who shows a warm archceological feeling for old Chris- 
tian Art, considers that the chief merit of Fernandez and his compeers 
was their skill in gilding and painting wood carvings. For him the old 
times were only " the ashes from which was to spring the Phoenix 
of our day." 

The Mannerists. 

The Renaissance was ushered into Seville during the first decade of the 
sixteenth century. At that time Michael the Florentine was occupied with 
Archbishop Mendoza's monument (1509), while Niculoso Francisco, from 
Pisa, was turning out terra-cottas in the Robbia style. In 1 5 19 Don Fadrique 
de Rivera bespoke in Genoa the monuments of his parents, the richest 
example of the Italian sepulchral style in Spain. But in the third 
decade we already meet the plateresque style of the Spaniard Diego de 
Riafto and his associates, treated with perfect mastery and a stamp of 
individuaUty. To this period belong those sumptuous buildings so richly 
decorated with sculptures, the townhall, the great sacristy, and the 
royal chapel. 

But not till the middle of the century do we meet with groups of 
painters of the pure Italian school, who break completely with the past. 
About the same time the Jesuits made their appearance in Seville (1554). 
The new era had dawned somewhat earlier in Castile, where Alonso 
Berruguete, who returned from Italy in 1520, and Caspar Becerra are 
described as "the extraordinary men, who banished the barbarism that 
still held its ground there." 

So wrote, in 1585, Juan de Arphe y Villafafte, when he was engaged 
in Seville on the great monstrance. His family, of German extraction^ 
had for three generations been occupied with the goldsmiths' work of the 
great cathedrals of Spain, giving free scope to their inventive faculty in 
three successive styles — the late Gothic German, the plateresque of the 
Renaissance, and the neo-classic. 

The last of the Arphe group broke with the picturesque style of Diego 
de Siloe and Covarrubias, of whom the latter, although said to have been 
inspired by Bramante and Alberti, could never quite forget the modem, 
or Gothic. Thus these works, which certainly did not lack unity, came 
to be stigmatized as of a mixed style (mezcla), Arphe's statements 

Digitized by 



The Mannerists. 31 

regarding the changes of taste down to the Escorial style were accepted 
until the present century. 

This "Spanish Cellini's" didactic poem, Varia Comensuracion^ in three 
books (1585), became the gospel of the Spanish cinquecento, preaching 
rigorous regularity, the eschewing of the arbitrary and phantastic, sobriety 
in the ornamentation. He aspires to teach the right proportions, from the 
human figure and architectural works down to the sacred vessels of the 
Church, whose splendour culminated in those gigantic monstrances which 
were his family's best title to fame.^ 

The study of proportion and of the nude became the guiding star of ^ 
painting ; the beautiful became a function of numbers. Alonso Berruguete 
had brought from Italy the perfect proportions of the ancients — ten face- 
lengths to the whole figure. He at first met with opposition; but he was 
supported by Caspar Becerra, who had worked with Vasari in the chancel of 
Trinity dei Monti in Rome ; and who had also prepared in Rome the drawings 
for Dr. Juan de Valverde's Anatomy (1554). 

This was the lime when the Spanish artists flocked to Rome and 
Florence, where they spent a part of their life, and occasionally even 
settled permanently. 

"All the great men produced by Spain in sculpture and painting, 
Berruguete, Becerra, Machuca, the ' Mute,' Master Campafta, Vargas pride 
of our city, after passing the best of their life in incredible efforts in Italy, 
striving with more than human spirit to leave behind an eternal memorial 
of themselves, chose the way pointed out by Michael Angelo, Raphael, 
and their school."^ 

And Pablo de Cespedes glorified Buonarotti as the new Prometheus, 
comparing him also to Pindar ; a grace such as that of Raphael had never 
before been seen, he thought, and would never again be seen ; Correggio's 
figures seemed brought down from heaven itself, so that "every brush 
mxist fain yield to his." He doubtless also calls both the Zuccari, his 
masters, " true depositaries of the treasures of this Art." But Michael 
Angelo is still the great luminary of the globe, far excelling the ancients, 
peerless in all three arts, and "whoso sits not at his feet shall acquire 
little vigour and less grace." 

> The monstrance is properly the vessel in which the host is fixed vertically when 
held up to public adoration, But the word is used here, as elsewhere, for the more 
or less conspicuous "tabernacles" on the altar where the monstrance itself with the 
host is kept under lock and key when not exhibited to the congregation. These taber 
nacles are sometimes very large and sumptuous objects. — Translator. 

» Pacheco, El Arte i., 41 1. 

Digitized by 


32 Velazquez. 

Nevertheless on the first introduction of the new style more foreigners, 
mainly Netherlanders, appear on the scene in Seville. The northern 
stonecutters, glass painters, and carvers of the Gothic period were now 
followed by a stream of painters from the same region. But even before 
this irruption some painters on glass had already adopted the Italian 
manner. For many years, from 1534, Arnao de Flandes and Arnao de 
Vergara had supplied the great church windows, pompous compositions 
full of figures after Italian models ; in the Lazarus, for instance, may be 
detected the influence of Sebastian del Piombo. 

But for variety of subjects and styles, as well as execution, all were 
eclipsed by the Brussels artist Peeter de Kempeneer, known as Maese Pedro 
Campafta in Seville, where, according to Pacheco, he died in his ninety- 
eighth year, in 1588. He was one of those who, after passing through 
their native schools, during their Italian travels developed an individual style, 
constantly modified according to circumstances. He first appears as a 
decorative painter of the triumphal arch at the entry of Charles V. into 
Bologna, in 1530. Then he studied the antique, and Pacheco still possessed 
many of his " learned pen-and-ink drawings." None of his successors adhered 
so closely, especially in the draperies, to the old statues. But in his 
masterpiece, the reredos of the Mariscal (1553), we recognize a deep study 
of Raphael, to whose lines few of that school approached so near. The 
^' Presentation of the Virgin," in the Mariscal Chapel, is a monument of the 
culture of the beautiful by which Art was at that time dominated. 

Of his native gifts he remained most true to the Art of portraiture, 
Don Pedro Caballero and his family in the Predella are still admired by the 
Spaniards as types of the genuine old Castilian nobility. Although inferior 
to Holbein in firmness of touch, in greatness and delicacy of characterization, 
they far surpass everything else produced in Seville during that century in 
the development of portraiture. Here alone he is thoroughly satisfactory. 

At the same time Campafta appealed most effectively to the Sevillans in 
his Descent of the Cross in Santa Cruz (1548), in which the old Flemish 
severity and Michaelangelesque forms are peculiarly blended. In the true 
German cosmopolitan spirit he has here assimilated the ascetic sentiment 
of his neighbours ; he is more Spanish than the Spaniards. In the course 
of four-and-twenty years he also painted altar-screens for other Andalusian 
towns, as well as for Carmona, Ecija, and in the Cathedral of Cordova. 

Nevertheless, in the opinion of the local Art critics, something of the dry 
Flemish style still clung to Campafta and his fellow-countrymen. They 
lacked the "good manner" — that is, the free, broad, animated outlines — of the 
"Romano-Florentine" school. This school has its analogy in contemporary 

Digitized by 


The Mannerists. 33 

literature; its source is Raphael with his divine simplicity and incomparable 
majesty ; but Raphael himself learnt it from Buonarroti, the " Father of 
Painting," superhuman in the nude. 

This buena manera was brought from Italy by Luis de Vargas, the 
'* Light of Painting," who had entered Rome with the hordes of the Constable 
of Bourbon, in 1527. "His greatest gift to Seville was fresco painting," 
a gift, however, which did not pass to a second generation. His mural 
paintings have unfortunately, for the most part, perished, only a few traces 
surviving of the colossal figures on the Giralda, figures which at that time 
" for grandeur of drawing and nobility of expression " passed for the chief 
ornament of the city. His Last Judgment, in the Casa de Misericordia, 
shows that he over-estimated his powers, this indifferent botchwork being 
scarcely comparable to similar essays of the Italianized Flemings. 

His Shepherds in the cathedral, where he still describes himself as a 
tyro {Tunc discebantf 1555), is nevertheless the most free from mannerism, 
and is rich in really beautiful and noble heads, possibly because painted 
under his still fresh reminiscences of Rome. But Vargas' success may 
have been partly due to the scope he gave to sensuous beauty under mystic 
names. At the same time his attitudes and expression are cold and 
artificial, his features borrowed, his compositions crowded. His pupil, 
Villegas, who also imitated Raphael's bambinos, as in the Holy Family in 
St. Lorenzo, is but a weak reflex of the master. 

The reader already surmises what kind of masters are here in question. 
General regular forms, indifferent meaningless faces, postures disposed with 
a view to display anatomical knowledge, foreshortenings, the arrangement 
in space calculated to obtain difficult problems in perspective, complete sub- 
ordination of the colouring. In Italy and the Low Countries many of these 
works would fail to attract attention, and it is difficult to understand what 
their contemporaries found to admire in these " restorers " of painting. 

It is further noteworthy that almost every important work was based on an 
Italian original, or on the copperplate by which its composition was transplanted 
to Spain. The engravings of Marc Antonio and the Ghisi were well known and 
popular ; Pacheco mentions the works of the Wierix, Egidius Sadeler and Lucas 
Kilian, while C^spedes tells us that plates after Spranger were spread broadcast. 

A somewhat later and f)ersonally remarkable artist was the Cordovan 
prebendary, Pablo de C^spedes (1538 — 1618). He was twice in Rome, the 
first time for seven years in close intimacy with Cesar de Arbasia, an 
Italian, who later executed frescoes in Malaga and Cordova, works displaying 
far more invention and character, especially in the broad effects of space 
and light, than those of his Spanish contemporaries. 


Digitized by 


34 Velazquez. 

The second time Cdspedes went as friend and supporter of the unfortunate 
Archbishop Carranza, accused of heresy, and on his return got ordained, 
probably by way of precaution. He helped Zuccaro with the frescoes in the 
Trinity dei Monti and Araceli, and devoted himself to an intelligent study of 
the antique. Christian and modern Art treasures in Rome. The name of this 
learned and highly cultured man is most favourably known by the genuinely 
earnest and sonorous strophes of a pqem on painting. The fragments rescued 
by Pacheco suffice to show that in this work we have lost the best didactic 
poem in the Spanish language. In painting he is distinguished from his con- 
temporaries by such features as powerful, heroic figures, dignity of attitude, 
vigour and depth in colour and shade. But he seldom realizes his own spiritual 
conceptions, as, for instance, in the Holy Conversation, in St. Ann's Chapel 
in the Cathedral of Cordova. Those who draw their judgments from books 
will probably further tell us that he was " the great imitator of Correggio's 
best manner . . . and one of the first colourists in Spain " (Pacheco). Those 
that only use their eyes will say that his large pieces in Cordova, Seville (the 
four Allegoi ies in the chapter-house), and Madrid (Academy) exhibit Roman 
influence more especially in its far-fetched and wearisome aspects. His 
stumbling-block was the '* grand manner" with which Rome had bewitched 
him. His deep studies in this atmosphere resulted in meaningless gestures 
and faces artistically grouped, with dreary generalities and conscientious 
avoidance of Nature. " Do you not know that a portrait need not be like ? 
It is enough to make a head according to the rules of Art." He was so 
annoyed at the praise bestowed on a splendid vase in his Last Supper that 
he effaced it, perhaps conscious that the thoughtless admirer had unwittingly 
uttered a bitter truth. 

C^spedes shows us these Spanish cinquecentisti in their strong and weak 
aspects. Their studies were thorough and scientific, their ideal lofty, their 
culture universal and refined. But their whole energies were devoted to 
generalities, leaving them no time for a glance at the realities of life. Their 
physiognomies, their mimic Art, their groupings were all borrowed, artificial, 
pretentious, and for the most part without a breath of Nature. Their home 
was Rome, and they thus failed to grasp the national spirit. To later obser- 
vers they appeared in a higher light as the associates of the glorious epoch 
of Charles V., and in truth they were well suited for the Court of an emperor 
who was surrounded by Italian, German and Spanish captains and statesmen ; 
who was ubiquitous in his world-wide dominions, in whose suite were the 
poets Boscan and Garcilaso, under whom Machuca planted a heavy Renais- 
sance palace in the Alhambra itself, and Berruguete played such pranks that 
the decorative style of the period has been named from him. 

Digitized by 


The Mannerists. 35 

Still symptoms are not wanting that even from contemporaries the " good 
manner" met with but qualified approval. Accounts of commissions indif- 
ferently executed, Berruguete's quarrel with the Benedictines in Valladolid, 
El Cireco's troubles with the chapter of Toledo, the spiritual retreats to prepare 
for their work — all went to show that the artists returning from the semi- 
pagan schools of Italy could not without much effort find their way to the 
hearts of their fellow-countrymen. 

To this period belong those names which have become as famous for 
some imperishable works as for eccentricities unexampled in the history of 
modem Art. Bemiguete's grimaces and convulsions in the St. Benito reredos, 
Juan de Juni's uncouth distortions, Morales' frightful vampire figures, El 
Greco's ghosts and caoutchouc forms — these last in countless repetitions — 
show how rapidly their stock of acquired knowledge and taste was exhausted, 
and how readily they could trade upon the simplicity of their public. They 
may possibly also have endeavoured by powerful attractions of this sort to 
overcome the indifference shown for their learned style. 

But while under the depressing influence of the ItaUans they lost all sense 
of the national spirit, the reaction was sure sooner or later to set in, which 
led in the seventeenth century to a revival of the Spanish feeling. Felipe 
de Guevara, a contemporary of Charles V., had already indicated imitation as 
the bane of Spanish talent. 

At the close of the sixteenth century this vapid Art rested only on the 
weak shoulders of a few laggards, such as Pacheco and Alonso Vazquez. 
The last achievement of the period was the tomb of Philip II., in which the 
best features of the three Arts were displayed jointly with poetry. In this 
ambitious structure the best statues were executed by Martines Montanes, a 
young sculptor, who was destined to transmit under another form the spirit of 
the moribund school to the next century. His groups and figures, breathing 
a classical sense of form and a pensive earnestness, if somewhat monotonous, 
still exhibited a new and national charm foreign to the Italian style through 
the application of a bright painting in oil colours combined with gold. 

Juan de las Roelas 
(Born about 1558; died 1625). 

The chief energy of this not yet sufficiently appreciated painter, who 
according to Palomino, was born in Seville of Flemish parents, was displayed 
in the first two decades of the seventeenth century. He gave Cean Bermudez 
the impression that " he understood the laws of draughtsmanship and com- 
position better than any other Andalusian." It would be more to the point to 

Digitized by 


36 Velazquez. 

say that he was the first real painter that the sixteenth century had given 
birth to in that region. His beginnings and early development are obscure, 
and works of his survive conceived in the characterless, frosty style of the 
mannerists. But his known masterpieces appeared even to the refined taste 
of the artists of the last century to be distinguished by " Venetian colour- 
ing, great vigour and grace." He was the first to combine naturalism with 
mysticism, the two elements whose fusion imparted its special character 
to the Sevillan painting of the next generation. But this style he appears to 
have acquired later in life, and, a» was said, of course in Italy. Yet in his 
forms, in his sentiment and technique there is a peculiar blend of the Spanish 
and Flemish way, and to this foreign ingredient may perhaps be due his 
lack of full recognition. 

He handled all the popular elements of Spanish devotion with rare 
invention and great success, almost every piece showing him in a new aspect 
He gives us sturdy, at times coarse, figures and broad well-nurtured faces, 
some of an Andalusian but some also of a Teutonic cast. His subjects are 
full of life, pervaded by an irrepressible cheerfulness, alike displayed in the 
solemn events of Scripture, the familiar scenes of the Holy Family, and 
even in paintings of martyrs. His angelic choirs, fair, blooming, rose- 
crowned country maidens, with round white shoulders and full arms, are 
intoxicated with light, music, and festive joy. The often grim asceticism of 
his precursors, as well as the sober, timid earnestness of successors such 
as Zurbaran and other laymen, pale before the thoroughly Rubens-like 
cheerfulness of our clerical artist. 

But, what is most important, Roelas was the first Sevillan painter in 
chiaroscuro, which he even made the characteristic feature of his Art. His 
system is quite peculiar. He banishes the gray, brown, and black shades, 
and models the chief figures in a warm tone, either yellowish or reddish, with 
vivid, saturated, transparent colours, such as orange, deep crimson, blue or 
violet, now in the direct play of light, now as a silhouette in a warm half- 
tone ; and then he breaks through the scene with a broad sunlit middle 
distance, over against a flood of heavenly light bursting through the clouds. 
In his chiaroscuro, in the grand cast of his figures, which are crowded 
forward as if in too confined a space, in his simple dignified draperies, in the 
softness of the flesh tints, he recalls rather the school of Parma, Schidone 
for instance. Only his genial, national, unaffected simplicity is somewhat 
akin to the northern spirit. 

Roelas' earliest dated works, the four Scenes in the Life of the Virgin, 
painted in 1603 in Olivares, where he held a living, have scarcely a trace of 
his peculiar manner. But, strange to say, the same remark applies to his 

Digitized by 


ROELAS. 2>7 

very last works, also executed there — Pope Pius V. laying the foundation stone 
of St. Maria Maggiore, for the high altar, and the Shepherds (1624). This 
however may be due to some confusion in the seriously defective accounts 
extant of him. One thing is certain, that he first found favour by his inter- 
pretation of the Purisima^ a mystic subject ever dear to the Sevillans. Here 
the Madonna hovers in the clouds, encircled by angels, above a marine inlet, 
with the symbols distributed over the landscape. The Death of Hermenegild 
in the Hospital de la Sangre also belongs to this first period, the difference 
between which and the following is most remarkable. The St. James at the 
Battle of Clavijo (Cathedral, 1609), an apostle transformed in warlike Castile 
to a Cid (a second destroying angel, says Lope), in white mantle, waving a white 
flag, mounted on an apocalyptic steed, bursting out of the canvas on the 
tumultuous mass of flying Moors, in the rout hewing and trampling each 
other down, with a sea of a hundred thousand horsemen in the background, 
was a figure of hitherto unexampled vigour of action and chiaroscuro — a 
figure never approached in the following period. 

On the other hand his Death of St. Isidore of Seville (in the church 
dedicated to him) is an attempt to paint a scene full of figures in the broad 
daylight of a church, where the perspective appears to reflect the event 
supposed to have taken place on the very spot. Here Zurbaran seems 
anticipated ; but, although intensely realistic, on the features of the venerable 
martyr is expressed the ceaseless, spiritualizing work of a long life of action 
and contemplation. Compared with this, Domenichino's Death of St. Jerome 
expresses nothing but repellent physical decay. 

The Liberation of St. Peter (in his church) displays a Michaelangelesque 
grandeur and breadth in the figures, which are here suffused with a 
mystic yellowish half-light. From a distance we seem to see Peter falling 
in an outburst of thanks at the feet of the Saviour, whereas later artists, 
such as Spagnoletto, expressed nothing but the alarm or sudden start on 

Roelas' Pentecost in the Hospital de la Sangre is unrivalled in Seville as a 
representation of an assembly full of apostolic dignity, but under the guise of 
the most genuine national types. No oratorical gestures, no forced ecstasy, 
nothing but that almost cheerful sensation which accompanies true elevation 
of the spiritual faculty. Here a warm mild light from a radiant sun falls on 
the semi-circular group in the foreground, while those behind are buried 
in gloom. 

At times he also gives us scenes in which are marvellously blended the 
mystic symbolism and homely, familiar motives which were so much m 
favour at the time, and which were so widely circulated by the Flemish 

Digitized by 


38 Velazquez. 

copperplate engravers. The child Mary, on her mother Anna's lap, studying 
a miniature codex, in a sky-blue, star-bespangled dress and little gold crown, 
roses, fruits, and forget-me-nots, with sweetmeats, on the sideboard, is the 
work (now in the museum) which earned for him the censure of the bigoted 
and jealous Pacheco. He calls it skilful in the colouring, but lacking 
decorum (ii., 198). 

But Roelas' masterpiece, and the best painting produced in Seville before 
Murillo, is the central piece in the grand reredos of the Jesuits' (now 
University) Church. It would be p)erfect but for its complex character, for it 
really comprises (\vc separate subjects rolled into one. Still the Mary is 
a delightful embodiment of tender, dignified womanhood, in a liquid golden 
tone suggestive more of some of Rembrandt's female portraits than of 

To form an adequate idea of Roelas* inventive powers and execution one 
should visit the Church of the Barefoot Friars in San Lucar de Barrameda on 
a bright sunny day. Here are over a dozen of his works, nine above the 
high altar, treating the most diverse subjects from the Gospels and the 
legends of the saints. Amongst them are a Baptist of manly beauty preach- 
ing ; a youthful St. Laurence joyfully resigned to his fate ; a powerful dead 
Christ surrounded by angels ; a lovely Madonna ; a St. Catharine bending 
her neck to the headsman ; a St. Agnes and other martyrs. 

In 161 5 Roelas went to Madrid and competed for the vacant post of painter 
to the king. But he was passed over in favour of the wretched portraitist 
Bartolom^ Gouzalez, portraiture being at that time the chief occupation of 
the Court painters. Of Roelas no portraits are known to exist. 

Francisco de IIerrera 
(1576— 1656). 

While Roelas seems to have at all times been caviar to the general, the 
versatile Herrera the elder, architect, fresco, oil and distemper painter, etcher 
and copperplate engraver, is apparently still a popular favourite. The 
Spaniards regard him as the creator of their national style, a rdle which seems 
to have been first discovered in the time of Raphael Mengs. " He was the 
first," says Cean Bermudez, " who in Andalusia threw off that timid manner, 
to which our painters had so long adhered, and created a new style which 
reveals the spirit of the nation." Hence his portrait in the Biblioteca Colombina 
bears the legend : Fomidun nuevo esfilo proprio del genio nacional (" He created 
a new style adapted to the national genius "). Then this clue \vas followed 

Digitized by 


Francisco de Herrera. 39 

up by critics at second hand, as thus: "Not a trace of Italian imitation, no 
concession to the Art of the past ; " and again : " The emancipation of the 
school of Seville was the thought of his life." ' Even in his youth already 
a wild misanthropist, he educated himself in solitude, a pure naturalist from 
the first, full of scorn for the narrow, petty theories of the school of Vargas. 
In the latest history of the school terms like titamCf genius^ marvel ^nd Michael 
Angela are still freely bandied about.* " He already contains all in himself — 
Velazquez, Murillo, Caro — although in somewhat rude form, but still with the 
vigour and stamp of genius. He was the first who there threw open the 
gates of naturalism." 

We begin to understand this bias when we read how Herrera is said to 
have gone to work at the easel. " He drew with charred reeds and painted 
with a house-painter's brush. Once when left in the lurch by his pupils, as 
occasionally happened, he had the canvas prepared by a housemaid, who 
daubed it over with besoms and brooms, and before the paint was dry, he 
worked in his figures and draperies." 

This sketch of the patriarch of our modern *' impressionists " may be 
completed by the character of the man. For according to Palomino he was 
so stern, harsh and ruthless that his own children fled from the paternal 
roof as from a hell on earth. His daughter entered a convent, and his son 
Francis went to Italy, taking with him " 6,000 pesos " (dollars). His skill at 
engraving he misapplied to coining, and escaped from justice by taking refuge 
in the Jesuits' College of St. Hermenegild, for which he painted the altar-piece. 
When Philip IV. visited this church in 1624 he heard of the occurrence, and 
sending for the delinquent thus addressed him : *' The man who possesses so 
much skill should not misapply it. What need is there of gold and silver ? 
Go ! You are free ; only beware of a relapse." 

Coming now to what is vaunted as his greatest work, the Last Judgment 
in the parish church of St. Bernardo, although in a subject of this sort he 
must have been entirely in his element, we feel ourselves disenchanted, if 
not altogether to his disadvantage. 

Here the chief group is the Heavenly Assembly, a large semicircle in the 
style of the Disputa, with the Judge in the centre. But His right hand is 
held up blessing the saved, while the left encircles the Cross, the expression 
showing nothing of that wrath of Buonarroti, which, as Pacheco remarks, 
seems eager to destroy and consume the universe. He is the gentle Son 
of Man of Raphael's creed, shown even in the head inclined to one side. 
In the Heavenly Court we at once recognize Roelas' Pentecost, only the 

* Gazette dcs Beaux-arts^ 1859, iii» 169 et seq. 
■ Narciso Sentenach, La Pintura in Seinlla, 1885. 

Digitized by 


40 Velazquez. 

shadows are darker, the glance more strained, the types more varied, 
always vigorous and true, at times trivial, but never vulgar. Amongst 
them are some striking heads, while all betray a certain individuality. 
The deep earnestness of their eager gaze, as all hang in suspense on the 
Judge of the world, makes the stillness of this awful moment as it were 

On the other hand the lower portion is disposed of somewhat more 
summarily — to the left a group of wretched sinners and devils ; to the right 
the ekvt marshalled like soldiers in serried ranks awaiting the summons. 
In front stands the tall, knightly, somewhat prosaic St. Michael with uplifted 
sword, altogether the most prominent figure of this section, throwing the rest 
into the background. Cean Bermudez praises *' the art of the composition, 
the contrasts of the figures, the well-balanced groups, the elevated, philo- 
sophic expressions." 

The colouring and chiaroscuro are those of Roelas, only somewhat more 
vigorous. The light penetrating from the left divides the vast tableau 
and gives a sharper outline to the figures; the colouring is more pasty, 
less softened, eked out with brown touches. 

Several other remarkable paintings are executed in the same style. 
Such is the hitherto neglected St. Ignatius in the University, breathing the 
almost fanatical devotion of the pious Spaniard. These works give an idea 
of the manner, by which Herrera established his reputation and, as Jusepe 
Martinez assures as, '* earned the universal esteem of all competent to judge." 
To Palomino, his oldest biographer {Museo iii., 314), Herrera's Art seemed 
quite Italian, with powerful drawing and vigorous chiaroscuro. 

The truth would therefore seem to be that Herrera derived his style from 
Roelas, who came to Seville, and attained perfection when the former was 
in his thirtieth year (1607). Doubtless no one calls them teacher and pupil; 
but how far they agree is shown by the fact that Roelas' Pentecost was 
assigned to Herrera by such an experienced critic as Bermudez. There is 
nothing special in Herrera except his temperament. 

But according as success gave him self-confidence, as soon as he knew 
his public, he revealed a nature impatient of all restraint, and gradually felt 
all bounds to be irksome shackles. Perhaps he felt more at home in the 
fresco technique, in which he executed some works that have long perished. 
He also essayed a simpler process. At first he seems to have hit upon a 
chiaroscuro in the manner of Caravaggio, possibly without having seen his 
works ; in any case he was the first who in Seville applied the abrupt 
masses of shade peculiar to the Italian naturalists. A proof of this is 
the large Pentecost in the Lopez Cepero collection, which he exception- 

Digitized by 


Francisco de Herrera. 41 

ally signed and dated, as if fearing a work in that manner might not be 
recognized as his.^ 

From Palomino it was known that at first Herrera painted genre subjects, 
a taste in his case associated with a characteristic tendency towards tavern 
and gypsy life. Such profane scenes are no longer to be found in 
Spain, where they have disappeared in the region of the unknown. Yet 
Herrera's Art is so striking that it has been possible to recover a notable work 
of this class — the Blind Musician in Count Czernin's collection, Vienna 
(No. 64). The figures are half-length — an old man playing a rustic lyre {lira 
rusticd) such as is still found amongst the Savoyards, his youthful guide 
holding his slouched hat towards the wayfarers, whose movements his brown 
goggle-eyes follow with a half-plaintive, half-furtive glance from under his 
head of thick black hair. It is quite- in his pasty manner, with many 
unsoftened and dauby touches in hands and faces, but executed with a 
firm grasp and with such distinct technique as readily to be distinguished 
from any Dutch work of the kind. This, with the tremendous St. Basil, 
expounding his doctrine, in the Louvre, are the only works of Herrera 
known to exist outside Spain on the Continent. 

Realistic tendencies always found ample scope in the monkish legends 
covering the walls of the cloisters. In St. Buenaventura, besides the figures 
still preserved on the ceiling, Herrera painted four scenes from the life of 
the titular saint, three of which are now in The Grove at Watford, brought 
thither by the Earl of Clarendon from Spain. The monks' heads and 
attitudes in the convent of the gloomy church, the group of the local 
hidalgo family and others are here realized from the life with unparalleled 
naivete) executed in a shimmering yellow and greenish grey chiaroscuro, with 
the loose round contours peculiar to this artist. 

The Penitent Peter in the Seville Cathedral is also essentially a genre 
piece. "He looks like an old peasant who might have had the misfortune to 
kill somebody in a passion, and is now overcome by the fear of hell. Under 
a bare projecting brow, and between prominent cheek-bones, are planted 
small black eyes ; but in such hard features there is no scope for sentiment. 

The two huge canvases in the Seville Museum, SS. Hermenegild and 
Basil, give a forecast of the extravagance of his later period, and lend 
plausibility to those legends which Cean heard about *' old painters," who 
must have been born eighty years after Herrera's death. Mainly through 
these works he has found his way to the hearts of the modern public. They 

^ F A/i ^^rrera. i^ij Catdlogo (Sevilla: i860), Nr. 548, 7' 5" x 9' 4". 

Digitized by 


42 Velazquez. 

are wild daubs in which he casts off the rules of Art as a maniac does his 
clothes. These wretched scrawls cannot even be credited with direct 
colouristic qualities, for neither colour nor chiaroscuro effects can be dis- 
covered in them. Nor is there any expression, and nowhere can be seen a 
more vacant, insipid Christ. The powerful unstudied cast of the figure alone 
reminds the observer that he here contemplates the ruins of a great talent. 

In his seventieth year (1646) he executed his most comprehensive pieces, 
formerly in the Archbishop's palace — the Manna, the Water springing from 
the Rock, the Marriage of Cana and the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. 
Here we see that his changed but still powerful hand can give motion only 
to the colossal, to assembled multitudes. The fourth of these works at one 
time hung on the staircase of the Madrid Academy. Beneath a mighty 
broad-branching oak is seated the Saviour, His large bright eyes turned 
upwards as He blesses with sacramental solemnity. The disciples are 
disposed close by, while the five thousand are happily suggested in the slight 
depression of the middle distance. 

Towards the close of his career he was again drawn to Madrid, where he 
died in 1656. 

Herrera was not the "discoverer of a new style," for his true, genuine 
style is merely the language of Roelas spoken by an artist of fundamentally 
different character. Nor did he lead the school of Seville on the road to that 
freedom which is already recognized in the works of Roelas. We fail even 
to find in his productions any figure of such fierce energy as the St. James, 
any heads more realistic than those in the St. Andrew, while few traces can 
be discovered of the delicate and manifold light effects which were at the 
command of Roelas. No Sevillan painter can be indicated, who adopted his 
manner. Nor can he be called a naturalist, despite his genre pieces, for as a 
rule he was too impetuous to keep to his model. He mostly depicted himself, 
painting from his own brain. 

Altogether we are unable to assign any great worth to this so-called free 
manner {libertad y franqueza). One hears it spoken of as if it were the 
very essence of Art ; yet it is only a manner like any other, and one easily 
adopted by imitators. At most it is Spanish, because it lends itself to an 
indolent habit. 

Francisco Pacheco. 


While Roelas and Herrera were seeking new paths, Francisco Pacheco, 

a fellow-student of Herrera under Luis Fernandez, but a very differently 

constituted man, was still defending the moribund times in his teachings, 

Digitized by 


Pacheco. 43 

writings, and^ as he fancied, in his practice, not however without a foreboding 
that he was preaching to deaf ears, nor even without concessions to the new 
order of things. 

Of the names on the muster-roll of Spanish Art few were probably less 
handsomely endowed by the genius of painting, however many-sided his 
talents may otherwise have been, for he was also a poet, a biographer, an 
archaeologist and Art theorist. At times he gives one the impression more of 
a reflecting amateur, who by Nature seemed exclusively formed to use the pen 
rather than the brush in his treatment of Art topics. But his abstract studies 
appear to have awakened in him a creative impulse which was as irresistible 
as the instrument was defective. A dogged will undertook an endless 
struggle with the obstacles presented by Nature, and apart from a painfully 
acquired skill his persevering methodic efforts produced nothing but an 
obstinate self-reliance, which was fostered by his frequent public contro- 
versies, and which emboldened him, in emulation of his betters and uncon- 
scious of the risk, to undertake the most breakneck enterprises. Yet a 
spark of that wit which he lacked would have sufficed to make him pause 
before such attempts. His unimaginative, slow and petty spirit might 
anyhow have rendered him competent to execute small portraits, or still- 
life and genre pieces. But he possessed nothing of that self-knowledge, 
which enables others to recognize their natural limitations, and confine 
their efforts to a narrower, less ambitious field. 

Possibly he might never have risen to the surface, but for the social 
position for which he was indebted to the prominence enjoyed by his family, 
and especially by his uncle, the licentiate of like name. To this Church 
dignitary, humanist, and poet, he owed the ecclesiastical connections which 
were followed by the favour of the Duke of Alcaic, the " Maecenas of 
Seville." The biassed judgment of friends, and even enthusiastic verses 
from real poets and distinguished patrons, soon stifled any doubts he might 
have felt about his own powers. 

Brought up amid the local monuments and memories (his very name is 
Old Iberian), and having never travelled abroad, Pacheco eagerly devoted 
himself in a warm patriotic spirit to antiquarian researches, to artistic and 
decorative productions, such as the unclassical polychromatic treatment of 
wood-carvings. This brought him into collision with his friend Montanes ; 
against whom him he defended the painting of statues by specialists in 
this line instead of by the sculptors themselves. But in the exclusion of 
gold and in the use of lustreless colours which he intended to introduce, 
his reformed polychromy ran counter to the popular taste. The earliest 
specimens of his technique were Nuftez Delgado's John the Baptist in 

Digitized by- 


44 Velazquez. 

St. Clement's, and such productions of Mofttanes as the St. Dominick 
for Portacoeli, the Crucifix of the Carthusian Monastery (in the small 
sacristry of the cathedral), and the St. Jerome in Santiponce. But the 
most remarkable of these works were the two noble, lifelike heads for the 
statues of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier in the Casa Professa, now 
University Church (1610). Then he tells us how as a young man (1594) he 
painted five crimson damask banners, thirty and fifty ells long, for the Indian 
ga/eonSf with the arms of the monarchy and Santiago as a matamoros^ and 
had also a hand in the bronze-coloured figures of the tomb of Philip 11. in 
the cathedral. 

Historical painting he began with the life of St. Ramon Nonnatus of the 
Calceate Friars, for their cloisters. On this he worked jointly with his 
friend lldefonzo Vazquez, one of the last of the Vargas and Mohedano 
school, who drew and composed more freely and more skilfully than Pacheco. 
To both the subject was congenial enough — scenes from the stirring life of 
this heroic rescuer of Christian slaves. 

Of the six pieces by Pacheco two are in the Seville Museum, and one in 
that of Barcelona — the Calling of the young Shepherd Ramon by the Holy 
Virgin, the Embarkation on the Spanish Coast, and the Return of the 
Rescued Christians. These feeble essays, in which he strains every 
nerve to keep pace with Vazquez, are chiefly characterized by a stiffness in 
the figures which betrays the tyro, by a botchy composition, and heavy 
draperies. The angels who tend the flock during the vision, conduct 

themselves like the *^ young ladies" in a provincial boarding-school. 

The Embarkation alone, where Asensio fancied he recognized in a boatman 
the portrait of Cervantes, who was in Seville in 1598-99, is thoroughly 
lifelike, a genuine beach scene. Here he succeeds better than ever did the 
more skilful but affected Vazquez. 

In 1616 Pacheco painted for the hospital of Alcaic de Guadaira a St. 
Sebastian, now in the parish church dedicated to that saint. The scene where 
the Christian soldier after his agony is sought under cover of the darkness and 
tended by the matron, Irene, has several times been treated by distinguished 
painters. The night, the dread atmosphere of persecution, the mangled 
body of the young martyr in a deadly swoon, the eager care of the deeply 
agitated women — here was a theme worthy of a Schidone, a Spagnoletto, a 
Delacroix. How is it handled by our Art reformer, unwarmed even by the 
suns of Andalusia? In a tidy spacious chamber of the Alcali Hospital lies 
a man in fresh linen in a newly made bed, holding a soup-bowl, of a blue 

Digitized by 


Pacheco. 45 

striped pattern. Before him stands a woman with the impassive, pale 
features, the wearied glance of a hospital nurse, while a little girl places 
some bandages on a plate. Above the settle hangs the rich uniform of an 
officer, on the walls are the arrows preserved as relics. Through an open 
window is visible the scene of the martyrdom, the whole thing reminding 
one of the trumpery votive paintings of attesting miracles, such as are seen 
exhibited in St. Peter's at canonizations. Nevertheless it arrests attention by 
a certain truth, although a truth of the lowest order, like some local event 
related with the circumstantial triteness of the village chronicler. 

Pacheco's youth still lay within the period when efforts were being made 
to conform to the Romano-Florentine school. The great Italians he 
honoured from afar with a glowing homage ; he declared that ** in virtue 
of a secret natural impulse he had from his tenth year always imitated 
Raphael, under the influence of his glorious inventions, and especially 
of an Indian ink drawing," of which he was the fortunate possessor.^ 
His special prototype was Pablo de Cespedes, like himself, poet, artist 
and archaeologist. 

But this homage and these studies were by no means purely academical. 
From time to time he was seized with the mania to take his place by the side 
of his heroes, and even in certain particulars to improve upon their works. 

In 1603 Don Fernando de Rivera, Duke of Aleak, who had perhaps read 
of the Palazzo del T^ in Mantua, bespoke of Pacheco for a thousand ducats 
.a ceiling-piece in this style for the principal storey of the *' House of Pilate." 
Being ignorant of the fresco technique he painted in distemper on canvas, 
depicting mythological scenes on a black ground adorned with grotesques, 
with nearly all the figures hovering and strongly foreshortened in horizontal 
perspective. They included the Apotheosis of Hercules, Ganymede, Astraea, 
Perseus, Phaeton, and Icarus, hence successful or abortive aspirations heaven- 
wards. In a round central space stand the twelve gods in couples in spiral 
perspective, where the nude bodies are so disposed as to look like winding 
balustrades. But while aspiring to emulate the daring tours de force of a 
Giulio Romano, who makes light of the most difficult problems in draughts- 
manship, as he does of decorum, he has evidently his misgivings as regards 
his " Flight of Icarus " (ii., 24). Yet the much respected Pablo in Cordova 
praised the creation, and duly received a sonnet in thanks. 

This first manner appears somewhat purified in the large Annunciation, 

which he had to place just above Roelas' masterpiece in the reredos of the 

Jesuits' Church. The work betrays endless studies, especially in colour 

harmony, to which the mannerists appear to have previously scarcely paid 

^ Arte de la Pintura^ i., 318 (libro ii., 5). 

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46 Velazquez. 

any attention. It is painted in a full light with bright clear tints, orange and 
blue, and in the angels* draperies' blue, yellow and pink forming the chief 
contrasts. But how could a vecino de Sevil/a, as he calls himself on the title- 
page of his book, give birth to such a marionette figure as this Gabriel ? 
And what features of grave-diggers are these others ! 

Pacheco was nearly forty when he at last decided to visit the Court 
(1611); and now for the first time he beheld originals of his admired 
Italians in Madrid and the Escorial. He made a friend of the Iberianized 
Italian Vincenzo Carducho; and in Toledo visited El Greco, who at that 
time had already fallen into preposterous ways. 

This journey had for him more than one result. The tenacious man 
of principles was still too much of an artist to shut his eyes to such 
influences. Henceforth his palette and brush seem transformed ; his inven- 
tion is more natural; his stony manner becomes quickened; his sharp, 
smooth, meagre treatment yields to a broader, more robust impasto style. 
Already in the four small portraits of the predella under the still harsh, brick- 
coloured Death of St. Albert (161 2), in the Lopez Cepero Gallery, one detects 
a warmer tone, a fresher conception, speaking eyes. 

Now he opened a school of painting, and henceforth his house became to 
the last a trysting-place for artists and friends of Art. '' His studio," says 
Rodrigo Caro, ''was a formal academy of the most cultured Sevillans 
and strangers." 

His self-confidence henceforth knew no bounds, and it cost him not a 
qualm to grapple with the Last Judgment, most difficult of all religious subjects. 
In his book he gives us four certificates from theological authorities on this 
work, executed in 1614 for the Convent Church of St. Isabella, for seven hun- 
dred ducats. He introduces many departures from the traditional treatment \ 
the heathen figures that deformed Buonarroti's work, as well as phantastic 
mediaeval accessories such as the yawning jaws of hell, were expunged. The 
arrangements of this Master of Ceremonies of Doomsday remind one of 
Overbeck, when of a Sunday morning he entertains the visitors to his studio 
with homilies on the Symbolism of his Cartoon ! 

The Archangel Michael (1637), transferred to London after the Revo- 
lution of 1868, attracted attention through its powerful colouring combined 
with his old hardness of touch. He lived to see the rising star of Murillo, 
having survived till 1654, and consequently witnessed that artistic event, the 
representation of the Virgin under the features of a true daughter of Spain. 
Pacheco's own Purisima in the picture with the portrait of the poet Miguel 
Cid (in the Sacristy de los Cdlices) stood at the antipodes of his new 
embodiment — a long, wearisome, repulsive, swollen, sleepy face of a nun ! 

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Pacheco. 47 

Pacheco's *^ Art of Painting'* — Those familiar with ih^ personnel of this 
branch of literature might guess beforehand that a painter such as has just 
been described would write a book. Like everything else that he took in 
hand this was a longwinded affair, which however he had the good fortune 
to see through the press in his extreme old age. In this lifelong work 
various phases are naturally to be distinguished. Thus, while it mainly 
follows the severe tendencies of the previous century, the later views and 
principles of naturalism twine like creeping plants round that central 

Pacheco's Arte de la Pintura was the work not only of a painter and 
master of technique, but also of a scholar, as shown by its thoroughness 
and taste for quotation. For every point the best authorities are referred to ; 
questions of ecclesiastical archaeology are discussed with his friends of the 
cowl ; the section on the worship of images is a theological essay ; the 
scholastic doctrine of ideas he takes from the Jesuit Diego Meldndez (i., 224). 
On the question of the social status of painters the juristic definitions of 
honour are appealed to ; no topic has been more warmly discussed by 
Spanish painters than this delicate point of their classification with ordinary 
artizans in the schedules of the Income-tax Papers. On aesthetic notions 
reference is made to the old rhetoricians, as to Cicero on decorum and 
honestum. But even in his own department he prefers quoting the more 
instructive passages, " the authority, ** of the Italians, from Alberti and 
Leonardo down to L. Dolce and Paolo Pini. Dtirer also and Van Mander 
were translated, while the dryness of the subject is relieved by scraps of 
didactic and descriptive poetry, in which are occasionally preserved precious 
fragments of the Andalusian poets. 

Nevertheless the book is no mere compilation of odds and ends, but 
bears the stamp of a work by an artist full of interesting matter, critiques, 
and sentiments. It is specially valuable for the numerous notices of Spanish 
artists, giving an insight into the party spirit,, the burning questions and 
current opinions of the times. Of many controversies we should otherwise 
know absolutely nothing, into such profound oblivion have fallen the ultra- 
Radicals and Know-nothings of those days. Here, being himself a partizan, 
his language becomes warmer and more coloured. In a word, while we have 
often scarcely patience to look at his paintings, we read his book with 
increasing interest, the more so that it is written in pure, clear Spanish. In 
its pages we make the acquaintance of a man at once limited and many-sided, 
painfully narrow-minded and liberal, cosmopolitan and patriotic, a humanist 
yet in the confidence of the Inquisition. Those who have spoken slightingly 
of the book merely show that, even if they have read it, they were incapable 

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48 Velazquez. 

of appreciating it. The use made of it in the present work will make it 
evident how mistaken was the judgment that pronounced it " as erudite as it 
is useless." 

At the same time, the section on which Pacheco himself placed most value 
— a sort of canon of religious painting — is full of eccentricities. His aim 
was to be critical, as indeed was his nature ; his highest ambition was to be 
thought worthy of the honoured name given by Petrarch to Homer : Primo 
piiior delle memorie antiche. 

In some of the most popular legends, such as those of St. George and of 
St. Christopher, his critiques undoubtedly sound a jarring note for many. He 
maintains that truth is above Art, nay, even above the wants of the devout^ 
*' Religious paintings are books for the people, but they should be truthful 
books. . . . Unfortunately the leading artists are far too fond of the freedom 
of their conceptions, impatiently shaking off the yoke of reason. In 
their works we see more ingenuity than religious tact." That group of 
St. Anne teaching her child, so lovingly handled by Roelas, and later 
by Rubens and Murillo, is heterodox, " because from her conception Mary 
already possessed reason, free will, contemplation, natural and supernatural 
knowledge," and therefore needed no teaching. He praises DQrer who 
never exposed Mary's holy feet, thanking the Inquisition for having restrained 
this licence. 

But if he here deprives us of much that is beautiful, he gives us com- 
pensations. He knows the '* bill of fare" of the repast served up to Christ 
by the Angels in the wilderness (one of his own paintings) ; he determines 
the instruments used at the scourging, by means of authentic relics ; he 
describes the Apostle Paul, as if he had seen him in the flesh. 

A glance at the religious painting of the next period suffices to show 
that this pretended reform was merely the stillborn whim of a pedant. This 
worthy person never imagined that it was this very freedom that was 
destined to effect in Spanish religious Art a profound and genuine meta- 
morphosis still animated by a never-fading freshness. The cause of religious 
painting he considered lost for the rising generation. " How many are 
competent merely to understand this testimony of mine ! Alas ! no hope of 
improvement ! " 

Naturally the Inquisition could not have confided the office of inspector 
of paintings to a more trustworthy person. This happened in i6i6, his 
colleague being Juan de Uceda : yet no one was less suited for the position 
of an inquisitor. DUrer, with whose life and works he was intimately 
acquainted, he looked on as a kindred spirit, repeatedly referring to him 
and ranking him next after Buonarroti and Raphael. 

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Pacheco. 49 

His "Book oj Portraits" — Far more satisfactory are Pacheco's essays in the 
department of portraiture. His few extant specimens in oil show familiarity 
with the Court portraitists, and from Sanchez Cocllo he had learnt how 
likenesses may be completed in the absence of the subject (ii., 139). He 
further mentions one hundred and fifty miniature portraits, of which he 
regarded that of his wife Maria de Parama as the best. But the most useful 
part of his life-work were the busts of distinguished Sevillans, of which he 
thought of publishing a selection of about a hundred. He tells us how he 
devoted to their preparation the time that others give to recreation. He 
had collected one hundred and seventy, amongst them some women, 
and in 1 599 the collection was roughly completed. The title-page — Libro de 
descripdon de verdaderos retratos de ilustres y memorables varones — bears this 

The sheets are drawn with black and red chalk in rich borders sketched 
with pen and ink in the current Renaissance taste. The models were 
woodcuts such as the Basle edition of the E/ogia 0/ Jovius (1577); but they 
are much in the manner of Ottavio Leoni's drawings, which however he 
became acquainted with later, and which are incomparably more lifelike. 
Pacheco was well suited for this work by his social position and highly 
developed "organ of veneration." A marked preference is given to the 
ecclesiastical element which comprises three-fifths of the whole. There are 
also seven poets, three painters, two musicians, a surgeon, a cannon-founder, 
and two swordsmen from the wars of Granada. 

All are not equally authentic, and on his own confession he drew several 
from mere descriptions (ii., 143), ''in order not to deprive them of such 
an honourable place." Others seem to have been made from memory, most 
however from sketches, and all are reduced to exactly the same size and 
form. The publication possibly failed through the expense of the plates 
and the lack of competent engravers. 

The short biographies are drawn from well chosen and thoroughly 
trustworthy data, reports and anecdotes. But for Pacheco we should know 
nothing of contemporary poets except their verses, and even for some of 
these we are indebted to him. When compared with some of his successors, 
such as the erudite Nicholas Antonio, it must be allowed that here Pacheco 
is still the artist ; he gives us real portraits, rich in colour and characteristic, 
not meagre dictionary articles. 

After his death the work appears to have been distributed amongst several 
of his admirers. But for a long time it lay hid in a convent, until in 1864 
one volume with fifty-six articles was brought to light and secured for eight 
hundred duros by the advocate Francisco M. Asensio of Seville. 


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50 Velazquez. 

Venetian Painting. 

El Mudo, — Even in mediaeval times the magnetic pole of Spanish taste 
seemed already to lie rather towards the north-east, as seen for instance in its 
relations to Gothic as compared with Italian architecture. What a series 
of cathedrals and foundations, some like those of Salamanca and Segovia, 
continued far into the sixteenth century, despite the already intruding 
Renaissance ! When the oscillating tendencies in painting are weighed, the 
scales seem to incline more towards the Netherlanders than their Romanesque 
rivals, not only in the fifteenth but also in the seventeenth century. 

For this reason their affinities lay more with the schools of North 
Italy than with the Romano-Florentine. We see what a sorry exhibition 
they make at and after the time when Buonarroti and Raphael were 
carrying all before them ; but they no sooner come in contact with Venice 
and Parma than success crowns their efforts. North Italy, the old Gallia 
Cisalpina^ has its ethnical elements distinct from those of Tuscany and 
Rome, while it has never disowned its kinship with South France 
and Catalonia in painting as well as in speech. In those regions Nature 
was preferred to the ideal, colour to draughtsmanship, grace and action to 
beauty, pictorial perspective illusion to architectural symmetry. The 
Valencians Ribalta and his pupil Ribera had visited Parma; the Sevillans 
became familiar with the teachings of the Lombard Michaelangelo Amerighi ; 
the first who amid the predominance of Romanism spoke to the heart of their 
fellow-countrymen came from Venice. 

The relations of the painter of Cadore to the {Imperor Charles and his 
son (since 1530) had brought a number of masterpieces to the palace. 
Philip also sought to secure Paul Veronese for San Lorenzo. Titian's 
religious paintings in the Escorial could not fail to produce their effect on 
the group of artists banished to that wilderness. In the year 1575, almost 
coincidently with Titian's death, Venetian style was for the first time 
cultivated in two independent places in Spain. 

The most noted of the native painters in the Escorial colony was the 
Navarrese Juan Fernandez Navarrete of LogroAo (born about 1526), known 
as the " Mute," from the dumbness by which he was early afflicted. Lilce 
those Andalusian Romanists he had passed the best period of his life in 
Italy and Rome. The little picture which he showed Philip II. as a 
specimen of his skill, the delicate clearly painted Baptism of Christ (Prado, 
905), is quite of the '* Raphaelesque " school, or, if you will, that of 
Giulio Romano. The king now (1569) commissioned him to execute a 
series of large works for San Lorenzo — statuesque figures for the most 

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El Greco. 51 

part severely drawn and modelled, with well-thought-out attitudes and 
foreshortenings, hard and cold like his native highlands. But his slum- 
bering sense of colour was soon awakened by the arrival of the aged 
Titian's Last Supper and St. Laurence. While his model for the St. 
Jerome (1570) is Michael Angelo, and for the Holy Family (in the upper 
claustro) Zuccaro (after C. Cort's print), in the Scourging he surprises us 
with a Passion piece in the manner of the Milanese Crown of Thorns ; 
the Burial of St. Laurence also is an echo of the famous Night Scene in 
the Jesuits' Church, Venice, and in the Escorial. Although now nearly fifty 
years of age he abandoned his own laboriously acquired style, the change 
being most conspicuous in the six pairs of Apostles with hilly landscapes 
which he executed for the side altars of the Escorial Church (1575-78). 
Philip IL thus found in one of his own subjects a better painter than 
those brought at a heavy expenditure from abroad. But, '* alas ! life has 
reached its goal, and Art has scarce begun." He died in 1579, and no 
one was found strong enough to stretch his bow. 

El Greco, — A proof of the attraction Venetian Art had for the Spanish 
eye is seen in the welcome given to the works of El Greco. At the very 
time a Navarrese was for the first time painting in the Titian manner in 
the Escorial, Toledo was visited by a Cretan Greek, who like Antonio 
Vassilacchi of Milo, known as V Aliense, had studied the Venetian style at 
the fountain head. He was traditionally, and doubtless justly, regarded as a 
pupil of Titian, although his signature is always in Greek, with a Latin trans- 
lation of his Christian name Kyriakos : AofjurfviKo^ OeoroKoirovKcx; Kprj^i 
hroUi. This artist is as remarkable for his rare pictorial genius, and 
for the impulse given by him to Spanish painting, as for the unexampled 
and in fact pathological debasement of his later manner. Biographers 
have hitherto studied him only from the time of his arrival in Spain (iS75)» 
but there still exists a number of authentic works belonging to his Italian 
period, works which rank with the best productions of the Venetian 
school Nobody being aware of his existence, these works, notwithstand- 
ing their peculiar physiognomy, have long passed for Titians, Paul 
Veroneses, Bassanos, and even Baroccis. They are partly portraits, partly 
animated Gospel scenes in bold lines, and in the attitudes resembling 
Tintoretto, but richer in individuality and more solid in the colouring. 
Vistas of distant hills beyond the marble-paved piazzas and line of palaces 
give them a strong Venetian accent. He is also influenced by Michael 
Angelo as seen in many of the figures, and what is stranger still, old 
Byzantine reminiscences are betrayed in his invention and grouping. 

The Greek signature of El Greco occurs on a Healing of the Man Blind 

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52 Velazquez. 

from his Birth, in the Parma Gallery (No. 280), of which a modified but 
unsigned replica exists in the Dresden collection. He often depicted 
the Cleansing of the Temple, a large specimen of which, formerly in the 
Buckingham collection, is now in the possession of the Countess of 
Yarborough, catalogued as a Paul Veronese.* But his most comprehensive 
creation is the Disrobing of the Saviour on Calvary, formerly in the Manfrin 
Gallery, and assigned to Barocci. Christ stands in the centre, an embodi- 
ment of sublime resignation, His large brilliant eyes turned upwards ; to 
the left lower down three noble female figures, to the right a man with the 
borer stooping over the Cross. Behind tower up the heads and busts of the 
thronging troops, their captain in armour on Christ's right hand, the man 
seizing His red mantle on His left. It would be difficult to find a work of 
the Venetian school richer in studies of character than this Disrobing. 

That he was at that time an eminent portraitist is evident from the 
half-length of the miniature painter Giulio Clovio (ob. 1578), in the Naples 
Studj, which in Parma passed as a portrait of himself. So also the study of 
light effects, the Boy Blowing a Coal, in the Naples Museum. That portrait 
of Clovio supplies a conjecture as to El Greco's hitherto unkno>\Ti career 
in Italy. 

He may perhaps have introduced himself as a fellow-countryman of the aged 
Clovio, who calls himself a Macedonian. His skill at miniature is revealed 
in one of his best early works, a replica of the Cleansing of the Temple 
on a small scale, with sumptuous architecture and ornamental details, in Mr. 
Francis Cook's collection, Richmond. In the already mentioned large piece 
we see in the right corner four half-figures — the aged Titian, Michael Angelo, 
an old man (probably Clovio), and a young man with index finger 
pointing to his face, possibly the artist himself indicating those to whom 
he felt indebted. In any case his youth had been rich in experiences, and 
Pacheco who made his acquaintance in old age calls him a "great philo- 
sopher," full of wise sayings and author of a treatise on painting, sculpture 
and architecture. 

In 1575 he made his appearance in Toledo, which he never again 
quitted, dying there in 1 6 14. During these forty years he displayed an 
almost boundless activity, filling the Castilian churches with altar-pieces, 
the halls of prelates and cavaliers with portraits. But only in the earliest 
is his Venetian manner preserved. The first, which apparently brought 

" By del Greco. Christ driving the Traders out of the Temple. There are about 32 
figures in this picture, four whereof are the pictures of Titian, Raphael, etc." — A CaUt" 
logue of the curious Collection of Pictures of G, Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (Xondon: 
1758;, p. 3- 

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El Greco. 53 

him to Toledo, is the reredos in the Church of Santo Domingo de Silos 
where the architectural framework and the statues are also by him. 
The central and chief piece is the Assumption now in Pau, but a copy of 
which is still on the spot. The elements of the Frari altar-piece here 
reappear, but already in a Spanish environment. Mary soars aloft with out- 
stretched arms in ecstatic emotion. The Apostles are men from the Toledo 
mountains, who like true Castilians express their amazement still with 
dignity in a slow solemn gesture-language. The picture is thrown on the 
canvas with surprising power of chiaroscuro and in richly varied deep 
glowing colours. 

This performance opened El Greco's way to the cathedral. Invited to 
execute the central piece for the new and spacious sacristy he resolved to 
figure his Christ on Calvary on an imposing scale. This chief work and 
masterpiece of his, occupying an honourable place in the richest church in 
Spain, for the first time in that country gave an idea of Titian's Art, his 
plastic power, his vivid light and shade, his naturalism. In his capacity 
as a colourist El Greco here proclaimed himself king. 

But he was unable to keep on the high level of this work. Drunk 
with applause, unwarned by associates or judges whom he might have 
well respected, in the pride of his triumph piqued at the compliment that 
"he painted Hke Titian," he degenerated into that reckless manner in 
which, as in the speech of "a noble unstrung mind," flashes only of his 
genius still occasionally gleam forth in those marvellous physiognomies 
and daring strokes of the brush. In Toledo's crumbling eyrie isolated 
from healthy influences he sank lower and lower, painting like a visionary 
and taking for revelations the distorted fancies of a morbid brain. 

In portraiture alone a spark survived of his former greatness. Those of 
Pompeo Leoni at Keir in Dumfriesshire, and of the grey-haired Cardinal 
Quiroga (?) in the cathedral sacristy, Valladolid, still give a good notion of 
his powers, whereas the specimens in the Prado Museum are unfortunately 
very mannered. In St. Tom6 is a large picture, which, strange to say, passes 
in Spain as his masterpiece, although executed in his worst style. A group 
of cavaliers in the black dress of the Court of Phihp II. assist at the burial of 
Count Orgaz, whose body is being lowered into the grave by two ghostly 
figures, in whom one recognizes SS. Augustine and Stephen. "Around this 
painting," we are told, " the Toledans often gathered, still discovering 
something new in the portraits of so many cavaliers." And in truth, at 
sight of these stiff, ceremonious attitudes, these grave motionless glances, 
giving the impression of an assembly of apparitions, one must fain confess 
that the foreign artist had a good eye for national peculiarities. 

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54 Velazquez. 

His popularity was doubtless partly due to his children's and women's 
heads, for which he certainly had models to be envied on the banks of the 
Tagus. In the round heads of his children and maidens, thrown backwards 
and set on long necks, with deep gleaming black eyes, pouting lips, full round 
chin, warm ivory tone, childlike exuberance and artlessness are happily 
combined with budding passion. Unapproached is the p>ensive charm of his 
pale female heads, with their unfathomable dreamy eyes, some in their lace 
mantillas, some in the convent veil ; here we begin to understand the poetic 
fame of the fair Toledo dames. 

As religious enthusiasts precede the creative innovators of the times, this 
Iberian ized Greek was a precursor of the masters that arose in the following 

The Toledan School. 

Although at all times a teacher of high repute, El Greco had no followers. 
Those recognized as his pupils would appear to be indebted to him for 
nothing but the elements of the Art or for impulses of a perfectly free order. 
From the aspect of their works alone we should scarcely think of associating 
any of them except the feeble Pizarro with this master. 

Orrente, — Pedro Orrente of Montealegre in Murcia (born about 1570, died 
1644 in Toledo) is the only one who, besides other styles, also at times 
exhibits a Venetian physiognomy, which anyhow he appears to have acquired 
in Toledo. In the same apartment for which the master painted the Cuadro de 
las Vestiduras is seen the Miracle of St. Leocadia, besides the Shepherds and 
the Magi, with a shado\vy likeness in all to Veronese. But then he discovered 
in the Bassano pieces a vein, whose popular harmonies were more akin to his 
homely nature than the pompous lines of Paolo. The taste for landscapes, 
pastoral and chiaroscuro pieces was long almost exclusively fed by these 
works of Bassano, whose number is legion in Spain. Hence our " Spanish 
Bassano " came also into great repute, and throughout that century his little 
pieces were an indispensable ornament to every boudoir up to the royal 
retreats themselves. They have been taken for works by his prototype and 
even by Titian, although his colouring is thinner and more delicate, and 
neutralized by a yellow tone. Many are even more diversified than his 
monotonous models ; in them we rarely miss invention, good landscape 
motives, thoughtful observation of rural life, freshness and fancy. To cattle 
especially he does more justice than any others, always of course excepting 
the Dutch. 

Maino, — In El Greco's two other pupils, both Toledans, the Venetian 

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Tristan. 55 

influence died out. The works of the Dominican friar Juan B. Maino, who passed 
from the Convent of St. Peter the Martyr to the Court of Philip IV., are very 
rare. According to Martinez he was fond of ease and comfort, and evidently 
h'ngered long over his productions. His masterpieces were the four large 
pascuas in his convent church, one of which, the Epiphany, is now in the 
Prado (No. 2166 c). When the national collection was broken up the 
others were distributed amongst provincial galleries. Here there is nothing 
Venetian except at most the naturalistic vein, and the varied wealth of colour 
in the costumes. The small angelic choirs alone remind us of El Greco. 
Very remarkable is the apparently independent contact in the general effect 
with Caravaggio in this artist's first and best manner. Of course Martinez 
calls him the Lombard's pupil, and it must at all events be admitted that no 
one approached Caravaggio nearer than this Spanish Dominican, even to 
his fondness for yellow draperies and superb armoured soldiers, as in the 
Watch by the Grave. 

His excellence at portraiture is attested by one or two specimens, such as 
a light-coloured Man in Don Sebastian's collection, which, but for the signature, 
might pass for the work of a Dutchman. The portrait of the Jurist Diego 
Narbona, engraved from his drawing by Maria Eugenia de Beer, looks like a 

Tristan. — More attention has been drawn to Luis Tristan (born about 
1586, died 1640), whom El Greco himself is said to have regarded as his best 
pupil, although, as shown by the rareness of his works, *' he was not favoured 
according to his worth by Fortune" {Martinez^ 185). Of his teacher, how- 
ever, no trace can be detected in him beyond the somewhat slim proportions 
broad chests, and small heads, and in some nude studies the powerful 
muscular development. The picture of his artistic character current in books 
is purely fanciful. Instead of consulting his somewhat inaccessible authentic 
works (Stirling-Maxwell thought him worth a trip to Yepes), the critics 
have generally drawn their conclusions from the laudatory language of El 
Greco and Velazquez, as well as from some apocryphal pictures in Madrid, 
which were again in their turn attributed to him on the ground of those 
very conclusions. His chief work in Yepes, the altar-piece of the Convent 
Church of St. Clara in Toledo, the Beheading of the Baptist in the Carmen 
Descalzo, and even the somewhat crude St. Francis in the Louvre, give a 
clear idea of his Art, which, while different enough from prevalent fancies, 
agrees altogether with the judgment of the old writers. 

Now whereas Mudo and EUGreco in our opinion were colourists, Tristan was 
a chiaroscurist. A glaring light from above illumines in sharp outlines the chief 
figures, whose blackish shadows fall away into the dark background. Only 

Digitized by 


56 Velazquez. 

he does not understand the art of massing his colours, and is altogether 
partial to strongly accentuated forms and colours, as well as light effects. 
His religious histories have a national trait of earnestness and even of 
nobility. His invention and attitudes are not lacking in facility; but the 
heads remain somewhat vulgar and insignificant, yet the women are by no 
means devoid of a certain refinement and grace. In him we notice a period 
of transition, abandoning the learned draughtsmanship of the mannerists, 
but without taking decidedly to naturalism. 

In accordance with this Tristan's contemporaries called him a " second 
Caravaggio," Martinez even maintaining that he had studied under Ribera. 
But his chief piece was executed in Yepes in the year i6i6, when Ribera 
was still in the service of his father-in-law, turning out second-rate works. 
That Tristan developed his chiaroscuro style quite independently, thus 
anticipating the Sevillans, shows that, although not a very important, still he 
was not altogether an *' obscure " artist, as he has been called. 

A favourable opinion of his portraiture is conveyed by the half-figure of 
Cardinal Sandoval in the winter hall of the Toledo chapter-house, apparently 
the best piece in that stately gallery of prelates. The artist's px)wer of 
observation is shown in the pose of the head, perhaps peculiar to the arch- 
bishop, and in the quiet penetrating gaze of the large black eyes of the man 
lost in thought during the sitting. Strange that even as a portraitist Tristan 
shows no trace of the Venetian process. He gives us, however, accurate, 
careful drawing on a general model, with uniform enamel-like carnations, in 
which the softening shades, the minutely painted hairs, are worked in with a 
delicate black, as by the northern portraitists of the olden time. 

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1 599—1629. 


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The Family. 

in 1599, the same year as Van Dyck, one year after Zurbaran and 
Bernini, two after Sustermans, three before Calderon and Alonso Cano. 

He was the son of Juan Rodriguez de Silva and Dofia Gerbnima Velaz- 
quez, and was baptized on June 6 in the parish church of St. Pedro by its 
cure'f the licentiate Gregorio de Salazar, Pablo de Ojeda of St. Magdalena's 
parish standing sponsor. He probably saw the light the day before in the 
house, No. 8, Calle de Gorgoja. 

It was an old tradition that his father came of an ancient Portuguese 
family, which at one time held a high position, renowned for services 
rendered to the Crown, but which had long fallen into poverty, and further 
that his grandparents had removed to Seville {Palomino). But fuller 
information regarding this family was first disclosed by the publication of 
the official documents from the records of the Order of St. Jago in Uclds. 

Diego Rodriguez de Silva and his wife Dona Maria Rodriguez came from 
Oporto to Seville, where was born their son Juan, father of the painter. His 
mother was daughter of Juan Velazquez of Seville, and of Dona Catalina de 
Zayas, daughter of Andres de Buenrostro. Both families ranked as Sevillan 
hidalgoSy or members of the inferior nobility, and according to Zurbaran 
familiars of the Inquisition had been chosen from both, a fact which passed as 
a proof of spotless descent. They however did not use the title of Don, 

His paternal ancestors belonged to a branch of the Silva family, widely 
spread throughout the Portuguese province of Minho e Douro. According to 
the testimony of some nobles of that kingdom, who after the revolution had re- 
mained loyal to Spain, their so/ar or ancestral seat, Quinta de Silva, lay eight or 
nine miles from Oporto, and three from the Benedictine Monastery of TibSes 

Digitized by 


6o Velazquez. 

The progenitor of the Silvas was the Spaniard Don Guterre Alderete de 
Silva, mentioned as a descendant of Don Fruella, King of Leon. He assisted 
Ferdinand the Great at the capture of Coimbra, and about the year 1040 
settled in the neighbourhood of Valen^a in the "Tower," which from him 
takes the name of Torre de Silva. His son, Don Payo Guterres da Silva, 
was Governor of Portugal under Alfonso VI., and founded or built the great 
Benedictine Monastery of Tibaes (1080) nearly four miles north of Braga^ 
To this branch belong many Portuguese noble families, including some 
marquises and counts. 

About the year 1660 some relations of the Sevillan Silvas were settled 
in Oporto, where they ranked as cavaliers, and as such held certain posts 
of honour. Carreno tells us that he once met in the palace a Calatrava 
knight, Morexon Silva, who intended visiting the painter, calling himself 
his cousin. 

It therefore appears that our painter's proper name is Silva \ yet Diego 
adopted that of his mother, Velazquez, although usually signing himself 
Diego de Silva Velazquez. Probably the change was due to some family 
arrangement substituting the old Sevillan name for that of the foreign 
immigrants. The practice of taking the mother's name, and even that of 
the maternal grandfather or uncle in addition to the father's was in any 
case common enough in Andalusia, and often gave rise to serious 

The name Diego Velazquez had been famous since the days of the 
recovery of Granada and of the conquistadores in the New World. It was 
borne by one of those Cistercians, founders of the Order of Calatrava ; and of 
him honourable mention is made is the Acta Sanctorum ; the conqueror and 
first governor of Cuba was also a Velazquez. The personal name Velasco, 
whence was derived the patronymic Velazquez by the old genitive ending 
in 5, was very common both in Spain and Portugal, assuming in the latter 
country the successive forms Fa/asco, Vaasco, and Vasco, on the analogy of 
Pelayo, Payo; Melendez^ Mendez ; Venegas, Vegas^ etc. In the Spanish 
Dictionary of Artists occur five Velasco and five Velazquez, But the most 
distinguished of all is the Velascus, whose signature is attached to the great 
painting of the Pentecost in Santa Cruz of Coimbra, perhaps the foremost 
painter of the old Portuguese school, though scarcely identical with the 
semi-mythical Grao Vasco, 

The name Diego is considered to be a form of Jago, or /antes, in 
Portuguese Thiago, and Latinized Didacus, a form with which our artist 
signs some of his works. Lastly Rodriguez is the Gothic Roderick, 

The family does not appear to have lacked means; the painter had a 

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His Student Years. 6i 

slave in Seville, and his colleagues there assure us that he never painted 
for money. Zurbaran certifies that they always lived as noblemen on their 
private income, and were accordingly held in much esteem. 

The memory of his noble ancestral lineage was apparently not without 
influence on the artist's career. It may explain his yearning for the Court, 
as well as the hankering after official posts far from advantageous to his 
Art. On the other hand, considering the still prevalent prejudices of the 
upper classes against the painter's craft, his early determination to adopt 
this career argues for the strength of his inclination towards Art, in which he 
can scarcely have been actuated by material prospects. 

His Student Years. 

On the boyhood of Diego we lack the usual anecdotes of the Vasari type. 
We are told, however, that he was brought up by his parents on the " milk 
of the fear of the Lord," and that he attended the grammar school, where he 
made no little progress in languages and ** philosophy." To. judge from his 
subsequent success at Court, he not only learnt Latin early in life, but also all 
the accomplishments of a cavalier. '* But although he betrayed a decided 
talent for every branch of knowledge, he showed these qualities in a far higher 
degree for painting. His copy-books he turned into sketch-books " {borra- 
dores). Here one expects to hear of his father's opposition, of his contempt 
for painting as unbecoming to a gentleman of birth and so forth. But Juan 
de Silva was more liberal-minded than Messer Lodovico, Buonarroti's 
father. Dame Fortune, which ever smoothed his path through life, also 
spared him this trouble. " His quick intelligence gave his parents a lofty 
idea of his gifts." Hence they felt that the lad might make his way in this 
career ; they could not bring themselves to oppose him, and so " let him 
follow his bent." From that moment he gave up his other studies. 

This early bent may have been awakened by the paintings which he beheld 
in the churches as soon as he had eyes to see. But which of these works 
first attracted the bright brown eyes of the handsome curly-haired youth ? 
Was he captivated by the quaint charm of those gold-glittering productions 
of the school of Sanchez de Castro, full of strange and lovely features and 
curious dresses ? Was he first awestruck by the marvel of long departed 
men surviving in the mirror of painting in the Mariscal Chapel ? Or did 
he detect the power of chiaroscuro in Roelas' works ? Who shall now say ? 

The question of finding the best teacher was easily solved. People 
whose authority was consulted in such matters pointed to Francisco Herrera, 
who at that time, in the middle of his thirties, was displaying the full 

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62 Velazquez. 

vigour of his creative power. But this rough and vehement spirit soon scared 
the finely-tempered Diego, who was now entrusted to Pacheco. With him he 
studied fully five years and then in i6i8 became his son-in-law. Assuming 
that he had remained with Herrera a twelvemonth, he would have entered 
his academy in his thirteenth year (1612) 

Despite this early age and the shortness of his apprenticeship it has been 
somewhat generally assumed since the time of Cean that he was indebted to 
Herrera for the first impulse to that particular manner in which he stands alone 
in the annals of modern painting. Thus Ford writes : " The principles of his 
[Herrera's] method are to be traced in all the works of his pupil, improved 
indeed by a higher quality of touch and intention " (Penny Cyclopcedia), 

But plausible as this may be it is open to some objections. The likeness 
between both manners is of a very general and vague character. The 
freedom of hand was a trait of the times, and long before Herrera it had 
delighted the Castilians in the works of El Greco. During his first decade 
little is to be seen of this '' freedom of the brush," which was in fact 
gradually developed in Madrid, and strictly speaking in the second half of 
his career, under special conditions. At first we find a hard modelling and a 
drawing closely adhering to the model, the very reverse of the free contours 
of Herrera's figures dashed on to the canvas in his impetuous way. Dido's 
first works give the impression of a cool, deliberate nature altogether directed 
towards seizing the outward phenomena in their broad relations and special 
niceties. How could such a thoughtful student be assisted by the riotous 
" Michael Angelo of Seville," who was still producing nothing but nameless 
beings of undefined character after his prototype, giants dwelling in the 
clouds and suffused with cloud-lights ? Here an observer of Nature ran 
against a visionary, and it was in any case fortunate that he was repelled by 
Herrera. To us Herrera seems at most to have helped him by the example 
of his genre pieces, in which Diego saw tendencies more in accordance with 
his own natural bent. 

But were the greater artist always the better teacher here might be 
applied the figurative expression : " From horse to ass." * He had been thrown 
by the fiery Andalusian steed ; but mounted on his sure-footed roan he now 
jogged quietly along the weary road to mastery. Even Lope in his Laurel 
of Apollo makes Pacheco the lesser light : 

Y adonde Herrera es sol, Pacheco estrella. 

Probably no more diversely constituted men were ever thrown together 
than these two Franciscos. One was a born painter, the other a highly 
^Answering to the English expression : " From bad to worse." 

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His Student Years. 63 

cultured man of many parts, but so little a painter that he prided himself 
much more on the orthodoxy than on the artistic worth of his productions. 
With Herrera all was spontaneous, while Pacheco never took a single step with- 
out reference to chapter and verse. Whoever passes from the life-breathing 
canvases of the pupil to the father-in-law's wooden saints in the Prado 
Museum will surely exclaim with Richard Ford that Pacheco can have had 
no influence of any kind on Velazquez' style {Penny Cyciopcedid), 

At that time he was still elated at the laudatory notices of his just 
completed Day of Judgment (16 14). Then he undertook the St Sebastian, 
and one wonders what the young Diego thought to himself as the work 
progressed. Why had not the worthy man kept to the miniature painting of 
contemporary celebrities, which lay within his depth, instead of launching his 
frail bark on the high seas ? Later, when reproached with imparting so little 
charm and beauty to more serious subjects, in which he might rival Raphael, 
Pacheco is said to have replied that he preferred to be the first in that coarse 
manner than second in the more delicate style {Palomino), 

Did Diego then learn nothing from Pacheco except how not to do it? 
How could he in fact remain at all five years in that '* golden prison of Art,'» 
as Palomino calls the father-in-law's academy ? Was he serving only for his 
Rachel ? 

Even at that time there were many in Seville who held that nothing 
could come of this Pacheco. We need but recall the cruel lampoon on his 
Crucifixion in which the faithful are told that " not love but Pacheco had so 
sadly crucified the Saviour." 

Quien os puso asi, Seftor, 
Tan desabrido, y tan seco ? 
Vos me direis, que el amor, 
Mas yo digo, que Pacheco. 

Herrera, who in his old age again met in Madrid the artist, now Court 
painter, whom he had once driven from his studio, appears to have expressed 
himself to the effect that he was entitled to the merit of his pupil's education. 
At least a protest by Pacheco (i., 134) may be so interpreted. But in 
deciding this point Pacheco's works have less to be considered than his 
method of teaching. Fortunately on this method his book gives us the 
most ample details from the general principles down to the technique of 
every pigment. 

As a teacher at all events Pacheco was no pedant. The less he was 
himself a creative master and stylist, the less the danger of his imposing any 
uniform system on his pupils. He was certainly a petty dealer in archaeo- 
logical wares, but otherwise a large-minded person. One scarcely believes 

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64 Velazquez. 

one's eyes on reading at the conclusion of his laboriously composed method : 
*' But all that is here said and that might still be said and proved, by no 
means claims to tie down to these laws and ways those striving to reach the 
summit of the Art. There may still be other methods, possibly easier and 
better. We write only what we ourselves have practised and found recorded 
in writers, without wishing to impose burdens and yokes on good heads." 
Thus Pacheco was a teacher such as a richly gifted pupil might well wish 
to find. 

Here also Diego had the advantage of a severe training, like the great 
Italians of the cinquecento ; for *' Drawing is the life and soul of painting ; 
drawing, especially outline, is the hardest ; nay, the Art has strictly speaking 
no other difficulty. Here are needed courage and steadfastness ; here giants 
themselves have a lifelong struggle, in which they can never for a moment 
lay aside their arms." Without drawing, painting is nothing but a vulgar 
craft; those who neglect it are bastards of the Art, mere daubers and blotchers 
(cmpastadores y ntanchantes). 

The painter must aim at perfection in all details. In the works of the 
masters we see " much draughtsmanship, much consideration and tact, much 
depth, knowledge and anatomy, much purpose and truth in the muscles, much 
discrimination in the different kinds of cloths and silks, much finish in the parts, 
in drawing and colour, much beauty and diversity in the features, much Art in 
foreshortening and perspective, much ingenuity in adapting the light effects to 
the place; in short, much care and diligence in discovering and disclosing those 
points that are most difficult to be mastered." 

Here we see how his unimaginative nature leads him also to some quite 
realistic maxims. " I adhere in all things to Nature, and if I could have her 
uninterruptedly before my eyes for each detail it would be all the better." 
Accordingly he departed from the usual Sevillan method, which recommended 
the draperies to be painted from the lay-figure, and the figures themselves 
from small plastic models. After settling the rough sketch he made studies 
in oil from selected models for all the heads, taking the costumes always from 
life, the extremities from chalk drawings with heightened lights. But he 
prepared the picture broadly, without using nets, in order not to sacrifice 
the freedom of touch. 

In the colouring the most important element is the relief The picture 
should stand out from its frame, lifelike from a near or far view, and should 
seem to move. Its vigour and contour exercise such a powerful effect on the " 
eye that it may compensate for the lack of such important features as beauty 
(of proportions) and charm of colouring. Hence he goes so far as to pro- 
nounce it, with Alberti and Leonardo, the most essential part of the Art (ii., 9). 

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His Student Years. 65 

Nor was he an Eclectic, for at the conclusion of the elementary course he 
recommends students wishing to prepare themselves by copying great models 
*' always to select the style suited to our disposition and bent, in preference 
that of some one master." 

In these words are laid down principles to which in fact practical appli- 
cation was given by Velazquez, who here conformed not to the works but to 
the precepts of his teacher. Some of these precepts apply as nicely to his 
compositions as if he had himself written them. 

Pacheco's remarks on portraiture are specially noteworthy in this 
connection. The portraitist, like the poet, *' is born." The first and most 
indispensable quality of a portrait is undoubtedly resemblance, a quality, 
however, which is artistically of slight worth, and which lies within the reach 
of the amateur. Defects should not be disguised, though at the same time 
we need not imitate those who seem to have a sort of craze for accentuating 
conspicuous deformities. A good portrait painter should be something more, 
for those who cultivate this branch exclusively are as a rule satisfied with a 
vague, general impression, neglecting characteristic details, so that their works 
have all a family likeness. We should make it a point of honour to study the 
good style in colour, vigour, and relief; then will the portrait afford enjoy- 
ment even to those unacquainted with the original ; in it are perpetuated both 
the painter and his subject, for it tells us what manner of men both were. 

From all this it would seem that Thor6 was right when he thought 
that Velazquez had to thank Pacheco for the delicacy and accuracy of his 
drawing. The prevalent misapprehension regarding this relation of teacher 
and pupil appears due to a common prejudice. Critics partly occupied in 
sifting the golden grains of true Art from the sandy deposits of the times, so 
educate the eye for the genial and masterly that they acquire a corresponding 
contempt for the qualities less commendable for gallery paintings. They 
fancy the rising artist must also be educated by similar genial teachers. But 
history proves the contrary. What little success had the great masters with 
many of their pupils, and what excellent results were often secured by slow, 
methodic, and mechanical guides I The Spanish school can show several 
instances, such as Luis Fernandez, teacher of Herrera and Pacheco ; yet no 
work of his was known to Cean, while Palomino does not even mention him 
in his lives of the painters. 

Pedro ofeylas Cuevas also (1568 — 1635), of whom nobody ever saw a 
single paintings nevertheless educated a large number of the most distin- 
guished members of the Madrid school, while Murillo, Cano and Moya had 
for teacher the feeble Juan del Castillo. But how strikingly analogous the 
case of Rubens, who soon left the rough but intellectual Van Noort, although 


Digitized by 


66 Velazquez. 

undoubtedly a kindred spirit, and attached himself permanently and inti- 
mately to Otto van Veen, a scholar, poet, allegorist and gentleman, but one 
apparently not likely to win artistic sympathy ! 

Of all the early painters in Spain assuredly none were more akin to the 
future Velazquez than El Greco. Pacheco, who had visited him in i6ii, 
recognized the genius of the man despite his horror of those savage scrawds 
{crueles borrones). El Greco's assertion that Michael Angelo was a good man 
but could not paint no doubt gave the young Velazquez food for reflection. 
El Greco was in his time as popular a portraitist in Toledo as was Velazquez 
himself afterwards at the Court. Nothing, however, has hitherto been found 
that might throw any light on the opinion the younger had of the elder artist. 

The case is different with El Greco's pupil Luis Tristan, regarding whom 
Palomino has an apparently well-founded tradition. After speaking about 
inspirations derived from Italian paintings he continues : " But his [Velazquez'] 
eye had most sympathy for the works of Tristan, whose tendency harmonized 
with his own nature both in the singularity of the ideas and the vividness of his 
inventions. On this ground he proclaimed himself his imitator and abandoned 
the Art of his teacher. In any case he had early enough perceived that, how- 
ever learned it might be, such lukewarm painting and drawing did not suit him, 
being opposed to his lofty nature enamoured of greatness" (Museo iii., 323). 

It is amusing to read the comments on this passage by the writers, to 
whom with one exception Tristan was absolutely unknown. Some, like 
Cumberland, Viardot, Adolphe Siret and Madrazo, shrewdly dismiss him 
with a courteous bow. " Velazquez' praise, the honour of having been his 
model, suffice to ensure him a lasting name." Others, who required to go 
somewhat deeper into the matter, evolved an a priori Tristan based on that 
passage. What manner of man was this Tristan who could so please 
Velazquez ? Let us see ! He was a pupil of El Greco, the Venetian run 
wild : so we may assume that he was a sort of tame or refined El Greco. 
This artist, says Thor^, ''introduced the technique of the Venetian school 
into Spain, and Tristan was in a measure the link between him and 
Velazquez," as shown by the [reputed] portrait in the Prado, " which 
continues El Greco and anticipates Velazquez." In the small sketch of 
St. Jerome with the open red ground he sees " the free touch and bright 
grading of colours," which Velazquez borrowed from him. 

Even Stirling-Maxwell, who saw Tristan's chief work, scarcely describes 
his Art quite correctly, when he says that, although not to be compared with 
El Greco in originality of invention, still he was a better colourist ; but Greco's 
first good productions embody the full Venetian tradition, of which not a trace 
survives in Tristan. Again he states that of his splendid colouring Velazquez 

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His Student Years. 67 

learnt to transfer a few brilliant tints to his palette, whereas no painter 
especially at first, was more averse from brilliant colours than Velazquez. 
Lastly, this writer calls Tristan's types vulgar, his Madonnas even coarse; 
but let anyone compare his delicate, graceful, earnest, lovely Madonna in the 
Adoration of the Magi in Sta. Clara with the homely housewife in Velazquez' 
work treating the same subject now in the Prado. 

Not till his return from Italy (163 1) do Velazquez' paintings gradually 
acquire the free touch, in which a resemblance may be detected to El Greco. 
But till then he had followed the system of the naturalists. The young 
artist, who in common with his contemporaries had a bent for chiaroscuro, 
probably discovered in Tristan the only fellow-countryman who was culti- 
vating this manner. And if on his way to Madrid he visited Toledo and 
its chapter-house we may also readily understand his partiality for Tristan. 
But even then he had already developed his first style. 

From this instance we may also see how Spanish painting had at that 
time independently come upon the track of the Italian naturalists. What in 
Italy itself had been nothing more than a brief, stormy episode conducted by 
adventurers, and followed by an equally transient interlude in other countries, 
became in Andalusia a " golden age," which gave to Spain her best painters. 
But, it may be asked, was this Spanish naturalism called into being by the 
impulse from Italy ? Pacheco seems to imply as much, calling Ribera the 
artist "who at present stands supreme in the treatment of colour" (ii., 84). 
He several times refers to Caravaggio, that valiente imitador del natural^ and 
in one place couples him with his son-in-law. When recommending constant 
adherence to Nature in all things, he adds : " Thus did Miguel Angel 
Caravacho, and with what success is seen in his Crucifixion of St. Peter, 
although it is a copy ; thus did Jusepe de Ribera, for his figures and heads 
by the side of all the Duke of Alcaic's great paintings seem lifelike 
and the rest painted, although they have for neighbour Guido of Bologna. 
And my son-in-law, who is going the same way, also stands apart from 
others, because he has Nature always before his eyes" (ii., 15). 

Of any originals of Caravaggio at that time in Andalusia nothing is 
otherwise known. The Duke of Osuna, who drew Ribera from his obscurity, 
had after his return from Naples (1620) brought that artist's works to his 
family seat, and to the local collegiate church containing the family vaults. 
Here they are still to be seen, the chief work being a Crucifixion. But 
Velazquez' Epiphany already painted in this style bears the date 1 6 19, and 
Ribera seems to have first become known in Seville through the works 
brought thither by Osuna's successor Alcaic in 163 1. Consequently the 
stimulus to the new style cannot have come from Ribera. 

Digitized by 


68 Velazquez. 

National Types. 

On the young painter's first independent essays a few particulars 
are contained in Pacheco's work. Regarding his former pupil, now a 
distinguished Court painter, this cautious writer would doubtless have 
sent nothing to the press that had not come directly from his heart. His 
remarks have reference to the bodegones^thai is, kitchen and other familiar 
scenes of homely life. 

Towards the end of the previous century these subjects had become 
popular in Seville, a circumstance apparently not altogether due to the 
growing luxury of the times. They comprised scenes from the tavern and 
the kitchen, street figures with the element of still life strongly accentuated, 
kitchen utensils, table-ware, dead birds and fish. The reviving impulse to 
grapple with realistic themes more closely led painters to the study of this 
" Nature," which lay most conveniently at hand, and from such studies 
arose this class of works, or ** pieces " as they are called. Fifty years 
previously the Dutch had through the same tendency developed their 
kitchen-pieces, in which Pieter Aertsen was according to Van Mander a master 
in mixing his colours. The portraitist Michael van Mierevelt would also 
appear to have begun with such studies. The pleasure taken in observing 
the ways of the lower classes is illustrated by the minute descriptions 
in the popular romances, often degenerating to romances of the " Newgate 
Calendar" type. Their simultaneous appearance was assuredly no mere 

Excluding the Lazarillo de Tormes, a small fore-runner by Mendoza (iSS3), 
the first and best work of this kind, the Guzman de Alfarache by the 
' Sevillan Mateo Aleman, had appeared the very year our artist was bom. 
This was followed in 1 605 by Perez de Leon's Picara Justina, Vicente 
Espinel's Marcos de Obregon (1615) and many others. Anyone wishing to 
portray the adventures of the immortal knight of La Mancha would have 
found a model in these bodegones. 

The Dutch cabinet painters of the seventeenth century were virtuosi, 
who catered for a wealthy public of loose morals and refined taste. The 
comic element in their works rests partly on the contrast of the subject 
with the profound but cleverly disguised Art. But in those early Spanish 
pieces what at once arrests attention is their bare unadorned truth. Not a 
trace is to be seen of majolica dishes with their metallic sheen, silver ware or 
Art cabinets, and they are altogether much more akin to the earlier Dutch 
works of Brueghel, Beukelaer or Aertsen, in which social life appears coarser 
and less attractive, but more direct and varied than in the later school. 

Digitized by 


The Water-Car rier. 69 

The aged Herrera had taught his sons these bodegoncillos. One of them, 
El Rubio, also, drew little figures in the style of Callot, while Francisco, who 
later became famous as a religious painter, distinguished himself even in 
Rome by his fish pieces, and was there known as Lo Spagnuolo delle Pesce 
{" The Fish Spaniard "). The old-fashioned looked askance at this plebeian 
Art, and were already confounding the fish-market painters by the quota- 
tion about the Greek Pyreikos sumamed the Rhyparographer. For at that 
time the learned Spanish dilettanti were often more familiar with the annals of 
Greek Art than their own, as shown by Guevara's treatise. So also thought 
Pacheco himself; only remembering his beloved Diego he added by way of 
mitigation : " Are we then to hold these bodegones as of no account ? No ; 
they are certainly to be valued, that is, when painted as Velazquez paints 
them, for in this branch he has attained such an eminence that he has left 
room for no rival. They deserve high esteem ; for wit h these elements and 
with portraiture he discovered the true imitation of Nature, and encouraged 
many by his powerful example. . . . The figures must be ably drawn and 
painted, and must appear as lifelike as inanimate Nature ; then they will 
reflect the highest honour on their authors." 

" He kept a peasant lad as an apprentice, who for payment served him as 
a model in various attitudes and postures, weeping, laughing, in all imagin- 
able difficult parts. After this model he drew many heads in charcoal and 
chalk on blue paper, and made similar studies after many other natives 
{naturales)y thereby acquiring his sure hand in hitting off likenesses." 

The chief work of this class, the one that first became famous and 
included in his masterpieces, was 

The Water^Carrier of Seville. 
(42 X 3ii inches.) 

This work he took with him to the Court, and when the Palace of Buen 
Retiro was being fitted up, it was selected to adorn one of the apartments. 
Later it passed to the new Bourbon Palace where it was seen in 1755 in 
the ''Serenade Hall" by the Italian Caimo together with many other works 
of the master.^ But at that time this was the most esteemed, and its artistic 
and biographic importance is also dwelt on by Mengs,- who remarks that here 
may be seen "how Velazquez at first submitted to the imitation of Nature, 
finishing all the parts and giving them that vigour that he seemed to observe 
in Nature itself, studying the essential difference between the lights and 

* Letterediun Vago Italiano, i., 152. Pittburgo. 

* Letter a a d. A, Ponz.^ 51. 

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yo Velazquez. 

shades." This judgment of the " greatest painter of the century " increased 
the reputation of the work, which was then engraved by Bias Amettler. Later 
it was carried oflF by King Joseph Bonaparte in his flight from Madrid 
together with the Bourbon jewels and Correggio's Gethsemane ; but after the 
rout of Vittoria both were presented by Ferdinand VII. to the Duke of 
Wellington and are now in Apsley House. 


The chief figure, a '* Corsican," was certainly well known in Seville, and 
the young artist who soon detected his value as a model, may have induced 
him to act as such " for a consideration." 

After the malarious Laguna had in 1574 been transformed to the Alameda 
of Hercules by Don Francisco Zapata, it became the resort of the nocturnal 
promenaders in coach and on foot, and on feast-days was enlivened with 
minstrelsy. The watering of the dusty ground in summer was entrusted 
to the guild of aguadores under the control of a special alguazil (constable). 

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The Water-Carrier. 71 

They were mostly Frenchmen attracted by the colonial trade to Seville, 
and amongst- them was our Corsican. In return for their services they 
enjoyed the privilege of supplying the houses throughout the year with the 
excellent water brought in pipes from the ''Archbishop's Well," and 
conveyed round in large stone jars on pack- asses. 

The impression produced by the picture is heightened by the somewhat 
patriarchal Oriental association of the precious spring water in the thirsty land 
of Andalusia with its sultry African summers. Our Corsican, some fifty 
years of age, stands before a low table, his left hand resting on a large 
earthen jar with stopper attached to a string. With his right he holds by 
its foot the elegant chalice-shaped tumbler of clear water, which a hand- 
some lad of fair complexion stooping sideways over the table takes by 
the stem, altogether a charming motive. Between both is seen in the 
shade a drinker of like age but black-haired, his face half buried in an 
earthen mug. 

Ovr water-vendor is a stout, soldierly figure with full chest and erect 
carriage, to which full effect is given by the side view. His coarse brown 
doublet hangs without folds in almost conic shape, the wide sleeve pulled 
back and displaying the clean shirt-sleeve beneath. Despite the accumulated 
fat on cheek and neck, the leather-coloured face is somewhat hard and rigid, 
with high brow marked by prominent bumps, small deep set, narrow slit eye, 
almost straight broad-ridged pointed nose, contracted mouth, and wedge- 
shaped beard. Such is the profile. 

The stiff bronze profile, sharply lit up by the light falling from the left, 
presents a striking contrast to the buoyant figure, noble but still soft features 
of the handsome youth with their accidental and reflex lights, and the 
charm of the foreshortened sideward bend. 

This first thoroughly original work is still executed altogether according to 
the system of presenting the figures in the light from a dark background. 
There is no scenery, and the whole gives the effect of a tenebroso^ although 
the shades and gloomy parts have become somewhat deadened owing to the 
practice of priming with ochre still prevalent during this first period. All is 
toned down by a thick varnish. In the light the treatment is pure and very 
solid, and the touches of the full brush in the Corsican's face plastic as with 
Spagnoletto. This weather-beaten brown face is of a leathery tone without 
any variety of colour. Our artist's broad sure handling with fewest possible 
modelling touches is here already fully developed. 

Although the details are so scanty and rendered little attractive through 
the lack of colour and worthlessness of the material, the picture nevertheless 
pleases by its absolute truth of form, texture and tone. This is seen, for 

Digitized by 


72 Velazquez. 

instance, in the tattered doublet, or smock, looking as if it had stood his friend 
in fair weather and foul half his life long ; in the wooden table, the yellow jar 
with its circular lines as it left the potter's wheel, and the soft grooves pro- 
bably for fastening some ring ; lastly the sparkling crystal glass. Nothing 
is pictorially superfluous. Thus the vast rotundity of the jar serves to throw 
off the figures, the tumbler and shirt-sleeve to collect and reflect the light 
before the dark surface. 

How highly prized were these bambochadas, even when they were little 
more than studies is evident from the minute description which Palomino 
thought them worthy of.^ 

" Two poor persons eating at a scanty board, on which are sundry earthen 
vessels, oranges, bread, etc. ; all treated with remarkable care." This, probably 
the other picture in Apsiey House, seems to be a study of foreshortened faces. 
In a dark rocky cave is seated a young man in vanishing profile, applying to 
his mouth a brown bowl, which perhaps contains a little chocolate ; his 
companion, his head resting on his arm, seems dosing over the table, 
taking a siesta after the meal and the wash-up of plates and dishes. A jug 
with an orange on top, an overturned mortar, a plate, three saucers on an 
upset dish, a green flask with straw covering — altogether an unattractive 
scene broadly treated in an earthy, inky tone. 

*' A poorly-clad youth, counting money and totting up with his fingers ; 
behind him a dog sniffing diverse fishes on the table ; close by a lettuce and an 
upset kettle ;'to the left a stall with two stands, on one of which herrings and 
bread on a white cloth ; on the other two white plates and a green glazed oil 
cruise." This must have been a piece of some merit, for it was signed ; but 
at that time already in a very bad condition. 

In the collection of the violinist, Mauro Dalay, who had gone to Spain 
with Elizabeth Farnese, and had returned to Parma in 173 1, there was a piece 
with two facchine on a table — cost at that time thirty doubloons. Maria 
Louisa presented Goya with the "Youth at Supper/' which was afterwards 
sold for 2,930 francs with the collection of the engraver, V. Peleguer, at the 
H6tel Drouot in 1867. 

The Old Woman and Omelet, 

(39 X 46 inches). 

This kitchen piece, of same period and manjier as the Water-Carrier, has 
lately passed from Sir J. C. Robinson's collection to Francis Cook Esq. of 
Richmond Hill. Perhaps this is the third mentioned by Palomino, allowing 

* See his Museo Pictdrico, iii., 322. 

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The Woman and Omelet. 75 

for an inaccuracy in his description. The master's hand is unmistakable in 
its complete agreement with the Water-Carrie r. 

The picture gives us a clear insight into the young artist's sentiment^ 
method and capacity. Probably never before had a Spaniard stooped to such 
an unpromising subject. The narrow smoke-begrimed kitchen, the modest 
" fixings " of an Andalusian peasant's household, the few products of Nature 
needed by the frugal southerner, a very old peasant woman, and a repulsive 
kitchen lad, make up a picture more like the meagre than the fat scenes of 
this class by old Peter Brueghel. 

The woman stands in profile before the red pan on the fire, in which 
two eggs are spluttering ; she holds a third in her left and a ladle in her right 
hand, as she listens with open mouth to the lad, who is probably reporting 
on his purchases. The chief figure is one familiar enough to guests in 
Spanish inns — one of those fussy, grumbling old dames, who at heart are 
kindness itself, taking to the stranger with almost motherly devotion, but 
sneering at his unintelligible Spanish, and bemoaning his wandering ways. 
She has sunken eyes with worn expression, short crooked nose under the 
open brow, long upper lip, complexion all the browner by contrast with the 
white toca. The lad on the other hand has an African type — low brow 
projecting from below, high cheek-bones, flat nose, protruding mouth, 
retreating chin, not showing to more advantage in the light from above. 
But he is withal a steady, smart young fellow, his hair cut straight and 
combed over his forehead, his hands coppery but well shaped. 

The inventor}' of his kitchen, presented in a subdued white daylight, was 
to the painter quite as important as his figures. The empty brass mortar 
and pestle on the table, the yellowy shining copper utensils, a plate of 
onions, capsicums and knife, the red wine, the brown oil-can with its green 
glazed coating, the white enamelled pan with blue flowers, the scales, the 
little basket on the wall, the melon, etc., are all reproduced with the con- 
scientiousness of a genre painter. With all its prosaic minute accuracy 
the treatment is by no means trivial, a firm full brush giving contours and 
surface with a few strokes. Nothing has been foisted in by the artist ; there 
are no studied light effects, for which the fire might have offered a rare 
chance ; nothing of refined vulgarity and unseemliness, no professional 
modelling or picturesque costumes, or. figures smacking of the studio; no 
condescension ; nothing but downright honesty. It is a realistic piece, but 
radiant with a halo of impressions and memories of land and people. 

In the same collection is another piece, the Mendicant and Globe, 
attributed, wrongly however, to our artist. An old toper, laughing with the 
observer, places his four-handled wine-jug on a large crystal globe, emblem 

Digitized by 


74 Velazquez. 

of his philosophy as reflected in the poetry of Hafis. The globe mirrors a 
scene in the manner of Teniers — a pretty landscape with high vaulted sky, 
distant horizon and woodland, in front a straw-thatched tavern with a jovial 
party at the table outside. This work shows in all its details how Velazquez 
did not paint. The feeble manner of applying a light, thin short touch on 
a dull brown ground points to the period of Dutch decadence, with which 
the dress of the cavaliers standing on one side also corresponds. 

It so happens that this may be compared with the Spanish manner of 
treating such a subject. The Rouen Gallery has a painting there assigned to 
our master, but regarding which critics, usually so liberal towards apocryphal 
works, now apparently go out of their way to be hypersceptical. The face 
however has certainly been sadly daubed, seemingly to conceal a rent across 
the cheek. A gaunt figure of pronounced Spanish type, half-length, stands 
to the right, but fronting the spectator with scoffing laugh, and left arm 
planted insolently by his side. On the table in front stands a globe 
supported by four little props disposed in a circle, and two books close 
by. To this globe the right hand points carelessly from above with out- 
stretched index-finger, an extremely expressive gesture, even indicating 
a coarse Spanish expression of contempt. Here we have therefore a cynic, 
whose philosophy however is belied by his costly costume and carefully 
dressed hair. 

The head corresponds with the attitude. Small piercing black eyes 
under bushy eyebrows, narrow receding forehead, very prominent Roman 
nose, full mouth, showing two rows of white teeth, black hair neatly curled 
in the fashion of the period, thick upturned moustache, altogether the gaunt 
face of a MOnchhausen. He wears a wide lace collar, and on his right arm a 
yellow cloak, folded and modelled with great care. This combined with the 
thin impasto^ the deepened shades and preserved carnations (the hands), but 
above all the frankness of contour, attitude and modelling, agree with the 

A corresponding piece, which however is not free from doubt, and only 
partly completed, is- the work which passed from the Earl of Clare's sale for 
£l^ 14s. to Sir J. C. Robinson, and from him to Mr. Salting (29 x 23 inches). 
A lovely child about three years old, in a striped frock, perhaps his own 
daughter, is seated behind a table before a silver dish with grapes, one 
of which she holds to her mouth. The little epicure is gazing in the 
distance as if trying its flavour. Behind to the right is a man looking 
forward, again with a side and somewhat foreshortened bend of the face, and 
the glance of a true guardian. His nearly finished head, a blend of grey, 
white and red, belongs to that type of bushy eyebrows and depressed nose. 

Digitized by 


Religious Subjects. 75 

The child's head is lightly sketched on the brown ground with broad 
white touches and rich shading, almost like a work in sepia ; besides a little 
green, the warm flesh-tones are represented only by a trace of red on lips 
and nose; the string of the little cap passes over her fair locks. One 
hand only is visible in broad brown contour, the other apparently holding 
some toy. The table-cloth is only half suggested by a white horizontal- 

Similarly treated is the study of a female head with firmly closed eyes, 
apparently blind from birth, a gift from Don Francisco de Asis to the 
Raczynski collection. The nobly shaped head is sunk on the breast, with 
high eye-brows, straight nose, narrow upper lip, dark brown thick locks falling 
obliquely over the forehead. This study is excellently modelled, with more 
colour tones than the pieces hitherto noticed, A similar head has been 
recognized by some amongst the figures to the left in the View of Zaragoza 
(17X 12 inches). 

Religious Subjects. 

The annals of Seville at the beginning of the seventeenth century supply 
eloquent contributions to the history of the downfall of Spain. If it persisted 
in the course it was then pursuing it seemed as if the city must be reduced to 
a Theban wilderness before the close of the same century. Under the feeble 
Philip III. {el tercero santo) and his favourite, Lerma, the monastic establish- 
ments increased in number and magnitude more than ever before or since ; 
for Christians living in the world their very cities became too narrow. The 
first twelve years of the century saw the foundation of no less than nine new 
monasteries. They took place as a rule after long and obstinate resistance on 
the part of the municipality, as well as of the archbishop and chapter, who 
always raised *' mountains of difficulties." But from monkish tenacity of 
purpose and pious widows' gold there is no redemption. 

Artists, however, might well resign themselves to this state of affairs. 
Even the young Diego began his independent activity as a Church painter 
forthwith entrusted with honourable commissions. His first works we may 
presume arose under the patronage of Pacheco, who doubtless saw in them the 
opening of a career destined to revive the glories of a Luis de Vargas. At 
that time the young man must himself have taken some such view of his*future. 
Pacheco's good connections at once smoothed his way to one of the most 
influential cloisters, and here his firstlings were associated with a cult which 
in Seville had just received an extraordinary development. 

On September 8, 161 3, the Nativity of Mary, a Dominican friar had de- 
fended the opinion of his Order on the Immaculate Conception, and the irritation 

Digitized by 


76 Velazquez. 

thus caused had stirred up a popular movement, which was eagerly seized 
upon by the clergy. Archbishop de Castro ordered a procession in testi- 
mony of this doctrine; all parish churches, convents, brotherhoods, even 
the mulattoes and negroes organized festivities kept up for weeks together. 
It was resolved to send an embassy to the king imploring him to urge the 
definition of the dogma by the Holy See. The envoys were the Canon D. 
Mateo Vazquez de Leca and Bernardo de Toro, the latter of whom had set to 
music the lines composed by Miguel Cid, and this quartet was daily sung in 
the streets by high and low.* Anyhow the mission really procured a Brief 
from Paul V. (August 21, 161 7), which at least went so far as to interdict 
the open advocacy of the less pious belief. 

It was about this time that, acting on the precedent of his teacher, our 
artist resolved to lay the tribute of his brush at the feet of the Purisima. 
The Calceate friars (Carmelites) occupied one of the stateliest foundations in 
the city, which during the War of Independence was plundered, and is now a 
barrack. From the great cloisters paved with flags of Genoese marble and 
rich encaustic tiles a broad marble staircase led up to the chapter-house, for 
which were ordered two companion pieces : John -the Evangelist in Patmos, 
to whom appears the Woman on the Crescent pursued by the Dragon ; and the 
Woman herself chosen as the emblem of that mystery. During the destruc- 
tive riots both pieces (54 x 40 inches), which are first mentioned by Cean 
Bermudez, were rescued by Canon Lopez Cepero, and eventually (1809) 
entrusted. to the English ambassador, Sir Bartle Frere, in whose family they 
still are. 

Now this was a theme which could be treated only with strict adherence 
to tradition, else even a superior work of Art might expect to meet with more 
opposition than approval. For poetic invention there was no scope ; for 
pictorial the time had not yet come. Hence a beginner who had made his 
first essays with scenes of low life, and at whose side stood a censor like 
his father-in-law, must here have felt himself not a little embarrassed. 
The subject had moreover been already handled by the first artists in 
some famous paintings. 

The Immaculate Conception was at that time figured only in the symbolic 
way. The historic representation of the middle ages, the meeting of the 
parents at the Golden Gate, or the preceding angelic annunciations no longer 
corresponded to the spirit of the times. For these was substituted that Vision 

^ Todo el mundo en general 
^ voces, Reina escogida, 
diga que sois concebida 
sin pecado original. 

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Religious Subjects. ^^ 

of the Apocalypse — a figure hovering in the clouds, the embodiment of virgin 
purity with allegorical interpretations of its theological significance. In the 
Spanish representations the glance is downcast and earnest, long light hair 
falling over the shoulders, the hands crossed on the breast or else upraised with 
the finger tips touching herself, her head bathed in sunshine, with a crown of 
twelve stars. It was sought to veil the symbols pictorially by distributing 
them in a landscape presenting somewhat the aspect of an English park. 

There was however one point on which the young master ventured to 
stand on his own legs. Amongst the elements indicated by Pacheco (ii., 189) 
one occurred which was not S3rmbolic. " Her personal beauty," he wrote, 
" was a marvel." Such is easily painted in poetry, but not to the eye, which 
is less credulous than the ear. Thus the mystery came within the province 
of the idealists, and in fact those Romanists had contemplated an ideal, 
although scarcely detected in their productions. 

This empty idealism Velazquez found it impossible to adopt. He could 
work only on models, and would have had difficulty in understanding how 
Nature was to be improved upon. He chose a maiden from the people, a 
child probably of poverty, one who may have regarded this occupation as 
a pious work. Only one is unable here to recognize the " sweet girlish face " 
spoken of by Mrs. Jameson, who has fully described the picture. "The 
solemnity and depth of expression in the sweet girlish face is very striking, 
the more so that it is not a beautiful face." * It is really quite a commonplace, 
colourless physiognomy, with low forehead, high cheek-bones, receding chin, 
the downcast glance riveted to the spot on which the artist told her to fix her 
eyes. The black hair alone has been made of a golden colour {color de oro) as 
a concession to precedent, while against precedent the robe is not white, 
but a light violet, badly harmonizing with the blue mantle. He had in fact 
transformed some moza de venta to a Queen of Heaven. 

Similar models, but prettier and more national, were also chosen for his 
pious women by Diego's contemporary Francisco Zurbaran, an artist of 
kindred sentiment. They are comely, somewhat narrow little heads, with 
black eyes, which however tell us nothing except their limited range of 
thought and feeling. 

That such a jejune and empty form, without nobility, grandeur, beauty or 
animation could be produced in those days of fervent Mariolatry was due not 
alone to the painter's youth, or to his lack of capacity for religious Art. Even 
pious enthusiasm alone is unable to breathe a single spark of life into pictorial 
representations, any more than into poetry, as shown by the above-quoted 
wretched quatrain from Miguel Cid. 

^ Legends of the Madonna, p. 49. 

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78 Velazquez. 

The heavenly and earthly background is now quite decayed and effaced, 
owing to the ground colour working through. 

In the second picture also the artist conforms closely to tradition. John 
the Evangelist in connection with this vision had been represented in 
mediaeval art as a venerable old man, as he was still painted by Memlinc, but 
in the sixteenth century as a curly-haired youth. The island of Patraos 
supplied the motive for a rich wooded landscape. This is seen in the 
painting of Martin de Vos, widely known by several copperplates, such as 
that of Jan Sadeler, and engraved also by Italians. As in this plate, John 
in our canvas also is seated to the right at the margin of the picture. His 
left hand lies on the open book, but with the index finger raised in attention ; 
the uplifted right holds a pen. Head and glance are turned back and 
upward to the clouds where is seen the seven-headed dragon, who in pur- 
suit of the sun-clad woman sweeps the stars from the firmament with his 
upcurled tail. 

As in the picture of the Woman, here also Velazquez has chosen a model for 
the chief figure — a young man with the hard sensuous features of the " Dark 
Continent;" low narrow forehead under short-cut black hair, thick eyebrows 
also black, strong jaws, full red lips showing irregular teeth, small dark 
beard. Thus our Sevillan goes even farther than Caravaggio, who at all 
events always chooses well-bred models ; farther than Ribera, whose types are 
at least always of powerful build. To this stripling Diego has given a coarse 
white tunic, and thrown a violet mantle over his shoulders. 

The hand known from the foregoing and the following abundantly 
authenticated works here already reveals its characteristic manner. With 
broad, full brush the outline and modelling, for instance, of the extremities, 
are executed with perfect firmness of touch. It is noteworthy that the 
hitherto employed thin draperies, falling in sharp straight parallel or broken 
lines, are already exchanged for stout fabrics, which fall in broad, heavy 

The Epiphany, 

(2-03 X 1*25 metres.) 

This is the work that in the Prado Gallery first reveals the master 
(No. 1054). It bears the date 1619, but whence it reached the royal 
collection is unknown. Compared with his first productions it is distin- 
guished by great power of colouring and chiaroscuro. The former is pasty 
and of dull, almost sombre tone, dark green and steel blue contrasting wath 
his favourite yellow and orange ; the Virgin's red robe has a crimson tint 

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The Epiphany. 


merging in violet. The shades, undoubtedly due partly to time, are darker 
than any occurring in subsequent works. The types, all portraits, have 
been carefully selected for their several parts. The draperies, especially the 
mantle, are treated in the substantial manner of the Water-Carrier, and 


the page behind the Ethi6pian king has quite the pose and expression of the 
youth in the same work. 

It is conceived as a night scene, the cold yellowish light of early morning 
just dawning on the horizon. On Mary, seated on a somewhat elevated 

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8o Velazc^uez. 

platform to the right, there falls a sharp light, which is strongly reflected by 
the snow-white linen ioca and cape of the Child. The subordinate position 
of the worshippers is emphasized by their position turned from the source of 
light, as shown by the shadows on their faces. 

The Madonna is of a more beautiful type than in that first essay — a full- 
blood pretty peasant- woman of contracted intellect, but still a genuine 
Spaniard, with nobly curved nose and narrow plaited black hair on the 
temples ; but the dark downcast lashes betray none of the charm that Roelas 
still gave to such soft modest eyes ; nor has her glance any trace of a 
mother's joy, and one fancies one has seen such a figure thus seated of 
a morning in the vegetable market of some little provincial town. The 
richly folded thick robe is a winter gown in harmony with the season ; the 
hands are bony, strong enough to guide the plough, and, if needs be, to 
seize the bullock by the horns. With both she holds the Child erect, quite 
an ordinary child in swaddling clothes, in accordance with the injunction of 
Pacheco, who never could endure the sight of the newborn babe exposed 
naked to the winter night. The St. Joseph to the right looking forward with 
an air of curiosity also presents the hard forbidding profile of a peasant. 

Had anyone reproached the artist with these lowly types of his Holy 
Family, he could probably have replied with Michael Angelo that these holy 
persons were poor and lowly. But had anyone maintained his incompetence 
to handle elevated types he might have pointed to the two kneeling kings. 
Here we see at once that he is in his element These are, strictly speaking, 
his earliest authenticated portraits, in their treatment completely correspond- 
ing with the dark man with ruff in the Prado (No. 1103), if he did not 
actually sit for one of the two. Since the time of Campafia no such portraits 
had been seen in Seville. The younger in front, a somewhat stout figure, 
might well represent a dean or archdeacon of the old stock; the old man 
behind the general of some religious order. The Ethiopian also is a prince 
after his kind. As their lineaments are those of genuine hidalgos, their 
devotion also reflects the dignity, the passionless, almost gloomy phlegm of 
the high-born Spaniard. 

The composition is pressed quite forward, probably to secure space for 
such large figures ; even so those to the extreme right and left are inter- 
sected by the frame, which is made to appear too narrow. And as the Madonna 
is made to stand out well in front by the unsoftened glaring light, in the same 
way the king in front looks as if he were intruding into the scene from 
without. In the lithographed copy in the gallery the picture is wider, and 
the side figures continued farther to the right and left. Has the original 
been cut ? 

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The Shepherds. 8i 

The Shepherds, 
(91 X 66 inches.) 

Probably those figures chosen by our young artist to personate St. John and 
the Virgin may not have greatly deh'ghted people long accustomed to associate 
holy persons with elevated form and expression. He may at last have felt 
the need of a guide, who combined similarity of artistic views with a certain 
reputation in the treatment of religious subjects. Such a guide he found in 
Jusepe Ribera, whom, if he did not actually acquire from him his " naturalism," 
he at all events for once at least took as a prototype. This is shown 
by the appearance of types quite peculiar to the Valencian in the Adoration 
of the Shepherds, remarkable as the only work in which Velazquez con- 
descends to imitation. This work, the authenticity of which was formerly 
questioned, was bought for ;6^4,8oo by Baron Taylor from the Conde del 
Aguila, in whose palace it had always been. In 1853 it passed from Louis 
Philippe's Spanish collection to the London National Gallery (No. 253) 
for ;f2,050. 

Mary, seated on the left, uncovers the Child for the shepherds, all eyes, 
Joseph's included, being centred on the crib within a narrow radius. A girl 
with a basket of doves approaches in the twilight from a door, while quite to 
the right a lad plays on the flute. 

Although this was also a night scene, and although the elements were 
suggestive of low models, nevertheless the types are here somewhat more 
refined than in the Adoration of the Kings. The impasto is thinner, 
the colouring richer and brighter, the shades clearer and more coloured, the 
expression more animated, the types of the Holy Family nobler, the compo- 
sition more artistic and better rounded off in the background. To the left 
stands the shaft of a large column with ornamental pedestal. 

The intention of doing something special is also evident from the uniform 
care bestowed on the execution. With no other work has he apparently 
taken so much pains, and it certainly gives a good idea of the many-sided 
thoroughness insisted upon in his father-in-law's studio. Yet there is nothing 
tiresome, nor any hesitation. Sassoferrato himself could not have modelled the 
face and hands of the Madonna in more delicately blended transitions. His 
studies of low life are also evident enough in the bread-basket, the bundle 
of straw, the fowl, the sheepskin, the lamb bound by the legs, all of 
which no one at that time could have so depicted. The trim peasant girl 
with the doves on her head reminds one of Berchem. 

When Stirling-Maxwell suggests that such figures might have been 


Digitized by 


82 Velazquez. 

modelled on the gypsies of the Triana we cannot entirely agree with 
him. This shepherd group is not taken from life, but literally from 
Spagnoletto ; hence Richard Ford called the painting itself a copy of Ribera. 
The noble figure of Joseph wrapped in his brown mantle, with calm downcast 
look, the genial old woman, the youth with the scrofulous mouth (often 
repeated in Ribera's John the Baptist), the fluteplayer with his roguish smile 
(a reminiscence of his early years in Parma), all this is foreign to Seville, but 
was at all times familiar enough to Ribera. 

The Madonna alone is peculiarly his own. Here the intention is most 
evident of raising her high above the surroundings. The features have more 
elevation and fulness than the foregoing, which however may still be preferred 
by many. She is a well-shaped, healthy woman in the bloom of life, with 
larger and fuller oval face, and delicate skin. The smooth, white hands 
with flowing Unes rounded off without wrinkles or knuckles are obviously 
intended to contrast with the awkward, wrinkled red coarse hands of the 
shepherds, the withered yellow one of the old woman, the strong boyish ones 
of the youth. For these hands he had apparently four different models. Byron 
was not the first to recognize in the hands a test of aristocratic blood. 

Yet precisely in the Madonna Velazquez failed to understand his prototype. 

Ribera had very frequently painted the shepherds after the manner of 
Correggio (1630) ; in a very pure and noble style in the Seo picture, Valencia 
(1634); in the Escorial, and again shortly before his death (1650), now 
in the Louvre. Here he introduces us to a rude race of shepherds from 
the neighbouring Abruzzi, broad stalwart sons of Nature in sheepskin 
coats. His Mary belongs to quite another stock, as appears not alone 
in the fine lines of her features. In the very act of exhibiting the Child to the 
shepherds a thought, incomprehensible to them, flashes across her mind, 
transporting her far from the present, as indicated by that still ecstatic 
upward glance of her large dark eyes. The Valencian, constitutionally 
even a more uncompromising realist than the Sevillan, had been warmed 
by the ideal sun of Italy. 

In Velazquez' Madonna we miss this trait. This handsome, stately matron 
still remains the practical carpenter's wife. Accustomed to live absorbed in 
her domestic duties, here also she has no thought beyond the immediate 
present. She carefully wraps the child, as if dreading the cold, the while 
casting a sharp and somewhat embarrassed glance (the comers of the mouth 
contracted) towards the peasants pressing forward with their animals. New- 
born heirs to a throne are thus exhibited to those officially entitled to be 
present. She does not even do it gracefully, as seen in the sharp angle of 
the elbow ! But although a mechanic's wife, she is still superior to these 

Digitized by 


Velazquez* Journeys to Court. 83 

rude catnpagnuoliy in whose presence she cannot give way to her over- 
flowing motherly joy. But on the very night of the Nativity how can she 
uncover the Child without giving him a fond glance ? Correggio felt the 
difficulty. Here the impression of an ordinary visit to a young mother is 
completed by the accurately depicted babe in swathing clothes, anyhow this 
time comfortably tucked in with his pretty but still quite stupid little head 
and lovely gold curls. Surely we here touch the lowest depths of realistic 
crudity in the representation of the Nativity. By the side of this Spanish 
prose the last Academicians, a Mengs or a Rotari, are composers of hymns, 
if somewhat of the phrasemonger order. 

In the presence of youthful productions how often we fail to understand 
that in his first essays an artist is frequently most unlike himself I When 
this Adoration of the Shepherds was in the Louvre, from Madrid came 
the warning voice " that no connoisseur would attribute this work to the 
Master ; it must rather be an early Zurbaran, and not even a good specimen 
of him." ^ 

The painting is now impaired by varnish ; the red parts have become dull 
and flat, as we see in the ox thrust in between Mary and the shepherds. 

What specially interested the painter in these two chief religious pieces 
of his youthful period seems to have been their character as nocturnal 
subjects. The surrounding night and sharply projected shadows might 
suggest some artificial source of light ; but for such the tone of the light is 
too white and cold, the colouring in the shaded parts too thick-laid, while in 
the light it pales. The crowding forward of the figures also, excluding all 
softening of contrast by an atmospheric medium, seems to imply that he 
was concerned only with the plastique, employing the most vigorous 
methods, even at the risk of probability. 

The Two Journeys to the Court. 

After the completion of his five years* apprenticeship with Pacheco 
(161 3-1 8) Diego' had formed even closer relations with his master. 
Pacheco had a daughter, apparently an only one, Juana de Miranda, and 
it occurred to him that the opportunity should not be lost of entrusting her 
future to such a well-conducted young man, so full of promise and weh 
connected. *' After five years of education and training I married him to 
my daughter, induced by his youth, integrity and good qualities and the 
prospects of his great natural genius" (i., 134). The nuptials took place 
on April 23, 1618, in St. Miguel, the same year on the first day of which 

» Correo Nacional,]wxif: 28, 1838. 

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84 Velazquez. 

Murillo was christened in St. Magdalen's Parish Church, Seville. Amongst 
the witnesses occurs the name of the poet and licenciate Francisco de Rioja. 
The issue of this union were two daughters, both born in Seville, Francisca 
christened on May 18, 161 9, and Ignacia on January 19, 1621. Sponsor 
for the latter was Juan Velazquez de Silva. 

Such a connection was scarcely calculated to inspire any thoughts of 
vaulting ambition in the young man now in his nineteenth year, and 
possessed of no independent means. During those early days of domestic 
bliss his dreams of future greatness probably conjured up nothing higher 
than the career of a provincial artist. 

Yet when we consider those extant productions of his first four or five 
years* industry in his native town, it becomes difficult to escape from the 
impression that, however applauded they might be for novelty of style and 
their genuine national stamp, still the question must have pressed itself on 
the young artist, whether the Fates had nothing better in store for him than 
to keep executing such works for the next fifty years or so, works in 
which after all subject and representation scarcely harmonized very well 

Then occurred an event well calculated to suggest new plans for the 
future. All restless and aspiring spirits were excited to the utmost by 
the unexpected death of Philip III. (March 31, 1621), and the sudden change 
of officials and administrative system on the accession of his son Philip IV., 
then in his fifteenth year. All the current and often exaggerated reports of 
advancement and special favours conferred on Court painters from Titian, or 
rather Jan van Eyck, to A. Mor and Sanchez Coello, now acted as a powerful 
inducement to try his fortune in this direction. 

The road to financial and political bankruptcy has rarely been paved with 
so many good intentions as under this new administration. The despatches 
of the envoys all at first echoed the general impression expressed in the 
words of the Mantuan Bonatti : '* Such are the revolutions brought about 
by this death that one may exclaim, Mondo nuovo ! " 

The crown prince, whose quick and early developed intelligence was 
patent to all, had to the last been excluded by the Duke of Uceda from 
the Cabinet, and even in his private life had been subjected to irksome 
control. His pent-up feelings of resentment at the influence of the favourite 
Lerma assumed a very decided form when he had to hear how his dying 
father bitterly reproached himself for his government, or, rather, non-govern- 
ment, and remonstrated with his Confessor for having deceived himself and his 
king. Presently an all-devouring storm of royal indignation burst upOn this 
Lerma and all his following. The young monarch declared that he intended 

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Velazquez' Journeys to Court. 85 

to reign as a sovereign, that he required ministers and servants, not favourites 
and revellers. He insisted on reading all despatches ; he claimed the exclu- 
sive right of election ; he was the fountain of all honours and favours, to be 
conferred on the deserving. His application to business caused amazement ; 
the time of audience he fixed at a much earlier hour, and listened to all 
without distinction and with rare patience. 

Less enthusiasm was excited by his bellicose spirit. He asked — Were 
the Dutch not his subjects? Were they not rebels? Were they not heretics? 
With such there could be no peace ; he would pledge his own plate ; take 
part himself in the campaign. To those reminding him of the political 
wisdom of Philip II. he answered : ** I will have the piety of my father, the 
statesmanship of my grandfather, the warlike spirit of my great-grand- 
father. A junta of censors was instituted for the reform of public morals. 
The Padre Florentia, author of A Treatise on the Administration of State 
Affairs through Favourites, exclaimed in a sermon: "Spain and the world 
are redeemed." 

In Seville especially many may have at that time been filled with hopes. 
The Conde de Olivares, the young king's gentilhombre de cdmara, had 
resided in Seville, where his father had already been alcaide to the alcazar. 
He had made his house a rendezvous of poets and scholars, had even himself 
composed verses, which he now burnt. Amongst those noticed by him was 
our painter's friend, Francisco de Rioja. On his return three years later 
to Andalusia, with the king, Olivares took him to the Court, and since then, 
during his long administration, Rioja had stood by his side a devoted servant 
and his right hand in all weighty and less serious matters, at one time using 
his pen against the Catalonian rebels, at another acting as umpire at a 
poetical competition in Buen Retiro (1637). Later, disenchanted with Court 
and the world, Rioja returned to Seville, *' where the climate is more human and 
brighter." Here entering holy orders he became a cathedral prebendary 
and inquisitor. But for posterity his name recalls only the memory of some of 
the most fluent and mellifluous poems of the times. Amongst them are love 
ditties in Herrera's Italian manner, and an Epistle, in which, with the 
genuine feeling of personal experience, he sadly reflects on the years which 
he "passed in the old resorts of vice, as the augur of a favourite's whims." 
Here he calls Court expectations the "dungeon where ambition dies and the 
hair of the wisest turns grey." 

At that time Rioja was residing near St. Clemente, close to a beautiful 
garden, which was celebrated in verse by Lope when entertained by him in 
162 1. Rioja was himself a kindred spirit and friend of Pacheco's, who has 
preserved in the Art 0/ Painting several of his poems, as well as a Discourse 

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86 Velazquez. 

on the Four Nails, This intimate friend, who had soon followed Velazquez 
to Madrid, may have pronounced the decisive word in the consultation on the 
important step now being taken. 

It may be supposed that the father-in-law, a man so widely connected in 
influential circles, was not sparing with introductions to Sevillans already 
attached to the Court. Amongst those who gave the young artist a friendly 
welcome in Madrid he mentions the brothers Don Luis and Don Melchor del 
Alcazar, of whom little further is known, although belonging to a family which 
produced several celebrities in the sixteenth century. They are not, however 
to be confounded with two of like name, who are often referred to in the Art 
of Painting, and whose biographies are given in the Book of Portraits. 
Melchor del Alcazar, born in 1502, was a distinguished jurist, whose good 
style attracted the attention of Philip II., and his brother was the epigram- 
matist Balthasar. The eldest of Melchor's seven sons was the learned Jesuit 
Luis del Alcazar, who died in 16 1 3. But of the Melchor here in question we 
know nothing beyond the fact that he also was a poet, who died in his 
thirty-seventh year in Madrid (1625). Pacheco has rescued from oblivion 
one of his poems dealing with the anecdote of Zeuxis and the five maidens 
who served as models for his Helen. 

Of great service to Velazquez was the introduction to the influential Sevillan 
Don Juan de Fonseca y Figueroa (ob. 1627), canon and maestro de escuela at 
the cathedral, and who also held the important office of sumi/ierde cortina, in the 
king's household. The position had been filled by several clergymen, who had 
to look after the prayer-books, to instruct the weekly chaplain as to the hour of 
celebrating Mass, to accompany the king to the chapel and stand by the ba/da- 
chin, raising and drawing the curtain at the proper times. But although of a 
purely ceremonious character, this office, owing to the influence it commanded, 
was entrusted only to persons of distinction; in the case of Ger6nimo Colonna 
it was a stepping-stone to the cardinalate. Figueroa afterwards entered the 
diplomatic service, and was sent that very year to felicitate the young Duke 
of Parma, the secret object of the mission being to win over the Italian princes 
to the Spanish side, especially in connection with the question of the Valtel- 
lina, and to remove any anxiety regarding the plans and intentions of the 
Spanish Government. He was a friend of painters, and he even painted 
himself, amongst other things, a portrait of Francisco de Rioja. 

Steps were taken to procure the young artist an introduction to the king, 
as the simplest means of rapid advancement. But on this occasion the efforts 
of Velazquez' patrons ended in failure. 

Meanwhile at the request of Pacheco he painted the portrait of the poet 
Luis de G6ngora, which was probably needed for the portrait gallery. 

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Velazquez at Court. 87 

The work was much praised in the capital ; but whether it is the same that 
now hangs in the Prado (No. 1085) is doubtful. This is a well drawn, but 
dry and meagrely painted head, injured and showing few characteristic 
marks of his manner at that period. 

Although a prebendary of the Cathedral of Cordova, G6ngora, n'^w in his 
sixtieth year, had been residing for thirty years at the Court, but hitherto ^vith 
little advancement beyond a capellania de honor procured for him by Lerma. 
Yet he was the Marini of Spain, and givres his name to the inflated 
{culto) style of the period. The portrait is a character study of the first 
order, suggestive rather of a casuist or penitenciario than of a poet — a long 
head with powerful cranial development, high arched forehead now quite bald, 
long hooked nose very prominent at the root, serious closed mouth with a 
soured expression in the comers drawn downwards, thin mustachio, long 
projecting chin curving round to the nose. No one will look for grace or 
simplicity in these heavy, stem features, with the suspicious searching glance 
of the blinking eyes overcast with the furrows of serious mental work. Such 
traits, however, may accord with the satirist and erotic poet, or the inflated 
imagery and labyrinthine play of thought of the current euphuism. 
There also seems to be an air of depression, the result of the long deferred 
expectations of Court favour endured by this "New Seneca," as Lope 
calls him.* 

Meanwhile Fonseca did not lose sight of his young friend's interests. 
Probably immediately after his return from the Italian mission he again 
broached the subject to Olivares, and in the spring of 1623 came a letter 
from Fonseca, mviting Diego at the Minister's request to return to Madrid. 
A sum of fifty ducats was granted for the travelling expenses, whereupon the 
father-in-law shut up house, and accompanied him, ''in order to witness 
the renown" which he anticipated. He resided and boarded in Figueroa's 

In the same year a boy in his tenth year also came to the capital with 
his father, the Alcalde of Abil^s in Asturia ; he wanted to be a painter, and 
was confided to the care of the then popular Pedro de las Cuevas. Forty 
years later this artist, Juan Carrefto de Miranda, succeeded to the honours of 

Our artist painted the portrait of his patron Fonseca, which has 

^ There is a good replica in England. Edward Charton's interesting book on G6ngora 
(London : 1862) has an excellent engraving from this replica, which at that time belonged 
to Mr. Henry Reeve. It was said to have passed from Sir W. Hamilton's collection in 
Naples to the Art writer Ottley, and was then sold as the portrait of Gondomar. It 
agrees exactly with the Madrid picture. 

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88 Velazquez. 

disappeared. The very evening of the day on which'it was finished, the young 
Count PeAaranda, chamberlain to the Infante Don Ferdinand, carried it off 
with him to the palace. Here " in one hour it was seen by everybody," the 
prince and the king included, *^a rare recognition." It was decided that 
Diego should paint Don Ferdinand, but eventually it seemed more desirable 
first to paint the king himself. This commission however was deferred 
.owing to the weighty matters then occupying the king. These grandes 
ocupaciones had reference probably to the visit of Charles Prince of Wales. 

At last on August 30 the king found time to sit for a life-size equestrian 
portrait, which met with the approval of his Majesty, the Infante and 
Olivares, the latter declaring in his emphatic way that the king had not till 
then been painted at all. *' His Excellency the Count-Duke [Olivares] had 
now a first interview with him, and raised high his hopes, reminding him of 
the honour of his fatherland, and promising that he alone should paint his 
Majesty, and that all other portraits should be removed. He bade him bring 
his family to Madrid." 

Thereupon Velazquez completed the picture, in which " all was painted 
from Nature, even the landscape." It was five ells high and about three-and- 
a-half wide. It was publicly exhibited in the Calle Mayor over against 
St. Felipe, " to the admiration of the Capital, and envy of those of the 
profession, of which I can bear witness" {Art of Paintings i., 134). Sonnets 
were composed on it by Pacheco and Juan Velez de Guevara, and a long 
encomium by the Sevillan, Ger6nimo Gonzalez de Villanueva. 

Later, when it was eclipsed by other equestrian pictures by Rubens and 
by Diego himself, this work seems to have been little more thought of, 
and least of all by the latter, who could no longer appreciate the somewhat 
dry and hard style of his first essays. In 1686 we find it removed from the 
royal apartments to the Court marshal's official residence {aposentador de 
palacto)^ in the Treasury, and deprived of its frame. Afterwards no more 
is heard of it, and it probably perished in the fire of 1734. One would 
willingly sacrifice many later portraits of the king to recover this work. 

The Appointment. 

His reception into the king's service followed in the same year 1623, 
with a monthly stipend of twenty ducats from the funds of the royal palaces. 
Physician, chemist and surgeon were also included, and according to Pacheco 
special payment was promised for each separate work. He further soon 
received three hundred ducats to defray expenses, besides a pension of 
another three hundred from an ecclesiastical living, for which however the 

Digitized by 


Velazquez' Appointment. 89 

necessary dispensation was not obtained from Pope Urban VIII. till 1626. 
His residence in the city was valued at two hundred ducats, and provision 
was also made for his father, who within seven years received three secre- 
taryships, each yielding one thousand ducats. The studio (pbrador) of the 
Court painters stood on the ground floor of the palace in the prince's 
quarters. Compared with allowances hitherto made to Court painters, the 
sums awarded to Diego were considerable ; E. Caxesi had received only fifty 
thousand maravedis, say ;^IS, and Gonzalez not more than six thousand 
maravedis yearly. 

Our artist, still in his twenty-fourth year, had already reached his goal ; 
he had been received into the remarkable if somewhat motley series of 
portrait painters to the Spanish Court. Amongst his predecessors he saw 
some great names, but they had been Italians and Netherlanders, in whose 
company the Spaniards cut rather a sorry figure. Charles V. had compared 
Titian to Apelles, Court painter to Alexander the Great ; others had caught 
only his pale, ill-formed, icy mask, but Titian had breathed some life into it, 
depicting the coolness of the captain on the battlefield, the penetrating 
shrewdness of the greatest statesman of the age, the Olympian impertur- 
bability of the master of two worlds. 

Philip II. had constantly employed the painter of Cadore, who, however, 
had seen him only as crown prince at Augsburg ; hence the portrait painted 
after the battle of Lepanto (1572) was a fanciful blend of youth and age. 
The true pictorial chroniclers of his Court were Anton Mor and Alonso 
Sanchez Coello, the former of whom, although almost free from Italian 
influences, had something of the free breath, dignity, and grace of Venetian 
portraiture. He was a cavalier of the true Spanish type, and conversed so 
familiarly with the otherwise almost inaccessible monarch that he awakened 
the suspicions of the Inquisition. His cooler tone, his infinite minuteness in 
the details of the costumes, well suited the formal and pomp-loving court. 
Three several times he was invited, once to London, to paint Philip's bride ; 
he has also left us that king's sisters and the Court beauties, and nothing 
gives us a higher idea of his delicacy and manifold treatment of character 
than these .lifelike portraits now in the Prado. 

The Portuguese Sanchez Coello, respecting whose influence at Court 
incredible things were related in the legends of the painters, was in reality a 
poor hanger-on and a somewhat characterless artist. At first he adhered 
closely to Mor, from whom his portraits are not readily distinguished without 
some experience, only they lack animation and individuality. He then took 
to a Venetian manner, and his heads have occasionally passed for Venetian ; 
yet these are less valuable than others in which he affects a Dutch style. 

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90 Velazquez. 

His pupil Pantoja de la Cruz was the soulless and lifeless, the painfully 
laborious and stiff royal painter to the Court of the weak-headed Philip III. 
For the period he was a sort of anachronism (ob. 1610), and was followed 
(1617) by Bartolom^ Gonzalez, one of the three colleagues whom Velazquez 
found installed at the time of his appointment. Latterly Gonzalez had again 
painted the family of Philip III. in a series of eleven large full-figure 
portraits for the Pardo palace. He bears the same relation to his prede- 
cessor that the latter did to Coello and Coello to Mor, marking in Court 
portraiture the same downward course that in other respects was indicated 
by the royal originals themselves. 

Philip IV. was no better, but only a more ill-starred ruler than his father; 
still the revival of the national life drew to the Court the greatest portrait 
painter of Spanish blood, one who has since been rivalled by Goya alone. 
Carrefto and Del Mazo, Court painters to the last shadow king of the Habsburg 
line, were themselves but a shadow of Velazquez. 

The present monarch kept up the custom of extreme familiarity with 
his painters, the precedent for which had been established by his 
sinister grandfather. He had at all times access through the secret pas- 
sage to the atelier f even in the absence of the artist, for he had pro- 
vided himself with skeleton keys for every room in the palace. One 
day, the Florentine Bernardo Monanni tells us, his fellow-countryman 
Cosimo Lotti, also engaged in the Treasury, found all his things so 
displaced that although an engineer he could no longer find his bearings. 
He opened a little box and noticed that half of his Florentines ausage 
{salsicciotto) had been cut off, and by its side the royal autograph : La 
mitad para nosotros iomamos, la otra por limosna os la dexamos, Yo el Rey} 

In Velazquez's studio was a chair reserved for his Majesty, that he 
might look on comfortably, and in fact he came almost every day. 
" Scarcely credible " seemed to the aged Pacheco such friendliness and 
affability, with which so great a monarch treated him. But this constant 
presence of the king could not fail to influence his style, for, says Martinez, 
lords look more to despatch than to good workmanship. When visiting 
his painters Philip II. for the most part found that they were making 
far too little progress. As the great maxim of Spanish royalty was to 
do as their predecessors and especially the emperor had done, such 
relations were regarded as the fulfilment of a ruler's duty, who should in 
all things resemble his forefathers. And we see how the same anecdotes 
constantly recur. 

» Half we take for ourselves, the other we leave you for charity. I the King. 

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Madrid. 9 1 


Velazquez became and remained till his death a citizen (vecino) of Madrid. 
As a servant of the king he received besides his stipend a free residence. 
He had his studio, of course, in the palace itself (east \ving), and later as 
palace marshal an official residence in the Casa del Tesoro (Treasury) abutting 
eastwards on the Alcazar ; but his private dwelling was in the city. The 
house which he occupied at all events in his fortieth year stood in the Calle 
de Concepcion Ger6nima, and belonged to one Pedro de Yta. When 
Philip II. conferred such unusual privileges on householders to encourage 
architectural activity, he reserved to the crown free control over the second 
floor of every house ; hence the large number of one-storied buildings in 
Madrid. Such second stories he would lend to his courtiers and officials, 
to the members of his council, or of embassies and the like. 

The name of that street still exists ; it runs off the Calle de Toledo, in 
the heart of mediaeval Madrid, and takes its title from the Hieronymite 
Nunnery, founded by Dofta Beatriz Galindo, called La Latina, in the year 
1 504. On either side of the high altar are seen the marble monuments in 
the Renaissance style erected to her memory, and that of her husband 
Francisco Ramirez. The facade of the convent, in the late Gothic style of 
the " Catholic Kings," noteworthy as the only interesting work of the kind, 
was erected by a Moorish architect, the neophyte Hazan. 

The painter's way to the palace lay through the Plaza Mayor lately 
opened by Philip III., and thence by the Calle Mayor to the Plaza del 
Palacio. This Calle was the great artery, the favourite resort of fashionable 
society, gallants, fair ladies and adventurers of all kinds. Here, says 
Alarcon, the Sevillans themselves forgot their Alameda, here was the India of 
the old world, that is, a reversed India, where fortunes were rapidly — lost. 

The Madrid of Velazquez' time has undei^one no essential change, as is 
evident from a glance at the great plan of the place prepared in Antwerp ; 
only new quarters have sprung up round about the central core. Even at 
that time the Puerta del Sol was already called the "Ombligo de la Corte," 
and the Prado was the evening promenade of select society. This Madrid 
was a creation of Philip IL, begun in 1561. Till then it had been a small 
mediaeval town, finally rescued in 1083 from the Moors, who had held it as 
an outpost of Toledo. But the transformation now proceeded with giant 
strides. In Pedro de Medina's description for 1 548, when the royal palace 
was building, one page is devoted to Madrid, but in the second edition of 
that work (1595) seven additional pages are added. 

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92 Velazquez. 

For its good fortune Madrid was indebted to its salubrious climate alone. 
On his first visit Charles V. had felt the beneficial effects of the pure dry 
atmosphere of the breezy table-land on his gouty constitution, and thereupon 
resolved to take up his residence there. This atmosphere, to which Madrid 
is said to owe its Arabic name, was tempered by the winds from the 
Guadarrama range, and still more by the extensive woodlands of the sur- 
rounding district. In the sixteenth century it was chosen as a summer 
residence and health resort ; at present its climate is the least salubrious of 
any in Spain. This is mainly due to the destruction of the forests, which 
had already disappeared in the time of Philip IV. In 1640 fuel had become 
so scarce that orders had to be issued for replanting, especially the riverain 
tracts, and had given rise to the saying that " the French think of the past, 
the Italians of the future, the Spaniards only of the present." 

At first the houses were mostly built of mud, as we still see in the 
provincial towns of Castile, and with such utter neglect of sanitary conditions 
that Madrid had the reputation of being the filthiest city in Europe. Never- 
theless the nobles of Toledo and Valladolid gradually gravitated towards the 
new capital, where they built themselves residences, and thus attracted 
numerous retainers and artizans. But supplies " for man and beast " had to 
be brought from such distances that even under Philip II. living was already 
dearer than in Rome. After Philip III.'s temporary return to Valladolid, 
building was resumed with feverish haste under his successor. Strangers 
flocked thither ; many-storied houses were run up with balconies at all the 
windows, and let out in flats to families wholly unacquainted with each other; 
hence the remark that here one partition was farther from another than 
Valladolid from Ghent. In similar hyperbolic language the poets describe 
the rapid transformations going on all round, so that nothing seemed last- 
ing except change. *' The great man, scarcely dead, is carried forth in the 
evening, and no one has time to throw a handful of earth on his grave." 

Despite the lack of character in the architecture of modern Madrid, which 
possesses only one noteworthy church, the recently threatened St. Ger6nimp, 
the Spanish capital of the seventeenth century possessed at least a special 
charm in its cosmopolitan aspect. What first struck strangers was its per- 
fectly open condition, without walls, gates, or moats. The old enclosure with its 
hundred and thirty towers had gradually disappeared as the town expanded in 
all directions; hence G6ngora compares it to the Nile, the one tolerating 
no confining banks for its flood-waters, the other no walls for its overflowing 
streets and houses. The growth of this upstart capital coincides with the 
time when Spain itself outgrew its national and natural limits in its aspira- 
tions after a universal monarchy. A Court which sends its viceroys to 

Digitized by 


Madrid. 93 

Flanders, to Lombardy, Naples, Sicily, and America must necessarily acquire 
a cosmopolitan character. Tirso calls Madrid the '* Universal Mart," the 
" Mapamundi," the " whole world." " She is the home," says Calderon, " of 
all natives or strangers, who in her little world are equally beloved children." 
The Spaniards, who dreamed of their land as the " Shelter and Sceptre of 
the Universe," were proud of this " noble house of entertainment " to which 
all were welcome. The Madrileftos were described as gossiping, courteous 
and obliging, which caused surprise in a land where strangers were otherwise 
too often greeted with a volley of stones. The city on the Manzanares, 
despite the difficulty of access, had already become a kind of universal 
emporium, especially for all articles of luxury. Pessimist philosophers called 
it the New Babylon, where the clearest heads become confused amid the 
endless variety of tongues ; where vice breaks out like boils, and where those 
may think themselves lucky who get off scathless. 

Art Circles. 

Under such conditions there could be no lack of activity in the world 
of Art. 

A taste for the Arts, an intelligent appreciation and discussion of Art 
topics, had at that time already become a matter of tradition in Madrid. Nay, 
when we recall the Court of Philip II. and his counsellors, Granvella for 
instance, to mention only one name, we feel as if we have already entered on 
a period of decline. The cabinets and studios of the Italians Pompeo Leoni 
and Jacomo Trezzi from Milan, with their collections of coins, paintings, 
manuscripts, and ''curios" of all sorts, were at one time included amongst the 
noteworthy objects which no stranger, of rank could afford to neglect. And 
even after the two decades of " suspended animation " during the reign of the 
feeble Philip III., all this artistic intercourse soon again acquired some 
activity under his young successor Philip IV. 

In his Didlogos Vincenzo Carducho has preserved some valuable references 
to the contemporary dilettantism of Madrid. His book, which appeared in 
1633, but which must have been written somewhat earlier, might have 
acquired something more than a general interest, but for the excessive 
consideration and fear of stirring up jealousy which prevented him from 
specifying the particular paintings alluded to. 

Here also Italian influence is unmistakable. Many of the wealthy lovers 
of Art had been to Italy, while on the other hand, amongst the courtiers of 
Philip IV. were the two Italian artists, Crescenzi from Rome, and the 

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94 Velazquez. 

Florentine sculptor Rutilio Gaxi, who had designed several of the Madrid 

Monterey and Legan^s, both kinsmen of Olivares, had fitted up their 
palaces on a grand scale and with princely splendour. The latter, Spinola's 
son-in-law, had reluctantly accepted high offices abroad, for his heart 
still clung to his Madrid residence with its rare clocks and mirrors, its 
secretaires and choice marqueterte work, paintings and other Art treasures. 
Count Monterey also (Don Emanuel de Fonseca y Zufiiga) had taken ad- 
vantage of his position in Naples to make a rich collection of silver ware, 
gems, tapestry, paintings and other objects, such as the red-chalk pastel 
drawing of the cartoon of Michael Angelo's Bathers. 

The taste of collectors also embraced armour, Venetian glass, cabinets, 
Flemish tapestry, medals, copperplates, illuminated breviaries, shrines, costly 
prints, ivory carvings, musical and mathematical instruments. Specially 
interesting is Carducho's description of the circles and conversation of 
connoisseurs and patrons of Art. In a certain unnamed house they gathered 
of an evening to bespeak or exchange paintings, drawings, models, statues, 
therein displaying "much taste and knowledge," and appreciation of 
" originals by Raphael, Correggio, Titian, Tintoretto, Palma, Bassano,'' and 
of living painters. Here assembled the best painters, as well as persons of 
condition who had a fancy for such refined entertainments. Besides paint- 
ings here were seen *' coats of mail and weapons of famous armourers, 
damascened daggers, rock crystal work, writing desks, pyramids and globes 
of jasper and glass." The host, we are told, was on one occasion engaged in 
arranging some articles of exchange, about which he had made an appoint- 
ment with Don Juan Alfonso Enriquez de Cabrera, Admiral of Castile. 
They comprised an original by Titian, six heads by Anton Mor, two bronze 
statues and a small culverin, and the admiral had left with him a good copy 
of a Bacchanalian scene by Caracci. There was also seen a Madonna by 
Raphael from the Convent of the Barefooted Carmelite Nuns in Valladolid, 
that belonged to Monterey, and which he wanted to take with him and have 
restored in Italy. This was the Madonna della Rosa which still often turns 
up in Spain and in Valladolid (Prado, 370). 

Nor were other opportunities lacking in Madrid for procuring good 
specimens. Inventories with estimates were made of legacies, from which 
the family chose what it desired to retain, and exposed the rest for public 
sale with fixed prices attached to each article. Such sales took place even 
after the decease of royal persons, the largest on record being that of 1608, 
some years after the death of Philip II. (1598). An account of these 
almomdas is given in the highly interesting diary of Count Harrach, who 

Digitized by 


Art Circles in Madrid. 95 

during the second half of the century was twice ambassador at the Spanish 
Court, and who mentions no less than twenty auctions, nearly all of the 
nobility, within the space of five years. 

Besides those who collected from motives of vanity, or in servile compliance 
with the fashion, there were also genuine virtuosi, Quevedo has left us a 
vivid description of Juan de Espina who, according to him, was the beau ideal 
of an Art patron, and moreover a true philosopher, displaying a refined taste 
and thorough knowledge, perseverance and tact in his researches, disregard of 
price (he had an income of five thousand ducats), an open house for artists 
and scholars. Often plunged in deep thought he passed for a magician, and as 
such even figured on the stage. " For years his house was an epitome of the 
marvels of Europe, visited by strangers to the great honour of our nation, for 
they had often nothing to tell of Spain except their reminiscences of him." 

The year of Velazquez' removal to Madrid coincided with the visit of 
Charles Prince of Wales, who remained from March 7 till September 2. 
According to Lope de Vega he '* collected with remarkable zeal all the paint- 
ings that could be had, valuing and paying for them excessive prices." He 
however failed to induce Espina to part with the gem of his collection, the two 
volumes of manuscript with drawings by Leonardo de Vinci. The owner had 
intended to bequeath them to the king ; but fourteen years later they were 
secured by the Earl of ArundeL They had originally come from the sale of 
the effects of Pompeo Leoni (ob. 1608) where Andres Velazquez had also 
procured a small Correggio a foot high — a Madonna and the Child with 
Joseph, painted on copper. The prince had in vain offered two thousand 
escudos ; but the king bought it himself and presented it to his royal guest.^ 

At that time the Conde de Villamediana's auction was still going on. 
This brilliant wit had at the instigation of the king been shot in his coach 
on August 21, 1622, it was uncertain whether on account of his satirical poems 
of unparalleled audacity and venom, or of his rash gallantries with the young 
queen. He had been six years in Naples and Florence, whence he had 
brought back paintings, arms and antiques. At the departure from Madrid 
of Fernando de Azevedo, the newly appointed Archbishop of Burgos, Villa- 
mediana gave him a Titian worth a thousand escudos, *' in order to remember 
him in Burgos." 

The prince often visited Don Gerdnimo Fures y Mufioz, in order to see his 
cabinet and original drawings by the great Italians; from him Charles received 

' Khevenhiller, Annaies Ferd. X., 333. In a MS. in the British Museum, Observations 
concerning pictures & paintings in England^ 1650 6* 52 — this sketch is mentioned as being 
in the possession of Mr. Bayley, together with the School of Love. Perhaps it is the 
picture at Petworth (Waagen, Treasures, iii., 43). 

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a gift of eight paintings and a number of artistic weapons. From Crescenzi's 
collection he later received through Coffington a painting by Rosso, the Contest 
of the Muses and Pierides, which cost him four hundred ducats. He also 
showed some taste for Spanish painters, and in his collection were included 
scenes of still life by the highly esteemed flower painter Juan Labrador (ob. 
1600), besides the Adoration of the Shepherds, a night scene by Pedro Orrente. 
Opportunities of seeing good works in private possession were also afforded 
by the great religious feasts, such as Corpus Christi, and St. John's. On such 
occasions the balconies were hung with tapestries, shrines were set up on the 
ground floor visible from the street and decked with flowers, green branches, 
paintings, hangings and lights ; before these shrines the people sang, played 
and danced. 


Court and Palace, Madrid. 

Meantime Velazquez had become a Spanish courtier, a member of the 
royal household. His existence was henceforth confined to the unruffled 
stream of this Court life, which flowed with the regularity of the heavenly 
bodies between palace and country seat, feasts and ceremonies in the capital, 
rural parties and hunting in the Pardo, Escorial, Balsain and Aranjuez. 
For " the Spanish king knows day by day what he has to do throughout his 
whole life." Thus our artist also had for ever resigned his personal freedom and 
leisure, except only during the episodes of his Italian journeys. " Here all 
was quick life and wearisome strife," and the main result disenchantment, 
desengaflos de palacio (Calderon). 

To those who served him, down to the sentries, some thousand persons in 

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IcL %J\^eijncD 

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Digitized by 


The Alcazar. 97 

all, the king gave lodging and board in palace and city. In the refectories 
they daily received their rations of meat, poultry, game, fish, chocolate, fruit, 
ice, bread and oil, light and fuel. The medical attendance was also partly 
included, and the whole establishment cost a million escudos yearly, the wax 
tapers alone some sixty thousand ducats. 

The Spanish Court, wrote Boisel about 1660, is no Q)urt in the French 
or English sense; it is a private residence and leads a retired life. The 
Habsburg dynasty retained to the last the routine and arrangements of the 
Burgundian Court, which differed greatly from the simple and frugal house- 
hold of the old Castilian sovereigns. In the Court of these Philips, " heirs 
and successors of the house of Burgundy," the Court of Philip the Good and 
Charles the Bold still lived on in its administrative system, its love of pomp, 
its offices and titles. The king took his meals apart, the queen and each 
prince had their separate establishments. One quarter of the premises was even 
called the Casa de Borgofia ; all the palace expenditure and account-books 
were kept in the old Burgundian way ; the names of the Court offices were 
partly Burgundian. Such especially was the general term sumiller (chief 
chamberlain, steward, etc.), as in the offices of sumiller de corps (lord 
chamberlain), sumiller de cortina (see above, p. 86), sumiller de la cava 
(butler), sumiller de paneteria (head cook), and so on. 

These offices, which were not bought but presented by the king, were the 
goal of the ambition of various classes, and served even as a bait to allure 
the nobles from their castles to the capital. The Spaniards of the old school 
felt at first a certain irritation at the introduction of this foreign and costly 
Court life, and in the fifth year of Philip II. the Castilian Cortes ventured 
to expostulate with the king, declaring that " Your house of Burgundy is so 
surrounded with excessive outlays that they were enough to conquer a 
kingdom ; they consume the greater part of the royal revenues. But the 
worst is the harm and injury to the State, that the usages and customs of 
Castile- are forgotten, and the Spanish people's strength is so weakened, 
wasted and drained that it can now serve your Majesty only like the 
pelican with its heart's blood." 

The name of the old Alcazar of Madrid will often recur in this narrative ; 
its broad steps have been worn, its endless passages crossed and recrossed 
for a full generation by our hero ; a great part of his works were destined for 
its apartments; here was his workshop; here was prosecuted his artistic 

Hence the desire will often make itself felt to acquire some familiar know- 
ledge of this long vanished building. But as none of those artists and 
scholars who lived and associated within its walls took the trouble, even after 


Digitized by 


98 Velazquez. 

the fire of November 24, 1734, to leave a picture of it to posterity, the follow- 
ing description, based on inventories, travellers' notes and the fragments of an 
old plan, may not appear quite a thankless task to our readers. 

This is the palace, in the north-west tower of which Francis I. was confined, 
and received the visit of his conqueror ; where was enacted the tragedy of 
Don Carlos, and where was signed the will of the last Habsburger, leaving 
the throne to the grandson of Louis XIV. The Palais Bourbon, erected in 
1737 by J. B. Sacchetti on the same imposing site at the west end of the city, 
doubtless excels the old structure in unity of design and sumptuous style ; 
still it lacks the national character, and is poor in historic reminiscences. 
Since it has surrendered its pictorial treasures to the museum, it has also 
ceased to be one of the noteworthy sights of the Spanish metropolis. 

The origin of the Madrid Alcazar is lost in the night of Moorish times. 
From the earliest days the Castilian kings occasionally tarried in Madrid and 
hunted in the Pardo ; but their palace stood on the site of the Convent of the 
" Royal Barefoot Nuns " (Desca/zas reales), founded by Princess Juana, 
daughter of Charles V. The Alcazar was only a stronghold or citadel, pro- 
tected on the west side by the escarpment towards the Manzanares, on the 
other sides by moats and ramparts. In 1 109 it had held out against the 
Maroccan forces under Tejufin, and since then the grounds under the western 
slope have been known as the Campo del Moro (the *' Moorish Camp"). After 
its reconstruction by Peter the Cruel in the fourteenth century we read of 
grand State ceremonies, and from that period dated the strong round towers. 
Under the pomp-loving Juan II. the Castilian Cortes assembled in the Sala 
n'ca (1419), and here were received the French envoys. At that time its stout 
walls witnessed brilliant gatherings and bade defiance to the enemy. It was 
the theatre of the disgraceful events under Henry IV., from whom it received 
its final form. It was held in 1476 by four hundred men against Isabella's 
forces under Infantado. Next year the ''Catholic Sovereigns" entered the 
place without inhabiting the Alcazar, which stood a last siege when held by 
the Comuneros (1520-21). 

This mediaeval stronghold took the usual form of a quadrilateral, with large 
round towers at the angles and inner courts, outer passages with projecting 
turrets terminating in pointed roofs, many rows of small and one of large 
windows with balconies, the dwellings and halls looking inwards and lighted 
from the open terraces of the court. 

After quelling the insurrection of the Commons the emperor had it partly 
rebuilt to suit modern requirements, but he never actually inhabited the palace. 
This reconstruction or enlargement was continued during the two following 
reigns, and received its finishing touch under Philip IV. The structure 

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The Alcazar. 99 

thus modernized is the Habsburg Palace, the "Alcazar of the Philips," 
which had an existence of two hundred years. 

The extant engravings show the more recent work and style in both 
courts and in the south or principal faQade, The reconstruction consisted 
mainly in enlarging the southern wing by a parallel annexe doubling 
its width, as shown by a glance at the ground plan. The apartments in 
this new section are the grand saloons, aposentos principales^ as Philip II. 
called them, of which mention so often occurs in connection with the arrange- 
ment of the paintings. They comprised the southern or queen's saloon 
above the imperial garden, the ''new" or mirror saloon above the main 
entrance, and the octagonal domed saloon or Tribuna, the last constructed. 

The western aspect was that of a turreted, frowning mediaeval fastness, 
whereas the side facing the city and approached by the Calk mayor and 
Palace Square (now Plaza de Armas) presented a stately and perfectly regular 
facade in the cinquecento style. The square itself was the work of Philip II., 
who had cleared away the narrow lanes, private grounds, and two churches 
hitherto blocking the approaches in that direction. The open space thus 
obtained was flanked on the south side by the royal mews (cavallerizas), to 
which belonged the present armour}', the only part that still survives of the 
structures erected by Philip II. 

The facade was of white stone, flanked by two massive square four-storied 
brick pavilions, the western by Philip II., the eastern (Torre de la Reina) 
erected during the minority of Charles II. The fagade was further divided 
into two sections of twelve windows each by a wide gabled gateway with three 
windows, in Herrera's style. Above the ground floor with its walls and 
strongly grated windows rose two stories, the upper the higher, both richly 
embellished with pilasters, casements and mouldings of white marble, and 
gilded balconies attributed to Philip III. 

Thus the huge pile had its main axis disposed in the direction from south 
to north. It comprised in its central section the royal chapel of St. Michael 
between the two chief courts and separating the apartments of the king from 
those of the queen. An arched passage led to the eastern and larger court, 
grouped round which were the apartments of the crown prince, infantes and 
keeper of the jewels, and above them the apartments of the queen and prin- 
, cesses, the finest in the whole building. Then the king's apartments were 
reached in the second court, both of these courts having the aspect of convent 
cloisters. The second, open to the public, was full of life and bustle, its 
arcades being occupied by booths, bookstalls and jewellers* shops. Painters 
also established their work here, in the very stream of those passing to and 
fro to the offices and audience chambers of the ten Boards for Castile and 

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lOo Velazquez. 

Aragon, Italy, Portugal and Flanders, the State Council Chamber and others, 
all of which lay on the ground floor. From these the court took the name of 
El Patio de las Covachuelas, behind which were the royal summer apartments. 
A broad flight of grey marble steps with slender blue and gilded balustrades 
led up to the private State apartments {cuartoy aposento de S. M,; cuario alto). 
First came in the north wing, the guard-room of the Spanish, German, Bur- 
gundian guards and Walloon bowmen. This lay between the upper loggia 
of the court and the long narrow north gallery, which terminated in the 
north-west tower. 

Then followed on the west side the spacious State apartments of the 
consultaSf audience chamber, banqueting-hall, and president's reception room. 
Here the Cortes assembled, the king consulted with the Council of Castile, 
received envoys and cardinals, conferred the Order of the Golden Fleece, 
appointed the Knights of St. Jago, received the oaths of viceroys and captains- 
general, presided at the Maundy Thursday rites and the like. In the west 
wing were the royal winter apartments, for which the old west gallery had 
been partly closed. It led to the south-western or golden tower, which 
commanded an unexpected view of city and surrounding plain. 

Between the court and the modern State apartments of the south side ran 
the old south gallery, the longest apartment in the palace (a hundred and 
seventy by thirty- five Castilian feet), set apart for feasts, masquerades and 
public banquets, hence called also Sala de fiestas publicas. Farther on stood 
a square vaulted saloon, the Pieza de las Fun'aSf which was already included 
in the queen's apartments, and the ceiling of which was decorated with Titian's 
four figures from Tartarus, formerly belonging to Queen Mary of Hungary. 

The Italian visitors in the reigns of Philip II. and Philip III. do not speak 
very favourably of the general impression of the interior. They noted the 
Spanish love of gloom, and Venturini remarked that there was not a single 
good apartment in the whole edifice, whereas the Roman palaces did not 
contain a single bad one. Many were in fact low and quite dark and all badly 

Eastwards followed the kitchen, bakery, and treasury (Casa del Tesoro), 
this last comprising the dwellings and studios of the Court artists. Of these 
annexes not a vestige has survived. The whole building contained altogether 
some five hundred inhabited rooms. 

What one would like more particularly to know is the style of prevailing 
pictorial decoration at the time of Velazquez' reception into the royal palace. 
Such knowledge would enable us to judge of the transformations of the 
interior effected during the reign of Philip IV. with his co-operation. The 
first inventory of this king dates no doubt from a time when these changes 

Digitized by 


The Alcazar. ioi 

had already begun (1636). Nevertheless descriptions dating from the reign 
of Philip II. and from the year 1599 lead to the inference that down to 1623 
the essential features of the old arrangements still subsisted. 

At that time the figured or pictorial tapestries, paHos htstoriados^ were 
regarded as the most sumptuous mural decoration. In the middle ages the 
Spaniards hung their best apartments with cloths painted in water-colours, 
actual wall-painting being considered only as a sort of makeshift. In 
Philip II/s time looms for tapestry-weaving already existed; but the require- 
ments of the royal palaces were supplied almost exclusively from the 
workshops of Arras, Bruges and Brussels. All contemporary accounts of 
Spanish and Portuguese palaces speak of the Flemish silk and gold tapestries 
decorating halls, galleries and chapels. This style of decoration had the 
advantage over frescoes of being movable, and the more costly specimens were 
carefully reserved for grand occasions. These treasures, which at the death 
of Charles II. were catalogued under ninety-three entries, mostly serial, were 
the amazement of foreigners. Gramont describes those of the royal palace as 
" far finer than those of the French Crown," and mentions their number 
as about eight hundred. 

On great festivals such as Corpus Christi. or an autO'da-fe\ the courts 
and halls of the palace w^ere hung with tapestries disposed round temporary 
shrines, for the ornamentation of which the Treasury and even the churches of 
Toledo and the Escorial were laid under contribution. The hangings repre- 
sented all the changes in the Flemish schools from Roger van der Weyden 
to the introduction of the Italian cartoons, and even later. All tastes and 
requirements were consulted ; there were religious symbolic representations, 
moralities, allegories, scenes from the Passion and the lives of the Apostles 
and Patriarchs, Roman history, mythologico-erotic subjects, the great deeds 
of the royal house, the expedition of Charles V. to Tunis, the campaigns of 
Archduke Albert and so forth. 

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries fresco painting had here and 
there been introduced by Italians ; it received its greatest development under 
Philip II. and died out under Philip IV. Had his attention not been taken up 
with the building of the Escorial Philip II. would probably have decorated 
the whole of the Alcazar in this style. A somewhat confused account is given 
by Carducho of the treatment of the west wing, for which the king employed 
the Italians Romulo Cincinnato and Patricio Caxesi already engaged on the 
Escorial. A good idea of these mural paintings is given by some of 
the rooms in the Pardo Palace and in the Escorial. But the Italian taste dis- 
played itself most sumptuously in the Golden Tower of the Alcazar, where 
the walls were coated with gold and with stucco "white as alabaster;" and 

Digitized by 


I02 Velazquez. 

where one of the rooms was painted with scenes from the Metamorphoses of 
Ovid. Here was also the library of Castilian, French and Italian works, as 
well as portraits of Aristotle, Cicero, Attila, Scanderbeg (the Albanian hero), 
Magellan and many prelates. 

In the decorative system of contemporary architects Httle attention was 
paid to easel-painting. People appear to have only gradually become fami- 
liarized with the idea of embellishing their apartments with such works, which 
had hitherto been mostly kept under lock and key, like gems, coins, and other 
costly cabinet objects. 

The inventory prepared at the death of Philip II. shows that this custom 
still prevailed. The paintings are here described as amongst the contents of 
the guardajoyas (crown-jewels chamber), the contaduria (exchequer) and the 
casa del tesoro (treasury). They are classed under two heads — devotional 
subjects and portraits, the former being mostly triptychs, altar-pieces of the 
old Flemish school, votive pieces, of which Isabella the Catholic already 
possessed a large number. The few Italian works are by Titian — the 
Dolorosa and Ecce Homo on slate or touchstone, the St. Margaret with the 
Dragon, the Fall of Man. Many were also in the chapels and small oratories 
of the palace. 

The numerous portraits represented members of the royal house, famous 
princes of the times, a few captains and court buffoons, the best being by 
Titian, Antonio Moro and Sanchez Coello. In the Treasury were those master- 
pieces of Venetian portraiture, Titian's Charles V. on horseback, Philip 
himself with the Infante Diego, and Charles V. with the dog. Amongst 
them were also some antique heads, and the fancy works of Jerome van 
Aeken, of which the king had made such a complete collection. 

A very large number of paintings, of which but few have survived, also 
served to enliven the passages and galleries in summer, when the tapestries 
were removed. But these were chosen rather for their objective interest, for 
the purpose of instruction and amusement, or in memory of great deeds. 
They comprised battle-pieces, and triumphal processions, hunting scenes, 
views of cities and the like. A German traveller in 1599 mentions the great 
cities of the empire and of Flanders, as well as Country Seats by Jorge de las 
Viftas, the Battle of Mtlhlberg and Crossing of the Elbe ; the Battle of Alcacer 
^ Quibir, where Don Sebastian and his Portuguese army perished, the portraits 
of the king, his uncle Ferdinand and Don Carlos, Kings Emanuel and 
Sebastian of Portugal, the Landgrave of Hesse, the conquistador Don 
Pedro Melendez, and some Venetian beauties ; also Battles of Charles V. ; 
his Entry into Rome, and Alba's into Portugal.^ 

* Travels of Diego Cuelbis of Leipzig, 1 599. MS. in the British Museum. 

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The Alcazar. 103 

A large number were arranged on the staircase walls and along the secret 
pasadizosy or galleries, by means of which the king was able to move about 
unseen from one end of the palace to the other. We read how Philip II. in 
his dressing-gown was fond of surprising his painters, Mor and Coello, in the 
Casa del Tesoro. On the suggestion of the Jesuit P. Florentia his grandson 
even had passages constructed which led into closets within hearing of the 
council-chambers. The longest of the galleries, leading across streets and 
squares to the Convent of the Incarnation founded by Queen Margaret, 
contained in the year 1700 as many as four hundred and ninety paintings. 

But there was at least one quarter of the Alcazar, where the few to whom 
it was accessible fancied themselves transported to some Roman villa, and 
where masterpieces of Italian colouring were worthily enthroned. 

On a terrace beneath the south gallery and the Golden Tower lay the 
*' Emperors* Garden," so called from the marble effigies of the Roman 
Emperors from Caesar to Domitian in two sets. One series consisted of half- 
length figures, copies by Roman sculptors after antiques, with which was 
associated Charles V. These, with the bronze cast of the figure extracting a 
thorn, were the gift of Cardinal Giovanni Ricci of Montepulciano (1561) and 
had been brought by the artists themselves to Madrid. The other set the 
king had soon after received from Pope Pius V. Near them stood the bronze 
statues of the king and his stepbrother Don Juan of Austria, probably by 
Leone Leoni. 

In the arched spaces (cuadras) round the garden were hung the best 
paintings owned by Philip II. — the Fables painted for him by Titian; both 
Dianas Bathing ; the Venus and Organ-player ; the Venus and Adonis ; 
Danae; Europa; Tarquin and Lucretia; Perseus and Andromeda. Here 
also stood the Florentine mosaic table presented to him by the Legate 
Bonelli, nephew of Pius IV. This was the beginning and the nucleus of 
the incomparable Titian Galleries created by Philip JV. and Velazquez. 
These paintings, like most others in the palace, had narrow black frames. 

Northeastwards stretched the pleasure grounds — the gardens of the 
nunnery, of the king and of the queen. The open park (Jardin del Moro) 
is still preserved, which lay at the foot of the declivity towards the Manza- 
nares, and which was the favourite resort of the high and low in the spring 
mornings of April and May. Here the people amused themselves with 
singing, guitar playing, comic poetry and picnicing on the grass. The 
queen also of a summer evening would stroll with her ladies down to the 
river banks. But the park itself was a mere stretch of woodland, where 
nested on the tree-tops the colony of rooks brought by Charles V. from the 

Digitized by 


I04 Velazquez. 

On the north side a ** Roman Amphitheatre " was erected in summer for 
bull-fights, although the large palace square was more used for this purpose, 
as well as for tournaments, and other royal entertainments. Beyond the 
Manzanares stretched the great park of the Casa del Campo, the site of which 
was purchased by Philip II. in 1588. 

Philip IV. 

Often enough the name of an artist is found in intimate association with 
that of a prince. The one confers honour, rank and independence in return 
for a more or less highly rated service ; the other contributes enjoyment 
during life, later a niche in the Temple of Fame. The irony of time, lowering 
the great, shedding undue lustre on the obscure, is still partial to those on 
whom Art has placed her magic finger. " We painters," wrote Palomino of 
old, "hold no such low position as not to be able to confer some favour even 
on royalty itself." 

It would be difficult to find another example of such a long and inti- 
mate connection as that between Philip IV. and Velazquez. At the outset 
the painter was in his twenty-fourth, the king in his eighteenth year (born 
April 8, 1605) ; the former worked exclusively for the latter, and probably 
painted him oftener than any other sovereign has ever been painted by a 
Court artist. A remarkable series would be presented if all these now 
scattered portraits could be brought together in one place. And what an 
appallingly monotonous theme as he attended the king from year to year for 
over four decades (1623-66), monotonous for all but those who might think 
it worth while to follow the changes of years, the traces of vicissitudes, inter- 
woven with the ever-changing hand of the artist himself! Of Philip IV. the 
Venetian Basadonna wrote: "In the timepiece of his administration he 
executes the business of the hour hand alone, which itself without any proper 
movement is moved only by the wheels of the ministers." For us also these 
portraits are the ** year hands " in the Art-life of the painter. 

Has anyone ever yet been riveted by these features, on which still falls a 
shadow of the most unhappy government that has ever been experienced by 
Spain, possibly by any modern nation ? Nevertheless museums eagerly seek 
to secure possession of some one of these portraits ; and one wonders that 
every fresh specimen brought to light can still excite fresh interest. Are we 
then to conclude that in Art the subject is nothing, the language everything ? 

Philip IV. was assuredly one of the most striking examples of the rot 
faineant^ while the way strength and weakness were blended in him makes 
him a psychological problem. 

Digitized by 


Philip IV. 


He may be classed with those who have been fairly endowed by Nature. 
In the judgment of all he was the first cavalier of his Court, the most fault- 
less, resolute rider in the 
tournaments, the best shot and 
stoutest of hunters. As regent 
he was animated by the best 
and purest intentions, and such 
was his self-control that, despite 
his naturally quick tempera- 
ment, he was scarcely ever 
seen to forget himself, or fly 
into a passion. To his kin- 
dred he was linked by an 
unruffled almost tender friend- 
ship, nor had any Spanish king 
ever before shown more courtesy 
towards his servants. '* Good- 
ness," says Zane, "has chosen 
him to fashion her own image." 
In him there was nothing of 
the despot. On entering Sara- 
gossa in his twentieth year, and 
seeing the grim bastille erected 

there by Philip II. after the 

Perez troubles, and on learning 

its object and the rancour with 

which it was viewed by the 

Aragonese, he instantly turned 

to Olivares with the words: 

'* Count, have this presidio 

removed ; I will not have my 

now loyal lieges so galled." 

His good heart was shown by 

the inconsolable grief which he on one occasion felt at accidentally shooting 

a peasant while hunting. He was so repugnant to capital sentences that 

justice seemed to suffer from his excessive clemency. Although a good 

Catholic like all his race, he had little of the bigotry so characteristic 

of his father and grandfather. Less commendable were his numerous 

gallantries, resulting according to Zane in thirty-two natural children, of 

whom he acknowledged eight. 


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io6 Velazquez. 

With all this he was undoubtedly a man of many-sided parts, even 
making every allowance fcr the exaggerations of contemporaries, and the 
fulsome praise of Court poets like Calderon. In the Carnival of 1636 he 
composed an air for the festivities at Buen Retiro, which according to the 
testimony of the Tuscan envoy not only pleased the public but was praised 
by the Maestri, He was passionately fond of taking a part in the 
impromptu " private theatricals " performed in the queen's apartments. He 
was even credited with the authorship of some of these pieces, which are still 
extant. He mastered several languages, read history and began a translation 
of Guicciardini*s ponderous wOrk. The Spanish Art-writers refer in terms of 
praise to all kinds of paintings and drawings by his hand, which however 
have long disappeared, and regarding which Zane probably hit the mark 
when he said '* that if in other cases the works credit the master, here the 
master gives its value to the work." Still this Venetian allows him some 
knowledge of painting, while Stirling-Maxwell, who! however never saw any 
of these productions, assures us that "he became the best artist of the 
House of Austria " (p. 512). His critical sense was shown in his apprecia- 
tion of Raphael's Spasimo, in which on its reaching Madrid in 1 66 1 he 
missed the master's touch, rightly declaring it to be ''none of Raphael's 
best works." 

Philip had the most exalted notions regarding the Mission of a Spanish 
sovereign ; he was a model king in form at least, but he seemed to have 
made it a point of conscience to neglect the very first duties of a ruler. In 
fact he was what the Spaniards called him — a Rey por Ceremonial the first 
Master of Ceremonies in the State. Almost his only sovereign act was 
to remove and punish his father's favourites in order to replace them 'by 
his own, and then to change these once. Six hours he daily set apart 
to business, that is, to reading and signing the consultas ; but he seemed to 
have made a vow neither to verify nor to reject anything. At all times he 
trusted the opinion of his councillors more than his own ; nay, he shrank 
from his own conscience, and thought it safer to err by proxy than through 
his own act. An almost autocratic monarch at the helm of government for 
forty years, looking calmly on at the most violent vicissitudes, filled with a 
sense of his own responsibility, of his own dignity, yet persistently refusing 
to interfere, was certainly an amazing phenomenon. No less astounding 
were the disasters that followed this system of government. 

But so absolute was at that time the prestige of royalty, that the 
sovereign could always rely upon an unlimited stock of loyalty on the part 
of his subjects. ''The King of Spain," wrote Zane in 1657, "is always free 
to impose any burden he likes upon the people. Although there is nothing 

Digitized by 


Philip IV. 107 

stronger than the impossible, yet still greater is the enthusiasm of the 
Castilians for the name of their King." 

But Philip and his Court show to better advantage when we turn from 
politics to Art and letters. He came to the throne at the time of a general 
*' renaissance " in the national taste. He was surely to be envied, whose 
word or wish could in a few days elicit from a Calderon or a Rojas a 
dramatic piece on any favourite theme, or else conjure up as by fairy hands 
a masterpiece of painting. 

Collections have been made of all the sayings, anecdotes and administra- 
tive measures which attest his love and patronage of Art. We read how he 
knighted the great dramatists ; reprieved the coiner Herrera in Seville ; on a 
journey to Valencia tarried in Murviedro to explore the ruins of Saguntum ; 
doubled the pictorial treasures of his palaces ; had a Quevedo for secretary, a 
G<5ngora for chaplain, a Velez de Guevara for chamberlain, an Antonio de 
Solis for minister, a Bartolom^ Argensola for historian. But so rich was the 
land in talents, so widespread the poetic gift, that in the selection of his 
officers he would have found it difficult to overlook a poet or a man of letters. 
And we are apt to forget the tragic fate of Quevedo. 

But let it not be supposed that a bad regent is still good enough to be a 
great patron of Art. The impression is irresistible that with painters such 
as Spain then produced far greater triumphs might have been achieved than 
the works they have left us in Castile. The stipends granted for lasting pro- 
ductions of high Art were insignificant compared with the millions lavished 
on ephemeral displays. ** He built St. Isidoro, the most imposing temple in 
Madrid, and the Carmelite Church" (1639). But the local opinion is now 
unanimous that even such churches are quite unworthy of a Spanish 

Philip's merit would seem to go no farther than that he was one of the 
few inactive rulers who, besides sport, showed also some taste and judgment 
for more intellectual enjoyments. This he inherited from his grandfather 
Philip II., whom he otherwise resembled but little. The tendency was noticed 
by his ministers, viceroys and diplomatists, and by them turned to account for 
their own interests. The Medici sent him not only statues, but engineers, 
musicians, architects, and a glow of Florentine culture was thus shed upon 
the still somewhat mediaeval and Moorish entertainments of the formal 
Spanish Court. 

Strange lot to be the *' Apelles " of this inactive *' Alexander I " For thirty- 
seven long years always painting the same effigy ! For throughout all these 
years Philip's features preserved a marvellous, a startling uniformity. In 
the black silk Court dress, in the hunting suit, in the military uniform, in the 

Digitized by 


io8 Velazquez. 

white satin robe of State, in the gilded steel armour, in the festive religious 
attire — kneeling, standing, mounted — the same stereotyped head is still there 
with its everlasting steadfast gaze. It may change from lean to full, from the 
fresh smooth features of youth and those of manhood marked by the lines of 
passion to the leaden, swollen and rigid lineaments of age; but even at a 
distance it is still instantly recognized. Who can mistake the long oval with 
its pale whitish complexion, and cold phlegmatic glance of the great blue eyes 
under the high forehead, and light stiffly curled hair, strong flat lips and 
massive chin, the whole overcast with an expression of pride that repels all 
advances, suppresses all outward show of feeling! He is said to have 
laughed but thrice in his life, and although the statement might be ques- 
tioned it was still good enough to point a sally in one of Calderon's plays. 

Outwardly and in their general treatment Diego's early portraits of Philip 
adhere somewhat closely to previous representations of royal personages. 
Pose and gesture conform far more to etiquette than to pictorial require- 
ments ; the execution is careful, betraying a knowledge of all the minuti(v of 
Court costume. The severe conventional attitude is relieved by none of those 
picturesque fancies, which were accepted so complacently by Van Dyck's 
patrons. Altogether these portraits seem to continue the dynasty of the 
Antonio Moros, Sanchez Coellos and Pantojas. Compared even with those of 
the Utrecht artist, they seem to show less freedom in the pose, occupation 
of the hands and expression. Animation is imparted only by the turn of the 
head and the frequently sharp side glance, on which the main effect is made 
to depend. It is a strange, cold, almost " uncanny " glance, which keeps the 
obser\'er spellbound, following him everywhere, yet without ever su^esting 
any mutual relations. Unlike those vivid protraits of a Lorenzo Lotto, a 
Moroni or a Moretto. these countenances hold no converse with the spectator ; 
they never lose their self-consciousness. Theirs is the gaze of the ruler who 
gives an audience, who looks and never forgets, who pierces the soul of his 
lieges, who remembers as it were their antecedents, and impresses them with 
a sense of majesty. 

A striking difference is also observ'able in the costumes, whose simplicity 
contrasts at once with those of the time of Philip III. This simplicity was 
to be a token of the new rule of reform and economy. The first blow 
was aimed at those imposing structures of lace ruffs, which were forbidden by 
the edict of January 1 1, 1623. They were replaced by the perfectly smooth 
starched or otherwise stiffened and nearly straight go/iUas, or collars, which 
symbolized the renunciation of vanity. Even ladies had to submit to the 
simple blue^tarched tulle frounces. For ** those Dutch frills," wrote C^spedes, 
•* had cost the country' several millions a year ; the foreigners helped them- 

Digitized by 


Philip IV. 109 

selves to our silver, leaving us, as to savages, our stupid love of finery." 
With the ruffs went also the bonnets (gorra)^ the short cloaks, the tight knee- 
breeches, and the long beards, all swept away in 1623, a year memorable 
enough in the annals of Spanish costume. 

The courtiers bemoaned the end of the old national dignity and splendour, 
and the king himself had to set the example in order to reconcile them to the 
new sumptuary laws. He suddenly appeared with studied simplicity, as the 
same Court historian remarks, " after the model of his forefathers " [that is, 
the ancient kings of Castile], "who professed plainness, renouncing the costly 
parade which had opened the door to their country's woes." 

Simplicity appears to have now become the watchword of our Court 
painter. To colour he seems to say the least indifferent, using black and white 
mainly, and toning down to the utmost the vivid local tints of the materials. On 
the other hand everything is done, and sacrificed^ for the plastic effect. The 
light falls from the left on the confined space, illuming the figure with broad 
surfaces, which left elsewhere nothing but dark points and shaded lines. The 
painter, who had not yet studied the Venetians, fancied that without a 
minimum of shade the figure would fall flat. These shades are no doubt 
sharply laid on, but relieved by reflected light, and often so delicate that one 
perceives the painter is evidently on the way to the shadeless. Shading serves 
mainly for relief, but may also give the features unity, consistence, harmony, 
and even spirit. The upper shading of the orbits, its connection with that 
of the temples, cheek-bones and hair, enlarges the eye. The accentuation of 
the superciliary arches, of the under-lip and chin, had for its object not 
merely resemblance; in the opinion of physiognomists in these parts lies the 
expression of dignity also. 

Again, the figure is everything, the environment nothing. Later he gives 
to full-length portraits landscape vistas, or views across the apartment. But 
here, beyond the edge of a table or chair, the ground is quite empty. Floor 
and wall are often scarcely to be distinguished, and this empty surface is in a 
neutral, cool, light, gray tone, which none the less gives the impression of 
vague depth. Only a brighter and darker section may be observed, severed 
by a diagonal line. In the dark stands the head on which most of the light is 
concentrated. He has omitted even to give th6 slender legs more firmness 
by shaded surroundings. The figure appears in fact as in vacuo ; no doubt it 
casts a shadow, but this shadow seems to fall on no substance. 

This light ground was an innovation of Velazquez, his Spanish precursors 
from the time of Mor, as well as the Venetians themselves, preferring the 
more convenient dark ground. Yet he can scarcely have been acquainted 
with the portraits of Moroni. 

Digitized by 


no Velazquez. 

The sharp lights from one side combined with the suppression of all 
distracting objects are very effective means of forcibly impressing the eye 
with a sense of reality. In their concentrated glance lies one of the secrets 
of these portraits. In the same way conjurors hang the chamber, filling the 
mind with awe, and directing the eye to a single point, in order to render it 
more impressionable to the scene. And in truth when the attention is fixed 
on one object the surroundings appear clouded, just as a striking countenance 
makes us forget all else. Hence in this manner lurks a more delicate touch of 
flattery than in that of the later French portraitists with their lavish display 
of pretentious and dazzling details. 

In these sharp lines also, in this statuesque form the vital spark itself 
seems fixed ; the very man gazes on us, revealing his inner self, as he did 
when he stood before the artist. 

The Bust (Prado, No. 107 1 ; 0*57 X 0*44 m.) representing the king in his 
eighteenth year has been taken for the original sketch or study for the first 
equestrian portrait. The features have still a lingering boyish expression, 
looking like a young Englishman, whose education has been taken up more 
with sport than classics and mathematics. The light hair is carefully dressed 
and oiled, disposed in a straight wave across the brow, curled on the 
temples with a ringlet falling on the face. The wide mouth imparts a some- 
what silly sensuous expression to the face ; with such a head one feels 
that all zeal for serious work will soon be over. The bust remained 
unfinished, the armour with the red scarf being added much later. In 
this picture I can see no trace of Rubens. 

In the Figure with the Petition (Prado, No. 1 070; 201 x i'02 m.) the head 
agrees so exactly with the foregoing that but for a slight emaciation it might 
be taken for a replica. The king, all in black, stands at a table covered with 
a red cloth on which lies his tall hat. A gaunt, phlegmatic figure, in ex- 
tremely grave attitude, that "secret of the body to veil the lack of wit." We 
miss the-soft kindly expression that the envoys speak of, and which was accom- 
panied by a pleasant melodious voice. Thus he stood, impassive, when he gave 
audience, the arm alone moving as he raised his hat, uttering a few measured, 
commonplace, stereotyped answers without any change of countenance. 

The hands are shapely, plump, white, refined, and excellently modelled, 
like those of the Madonna in the Shepherds. The left rests on the dagger, 
not on the corner of the table. Consequently no false perspective ! The 
right falls naturally, holding a despatch ; or is it a petition ? Royal portraits 
with such papers seem not to occur at an earlier date ; should this be taken 
as an indication of his intention to fulfil his personal duties, and keep his 
promise of entering into direct relations with his subjects ? 

Digitized by 


Philip IV. iii 

Such broad, white, finely moulded hands are not again met with in works 
by Velazquez. To artists who aim at unity of effect the hands are always a 
trouble ; they compete with the face in colour and expression. The German 
and Netherlandish portraitists of the sixteenth century so little heeded this 
disturbing effect that they gave special prominence to the hands, often dis- 
satisfying the eye that could not always detect the motive of their action. 
But Velazquez alms more at rendering them harmless. Besides the tra- 
ditional conventional plan of confining them to meaningless functions, he 
thrusts them into various kinds of gloves or gauntlets, prevents the play of 
the fingers by pressing them together in a really ungraceful fistlike fashion, 
or else leaves them in a somewhat embryonic state, despatching them with a 
vague sketchy contour. 

The legs also are a source of embarrassment, especially in the case of 
those short doublets and tight-fitting white hose. In the previous century 
monarchs and military captains readily affected the outspread somewhat sprawl- 
ing attitude of Henry VIII., as we see, for instance, in Moro's portrait of 
Maximilian II., in the Prado. Now, however, the limbs were more closely 
knitted together, and the figure was taken in part from the narrow side, so 
that the legs almost cover each other, giving the whole an extremely slender 
appearance. So complete is the deception that Philip IV. looks quite 
tall, although described by contemporaries as certainly graceful and well- 
proportioned, but still of medium size ; and when we come to measurements 
we are surprised to find a length of scarcely seven heads. For the same purpose 
the head is brought close to the upper edge of the frame, which, of course, 
again makes the figure look taller. This treatment occurs also in Dutch 
portraiture, as in Gonzalez Coques* little picture of Frederick Elector Pala- 
tine in the Bridgewater Gallery (No. 155), and frequently in the portraits 
of Gerhard Terburg, which in many respects resemble Velazquez* first style. 

A striking characteristic of all these portraits is the high visual point. 
While Titian took his sketches seated Velazquez worked standing, so that ^ 
the lines of the usually light wooden floor stand well out, but being only ,' 
roughly finished are unsatisfactory in their perspective. The figure seems / 
to stand on tiptoe, and occasionally even to hover in the air. Yet the face, 
as with the Venetian painters, seems to lie above the visual point, so that 
the king stood probably on a platform. The Venetians had already intro- 
duced the low horizon, almost on a level with the feet, without however 
also drawing the face from this low visual point, as it would thus appear 
too much foreshortened. 

Such portraits certainly give a clear idea of his first manner ; but they 
seem scarcely to account for the enthusiasm of the public. This might rather 

Digitized by 


112 " Velazquez. 

have been produced by the royal portrait now owned by Mr. Robert S. 
Holford of Dorchester House, which according to Curtis was purchased from 
Mr. Nieuwenhuys. But this authority must be at fault in suggesting that it 
may have been the picture bought by Mr. Nieuwenhuys at the Alton Towers 
sale of 1857, in which according to Passavant the king had a lion at his feet.* 
But it must have been produced soon after the foregoing. The young 
king, in whom the germ of the bigot seems already more developed, stands in a 
similar attitude, but completely equipped for the field, the commander's baton 
in his right hand, his left resting on the hilt of the sword falling straight 
down. Above the chain armour, of which only a small portion shows below 
the neck, lies a yellow leather gorget ; there are also brown leather gauntlets, 
long tight leather boots with gold spurs, crimson gold-embroidered scarf with 
stiff projecting bow, gold-embroidered sleeves and broad knee-breeches. 
On the table lies the light grey felt hat with partridge plume, wide band 
and a large f)earl. 

Had he to portray a warlike king the artist could scarcely have conceived 
a more appropriate figure. He seems ready to spring into the saddle and 
place himself at the head of his brave Castilians, and m fact during these first 
years he was continually expressing his determination to follow in the foot- 
steps of Charles V. in the war against France, and leave the administration 
to his brother. On the slender support of the legs the figure expands in its 
mantle like the crown of a pine-cone. The head with its resolute side-glance 
is somewhat more spirited, and the whole has a certain martial air combined 
with a Spanish stiffness, which doubtless pleased as much as grace and 
animation elsewhere. 

The pictorial effect is also novel. The bright figure with its many 
yellow leather patches stands well out from the background of a deep warm 
asphalt-brown colour. The face with its pale forms sharply accentuated by 
shaded lines has decidedly the brightest tone, while the requisite wealth of 
colour is imparted by the crimson and gold-embroidered parts. The right 
arm with the staff receives the greatest prominence through the shadows 
accumulated round about. The picture has something of a Titian air despite 
the hardness which the artist has not yet overcome. 

Soon after was probably executed the portrait of the king's brother Don 
Carlos, his junior by two years, and then about twenty years old (Prado, No. 
1073; 1*91 X ro3 m.). Don Carlos, born in Madrid on September 14, 1607, 
resembles his brother, only the lower jaw is better rounded and the eyes 
smaller. The features differ in expression from the Rubens portrait, which 
however is known only from Peter de Jode's engraving — a spirited profile 
' Tour of a German Artist, ii., 80. 

Digitized by 


Olivares. 113 

with sharp lines, more closely resembling the emperor than all his other 

This prince, who died in his twenty-fifth year, is described by con- 
temporaries as the most energetic of the three brothers, clever, lively, and 
even passionate. But he was entirely excluded from public affairs by 
Olivares, who even prevented his marriage, fearing the influence of a foreign 
princess. Here the figure, in a black silk Court costume with bronze 
countenance, stands dimly out from the rusty brown ground, with smooth 
wavy and curled hair, finely modelled right hand carelessly dangling a glove, 
the left concealed and holding a large hat opening outward. There is a dash 
of contempt in the play of the muscles round the mouth, and we know that 
with his grave impenetrable demeanour he nonplussed even the Italian 
diplomatists. He died in July 1632 of a fever, which according to Zuan 
Corner he caught after an altercation with Olivares. Even worse was 
suspected, and Capecelatro tells us that on his deathbed he warned the 
king from his " evil advisers/' 


Simultaneously with our artist's removal to Madrid mention occurs of the 
minister's name, without whose lasting favour his position at Court and near 
the person of the king was not to be thought of. As Velazquez worked 
almost exclusively for Philip, and as Olivares personally superintended the 
household affairs down to the arrangement of the costumes, we may reason- 
ably suppose that he had a hand in all the more important incidents of this 
artistic career. Very little however is known as to their mutual relations in 
particular cases. The Tuscan Averardo dei Medici writing in 1629 calls 
Velazquez the minister's ** favourite." It may be presumed that, however 
unfavourably Olivares may have been judged in most other respects, the 
painter knew him only as a zealous patron and staunch friend, while Don 
Caspar recognized in his young fellow-countryman not only a spirited artist 
and valued adviser in numerous projects, but also an honourable upright 
man. In love and hate alike extreme, he often did more for his friends 
than they had hoped of him. Nor could the painter readily forget that 
critical turning point in his career, when after submitting the proof of his 
capacity to the Court the count at once placed him at the head of all 
his rivals. His gratitude was shown later, after the fall of the minister. 

Don Caspar Guzman, born in Rome in 1587, was the second son of 
Count Enrique, ambassador to Sixtus V., viceroy of Sicily and Naples, and 
alcaide (governor) of the alcazar in Seville. His mother was a Fonseca 


Digitized by 


114 Velazquez. 

(Countess Monterey), while Don Pedro, the grandfather, a general under 
Charles V., was the first Count of Olivares. ''He was born in Rome," 
writes Khevenhiller, but his fatherland was Andalusia, and he was brought 
up at the Spanish Court, hence naiurd, patrid et educatione beguiled from the 
right path." He had been intended for the Church, and after completing 
his studies in Salamanca had received a commandery in the Calatrava Order. 
Then his elder brother died, whereupon he exchanged the "scholastic 
toga" for cloak and sword, married his cousin, In^s de Ziifliga, the "elderly" 
daughter of the Viceroy of Peru (1607), and in order to be near his estates, 
removed to Seville, where he resided many years, indulging freely in his 
natural taste for splendour and lavish display. In 1615 he was attracted 
to Madrid by the Duke of Lerma and appointed chamberlain to the prince, 
in this position gradually preparing the way to future confidence and 

At the death of Philip HI. he saw his chance, though at first making 
himself the young king's right hand only in distractions, while his uncle 
Ziiniga attended to more weighty matters. He successfully contrived to 
sow the seeds of discord between the king and queen, who had at first 
lived affectionately together. Then he passed rapidly from the position of a 
guide in lighter things to that of a serious adviser, and was by Philip made 
Duke of San Lucar, whence his title of '* Count-Duke." He had already 
reached middle age without having meddled with State affairs, hence the 
amazement in Madrid at the report that this most jovial of Court cavaliers 
had turned politician. The presents customary under Lerma were strictly 
forbidden ; nobody denied that the favourite's hands were clean. But 
on the other hand he substituted for his predecessor's obliging manners 
a hitherto unheard-of haughty, overbearing, abrupt demeanour, even towards 
persons of high birth, so that in those early years he already drew down 
upon himself the universal hatred, followed by a general clamour for his 
removal from the Court. Who could have foreseen at that time that he 
would have held his ground for fully two-and-twenty years longer ? 

No minister has been made the butt of so many squibs and pasquinades. 
" All wished him dead ; " nay they wished the king himself dead, in order 
to be rid of his minister, who since the decease of Ziiftiga (October 1622) 
had remained without a rival. Early in that year he had already secured 
possession of the royal signet-ring, thanks to which the ante-chamber was soon 
cleared. On one occasion the king expressing his surprise at the appear- 
ance of two solitary suppliants, the aytida de cdmara led him to a window 
and pointed to the throng streaming up and down in front of Olivares' apart" 
ments. In order to give the young sovereign an overwhelming idea of the 

Digitized by 


Olivares. 115 

magnitude of State cares he often presented himself laden with ofScial 
documents, a wreath of memorials stuck round his hat-band, confidential 
papers crammed into his bosom and girdle ; and when he went abroad he 
never failed to provide himself with a goodly stock of books, charts and 
deeds of all kinds. Hence his Court nickname of El Espaniajo de los Reyes 
(" the Scarecrow of Kings "). 

Nevertheless he left nothing undone to overtake arrears of work. He 
renounced amusements, kept a frugal board, lived plainly, toiled night and 
day, rose an hour before dawn, so that people wondered how he could stand 
the fatigue. He often received the envoys in bed, when resting, from over- 
work or after a dose of medicine. Philip could no longer dispense with the 
presence of Don Caspar, whose first and last visit was to the king. But 
while making a show of enthusiastic devotion, no one was more anxious to 
divert the attention of this crowned stripling from the administration than 
the old graduate of Salamanca, who in his thorny ministerial career still 
maintained intimate relations with intellectual persons Uke Quevedo and 
Cdngora. Numerous dedications bear his name, and his own large library 
he had transferred to his residence in the palace, which stood on the west 
side under the king's apartments. After his fall the books were carted 
away in a hundred , large boxes. The only presents people dared make 
him were works of Art and paintings. Rubens' large decorative pictures 
in his Church at Loeches, now in Grosvenor House, were a gift from the 

Such was the statesman of whom it was said that through him the 
monarchy forfeited more lands than it had ever acquired through any 
conqueror ; defiant and unfortunate rival of Richelieu, whom he envied, 
dreaded, and in vain plotted to overthrow; a favourite who ruled his 
sovereign, " not as a mhiister but as the unrestrained controller of all State 
• affairs " (Voiture) ; one of those fateful men that their evil genius reserves 
for States on the decline. 

The pictures of him executed by Velazquez at the beginning and towards" 
the close of his career rank amongst the foremost studies of character in 
modern portrait painting. 

This character was in a high degree labyrinthine. His quick and pene- 
trating grasp, his zeal, his resolution, have never been questioned. He 
doubtless himself believed that he acted only in the interest of his king, 
whom he named El Grande, anticipating what he fondly hoped to make him. 
In him the instinct of universal sway, with which Charles V. had inspired 
the nation, had 'once more found embodiment. Still with men of this stamp 
such goals are inseparable from personal ambition. 

Digitized by 


ii6 Velazquez. 

But he also lacked the political temperament, and it was apparently his 
misfortune that without proper training he found himself at the helm of the 
State. His brain was eccentric and fitful, untrustworthy, borracho (** in- 
toxicated"), as he was called in a contemporary lampoon ; dazzled by novelty, 
without tact in the choice of his counsellors. At the outset of an enterprise 
he overrode all difficulties, and then lost his head at failures, to which as long 
as possible his eyes were closed. Then he wept, and had to be comforted 
by the king himself. And all this was combined with a blind obstinacy, 
with which he pursued the wrong course even amid the most threatening 

He was gifted with a certain fluency of speech, highly coloured in the 
taste of the times, now sarcastic, now vehement, and he liked to hear himself 
talk, although his impetuous torrents of eloquence indicated an overwrought 
brain. What availed his constitutional mistrust of all mankind, his Macchia- 
vellian unscrupulousness in the choice of means, when he allow^ed himself to 
be carried away by his passions ? For a single word uttered by an envoy 
might suffice to heap extreme contempt and threats on his king, nation, or 
minister. He was sensitive and incapable of pardoning a joke ; devout and 
even of a gloomy superstitious nature, speaking of the world and mundane 
vanities like a Capuchin friar, and keeping in his chamber a coffin, into which 
he occasionally entered to the notes of a De Profundis, ** I envy," he would 
exclaim, " the lot of the humblest palace sweeper I " In his character we 
fancy we see rising to the surface his early ecclesiastical training, for there is 
certainly a smack of priestcraft in his fondness for cabal and indirect ways, 
in his all-consuming love of sway and of revenge, in his long-winded 
tirades. He shrank from the shedding of blood, and he might after all have 
succeeded, had his policy not run counter to the under-current of the times. 
But his lines were thrown in the evil days when the tide of brief world-wide 
empire was ebbing fast, and Spain steadily subsiding within the natural limits 
of her mediaeval frontiers. 

Portraits of Oiivares. — In the Madrid Museum, and so far as is known 
to me in all Spain, there is but one portrait of the count-duke by the 
master's hand, and that . belonging to the last period of his life. But can 
Velazquez have taken his patron once only in the course of two-and-twenty 
years ? Apart from the somewhat vain original himself, surely the great 
courtiers and even foreign princes must have occasionally bespoken a likeness 
of the dreaded statesman ! At the same time it is just as easy to under- 
stand that such portraits might have disappeared with his fall. For who 
would any longer endure the proximity of this hated sinister effigy ? However 
the fact is, that besides numerous contemporary easel-pieces and copies, 

Digitized by 


Olivares. 1 i 7 

there still exist several undoubted originals abroad, as well as copper-plates 
of others now lost, but also by Velazquez. 

The extant pictures and engravings form two distinct groups. The first, 
not very numerous, represent him between the middle of his thirtieth and his 
fortieth year ; they are in the master's first manner, and by far the more 
attractive. Here we have a grand head with strong but noble features, 
suggesting rather a condottiere of the Thirty Years' War than the political 
intriguer fluent of speech and pen, and the superintendent of his Majesty's 
lighter gaieties. 

Such features we might suppose were those of his renowned ancestor 
Guzman el Bueno, revived as it were in this unwarlike descendant of his 1 
stock. " He is of handsome appearance," says Khevenhiller, " and looks 
like a Roman emperor." Here are still the traces of that " tall, hand- 
some cavalier, the most gallant man in the Court and the best horseman in 
Spain" (Correr), 

We see him at the beginning of his career in the Dorchester House 
portrait, probably from the collection of the Altamira family, which inherited 
the title of Duke of San Lucar. This is the most important portrait in the 
earliest Sevillan style, and its authenticity has been doubted simply because 
that style is otherwise unknown.* The peculiarities of figure and head acutely 
observed and finely expressed, the accuracy with which attitude, costume 
and insignia are reproduced, as thought out both by the artist and his subject, 
make it a biographical compendium painted with the caracte'risiiqtie of a 

On a light grey ground stands the stately figure turned three-quarters to 
to the left, all in black, his piercing side glance following the observer. The 
high forehead with its strongly marked bosses (especially the central) is 
already surmounted by a wig. Nose bent downwards, narrow and somewhat 
contracted upper-lip, projecting chin (corresponding to the prominent 
occiput), short, square-cut beard, earnest expression, harmonizing with the 
long and wide black cloak, which hangs loosely and gracefully over the left 
shoulder, leaving the figure almost free. The firm right hand, resting on 
a table covered with red velvet, grasps an almost vertical riding-stick, or 
wand, badge of the Master of the Horse (Caballerizo Mayor), 

This most influential of Court offices, formerly held by Ruy Gomez and 
Lerma, was the key to his ascendency over the sovereign. His left hand 
rests on the sword-belt concealed by the cloaK, as is also the sword itself, 

* At Col. Hugh Baillie's sale, 1858, it fetched ^598 ids. ; at Charles Scarisbrick's, May, 
1861, only £^7h2 los. It is 85 inches high by 51 (Curtis, No. 171). It was in the Exhibition 
of the Old Masters of 1887, El Conde-Duque inscribed in the lower left corner. 

Digitized by 


ii8 Velazquez. 

seen however in the silhouette of the cloak, which it causes to stand out 
behind. From the girdle peeps out the Lord Chamberlain's gold key ; a 
bandolier worked with gold leaves crosses the breast, while the green cross 
of the Order of Alcantara is attached to doublet and cloak. On the table 
lie the commander's staff, and the hat with jewelled clasp. The self- 
conscious glance seems to say : Todo es mio — as he remarked to his pre- 
decessor Uceda about the time of Philip's accesion. The treatment recalls 
the Shepherds in its firm but still hard drawing, execution with spare 
itnpastOf rounding of contours effected by broad light shading. 

The portrait seems like a significant pendant to that of Philip — on the 
one hand the hot-blooded, inexperienced, well-meaning youth, thinking 
only of his gallantries, sport, and theatricals ; on the other the crafty old 
fox, the whole pack giving tongue. The popularity of the work is shown by 
the still extant repetitions, such as that of Henry Huth, which had been 
purchased in 1853 by Henry Farrar for £^2^ los.* 

Another and earlier work, as shown by the absence of the wig, was the 
original of Paul Pontius' splendid engraving, for which Rubens supplied 
the emblematic surroundings. According to Smith's catalogue this 
engraving was made from a fine original in grisaille^ evidently prepared by 
Velazquez for this purpose. In the first impression the beard reaches only 
to the golilla^ while the hair is so thin that the scalp shows through. 
The bust is in armour with a crimson scarf across the left shoulder. The 
drawing is faithfully reproduced by Pontius; but in the glow of the face 
surfaces and the vivid glance one recognizes the school of Rubens. By 
the Latin verses on the socle we are also invited to honour the profound, 
earnest, honest statesman in this intellectual head. 

Above this socle with Caspar Gevartius' distichs, on either side of which 
are seated two winged youths with the emblems of Minerv^a and Hercules^ 
stands the pedestal with the family escutcheon supporting the portrait in an 
oval frame with pearl-strings, wreath of palms, torches and trumpets. 
Above the portrait is a group symbolizing the goal that lies hidden behind 
this /rows serena — the globe crowned by the winged laurel wreath, and over it 
the evening star encircled by the snake — emblem of Hesperia's universal 
sway to the end of time, a sway however, which, as promised by the olive 
branch, also brings universal peace. 

Lastly we have a very singular full-length portrait, in the possession of 
the Duke of Villahermosa, in Madrid, which however is by another hand 
and executed before the arrival of Velazquez. This picture, with the head 

* It was originally in a private collection in Madrid, whence it passed to Louis Philippe's 
Spanish Gallery, and thence through Farrar to Huth in 1863. 

Digitized by 




planted more between the shoulders on a heavy trunk, looks like a scenic 
piece with its massive gold chains and gold spurs. Yet it perhaps ex- 


presses the eccentric character of the man, if somewhat exaggerated, better 
than those more dignified interpretations. The ingenious suggestion has 

Digitized by 


I20 Velazquez. 

been made that it may be a portrait of his brother, because of the puzzling 
red cross of Calatrava, for Olivares elsewhere wears the green Order of 
Alcantara, and no one could be a knight of two Orders. But Orders could 
be exchanged and substituted one for another, as in fact was the case with 
Olivares. In 1623 the Marquis of Castel Rodrigo had to surrender to 
him his Alc^tara Order, which was worth twelve thousand ducats, being 
indemnified by the Order of Christ with additional allowance. 

Olivares was hump-shouldered, and to judge from Pedro Ferret's 
engraving in an account of Constantinople dedicated to him his figure by no 
means corresponded to Voiture's description. The deformity was masked by 
the artist's skilful arrangement of the costume. 

Charles Prince of Wales. 

Amongst Velazquez* first portraits in Madrid was that of Charles Stuart, 
at that time Prince of Wales, who was on a visit to the Court, with a view 
to a contemplated marriage with the infanta. The prince gave him a sitting 
shortly before his departure ; but it ended in a mere sketch, for which the 
artist received a hundred escudos, together with Charles' "special mark of 
favour." No mention occurs in any inventory of this sketch, about the 
pretended rediscovery of which an Englishman some years ago created no 
little sensation. 

But the stay of this Art-loving prince at the Court was not altogether 
without results. His enthusiasm for paintings, especially of the Venetian 
school, may have opened the young king's eyes to the value of his inherited 
treasures. When Charles saw Titian's famous Antiope, the Venus of El 
Pardo, with its grand Alpine landscape, he spoke of it in such terms that, 
in accordance with the rules of Spanish etiquette, Philip felt bound to make 
him a present of it. By a decree of June 1 1 he ordered the Marquis de 
Flores D^vila to consign the work to Balthasar Gerbier, painter to the 
Prince of Wales, "because he had heard that the prince had expressed 
his approval of it." This was amongst the most highly valued Court 
paintings, and when Philip III. heard of the fire in the palace in which 
perished some of the best works, and especially Philip II.'s Portrait Gallery, 
his first enquiry was for this Titian, adding, "That's a comfort, for all the 
rest can be replaced." 

Accordmg to Bathoe's catalogue of the royal collection Charles must 
have also brought from Spain : The Giri with the Fur Cloak, probably the same 
that passed to the Crozat collection and thence to the Hermitage ; a John 
the Baptist with the reed cross pointing forwards ; and the Portrait of 

Digitized by 


The Italian Court Painters. 121 

Charles V. with the Irish wolf-dog. The last mentioned was afterwards 
brought back by the Spanish ambassador ; but according to Carducho Philip 
also presented Charles with several of the mythological pieces from the Titian 
apartment behind the ''Emperors' Garden," and the Court painter himself 
saw both Dianas at the Bath, the Danae and the Europa "with the rest" 
already packed up. The prince however went off without taking them with 
him, perhaps because he had already made up his mind to break off the 
engagement with the infanta. Nevertheless six years later Sir Francis 
Cottington appears to have been still looking after those works : " I will 
inquire for thos pictures of the Conde de Benevente, and indever to gett allso 
thos of Titian, w^ I left in y« Palace y« P^ time."^ 

These gifts and purchases were the beginnings of what afterwards grew to 
be the first Titian collection in Europe. Five years later Charles secured the 
Gonzaga Gallery in Mantua ; and when he could not get the originals he had 
copies taken, engaging for the purpose Michael Cross and the miniature 
painter Peter Oliver. But at that time it was easy enough to get copies in 
Madrid. When Count Harrach visited the Alcazar under the guidance of 
Carrefio, he saw a painter there who was working up a regular stock, and 
bought of him four Guidps and two small Correggios.^ 

The Italian Court Painters. 

During these early years Velazquez executed his first historical work — 
an episode from the history of the immediate past. The painting, which was 
partly allegorical and so far unique, has completely disappeared, and might 
consequently be disposed of in a few lines. But the occasion of its produc- 
tion opens a perspective of the circumstances and pursuits of the local Art 
world and of our master's relations to it, which is not merely of biographical 
but of general historical interest 

After his first success he might have seemed in a position to disregard the 
rivalry of colleagues ; but one can now see that it was not quite so. He had 
entered a sphere in which success, whether real or superficial, was wont to be 
attended by consequences which could not fail to remind him that he was now 
a courtier. A contemporary writer assures us that there were then in Madrid 
brilliant talents and daring colourists numerous enough to supply the wants 
of many cities and even states ; hence neither could there be any lack of envy 
and emulation. To sit in judgment on the merits of Jiving and dead artists 
was a favourite entertainment of the choice wits of the capital, and the 

* Cottington to Endymion Porter, Nov. 2, 1629. Sainsbury, Rubens, 293. 
^ Diary, ^^^ch 4, 1675. 

Digitized by 


122 Velazquez. 

extremely few who were fortunate enough to rise above the surface might 
well be prepared for some sharp criticism. Nor was Velazquez spared 
certain captious remarks and disparaging comparisons. 

At the head of this circle of artists stood the last survivors of the Escorial 
group, many of whom during the previous reign had still been engaged in 
completing the decorative work of the Pardo Palace. There were three 
Italians, to whom had fallen the eagerly desired though scantily endowed 
post of Court painters {pintor del rey). In 1623 Velazquez found as his 
colleagues, besides Gonzalez, the two Italians Vincenzo Carducho and 
Eugenio Caxesi. Carducho was a native of Florence, but while still quite 
young had removed to Spain with his much older brother Bartolommeo. But 
Caxesi, although the son of a citizen of Arezzo, was himself bom in Madrid 
in the year 1577. After the death of Gonzalez his place was filled by a 
third, Angelo Nardi, who however had completed his education in Italy, and 
had not removed to Spain till about 161 5. 

Thus it was that Velazquez found himself associated with three artists of 
Tuscan descent, and although one had never been to Italy, all three doubtless 
had a national fellow-feeling, were intimate friends, had jointly executed 
many works, and were quietly convinced of the innate superiority of their 
race in all Art matters. And in point of fact no one could approach them in 
knowledge, tact, and productiveness. Their reputation was attested by their 
works in the most opulent and renowned sanctuaries, in the Sagrario of 
Toledo, in Guadalupe, and in many foundations of wealthy Churchmen. 
They also wielded the pen, writing either original works or translations from 
the Italian for the improvement of Art education in Spain. 

But with characteristic pliancy they had withal adapted themselves to 
the Spanish national spirit, as indeed all must do who would hold their 
ground in that country. From their works no one would probably suspect 
them to be Italians. Moreover, although their spokesman, Carducho, calls that 
Escorial interlude the epoch " when the true knowledge and appreciation of 
Art was introduced into Spain," and although two of them were very nearly 
related to some of the painters of the period of Philip II., nevertheless their 
style had nothing in common with that of their elder kindred, or of the 
Escorial painters Pellegrini, Zuccari, Cambiasi. They could not escape from 
the changes of time, although they still regarded the present as a period of 

Vincenzo Carducho's paintings show as little resemblance to those of his 
brother Bartolommeo as do the works of Cristofano Allori and Matteo Rosselli 
to those of Angiolo Bronzino and Rossi. They lack the strong sense 
of style of those lauded mannerists with their contrasts and ideal forms^ 

Digitized by 


Caxesi ; Nardi. 123 

their erudition and powerful draughtsmanship, their clear, cold, variegated 
colouring. But on the other hand we meet many things which they seem 
theoretically to regard as worthless. We see them, though perhaps reluc- 
tantly and in a half-hearted way, occasionally condescend to national 
individualism, to minute detail in accessories, to strong colour and light 
effects. And withal we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that of their 
productions but very few are able to deeply interest us. 

Caxesi, — Eugenio Caxesi's father was that Patrizio who had translated 
Vignola's Five Institutions (1593) ; but his mother was a Spaniard, Casilda de 
Fuentes, daughter of Juan Manzano, master of the works at the Escorial. In his 
paintings we notice broad masses of shade with indifference to the middle 
tones and colours, national types and a certain sombre grandeza. Judging 
from his Passion pieces in the chief church of AlcaU one would feel inclined 
to class him with the tenebrosi His Madonna (Prado, 698) is a Castilian with 
thick eyebrows and small black eyes. But neither he nor his colleagues 
should be judged from a number of hasty decorative pieces ; yet a visit to 
St. Antonio de los Portugueses would be repaid by a sight of his Saints 
Elizabeth and Engracia, two simple monastic but still royal figures, their 
legends spiritedly sketched in the background. His Agamemnon in the 
salon nuevo of the palace was valued at a thousand ducats, none of which 
however came his way; and the work, on which he had bestowed much 
time and labour, has perished. More fortunate was another dealing 
with contemporary history, of which more anon ; it betrays his tendency 
towards the manner of the painter whom he at the time confronted as a 

Nardi. — The Florentine Angelo Nardi had the advantage above the others 
of having been recently trained in Italy, probably on the principles of the 
Bolognese Academy, and more especially of the Venetians. He is best 
represented by the series in the Bemardine Nunnery at Alcaic, begun in 
1618 and completed in 162 1. The work was so well received that he was 
forthwith entrusted with a more comprehensive series of fifteen pieces for 
the church of the same Order at Jaen, and with a third for the Chapel of the 
Concepcion in La Guardia. 

The Alcaic work comprised seven large altar-pieces and two for the side 
walls of the Capilla mayor. In these we see an artist who has mastered all 
the pictorial resources of the Italians after the receipts of the Caracci Eclectics. 
Here the learned drawing of the Roman school is combined with the pictorial 
effects of the North Italians, Tintoretto's strong chiaroscuro and bold 
foreshortenings, Paolo Veronese's gorgeous colouring and costumes. His 
beautiful young St. Sebastian, his powerful Peter Crucified, are pre-eminent 

Digitized by 


1 24 Velazquez. 

amongst many analogous works; his St Laurence and the Assumption are 
replete with studies of Titian. Interest is imparted to these productions by 
their varied invention, animated exposition, strong motive m the action, the 
prancing horse for instance, an often recurring motive. He was especially 
happy in his treatment of chiaroscuro for indicating the planes, for giving 
prominence or the reverse to his chief figures, for night scenes and glorias 
let down on the groups by a well-calculated light from above. 

Carducho. — The third and foremost of the Court painters was the Floren- 
tine Vincenzo Carducho (appointed in 1 609), whose brother Bartolommeo had 
worked with Zuccaro at the dome of the Florentine Cathedral. The few 
surviving works of Bartolommeo, such as the Last Supper and the Descent 
of the Cross, now in the Prado, are the purest and most conscientious of all 
the productions of these Escorial painters, still showing in their colouring 
the taste of Andrea del Sarto's school. Vincenzo, educated entirely by 
his brother, was called the universal heir of his Art ; but the fact is Bar- 
tolommeo is incomparably superior, despite the vastly more- numerous works 
of the younger brother. 

Vincenzo had quite the constitution of the great Italians, their animation 
and versatility, their astounding energy. So far as regards number and 
dimensions his productions have been equalled by no Spaniard. They are 
even met with abroad, as in Dresden, in the Hermitage and in the Esterhazy 
collection. As he was a popular teacher he was doubtless able to avail 
himself of numerous pupils in the execution of so many comprehensive 
works after his own drawings and sketches. 

In his treatise on painting Carducho has left a monument of his talent 
as an author. He appears in the character of an earnest person, with strict 
principles and a lofty sense of the dignity of his Art. His portrait, which 
Stirling-Maxwell possessed, and the engraving in his work after another 
likeness, show a long face with high forehead of almost ascetic severity, 
heavy large-jointed hands. 

From his earliest known works, especially the St. Francis in Valladolid 
(1606) and the Baptist Preaching in the Academy (1610), he appears to 
have begun his career in Valladolid. In the paintings of the retablo in 
Guadalupe he employs strong light effects, while in the scenes from the 
history of St. Juan de Mata (Don Sebastian's Gallery) we find on the con- 
trary the lighter colouristic manner of the second Florentine school. At the 
same time his expression is feeble, his exposition theatrical, his sentiment 

Precisely at the time when he comes within the scope of our narrative, 
we find him undertaking his most comprehensive commission — the fifty-five 

Digitized by 


Carducho. 125 

scenes from the history of the Carthusians, painted in oil on the largest scale, 
for the cloisters of the Carthusian Monastery in Paular. When the mo- 
nastic foundations were suppressed these paintings were removed to the 
National Museum of Sta. Trinidad, in Madrid, and after the dispersion of that 
collection some of the best were still to be seen in the upper gallery of the 
Ministerio del Fomento. For this commission he received in four yearly in- 
stalments (1628-32) altogether six thousand ducats. Besides the chalk draw- 
ings on blue paper heightened with white he also made coloured sketches for 
the work. In the Scottish National Gallery is seen under the name of Velaz- 
quez the Pope's Dream, a spirited little painting, which promises more than 
is realized in his finished productions. The rich red tints of the foreground 
with the Pope's tent, the deeply saturated charming landscape farther back, 
the ^whole bathed in a silvery shimmer, produce a general effect which seems 
to explain the name attached to this work. 

The perusal of Carducho's book leads one to expect a production perhaps 

in a severe style, or else in a manner somewhat resembling that of Le Sueur, 

with whom not only Stirling-Maxwell but even Frenchmen have compared 

to their advantage the Paular paintings. But Spanish taste was too strong 

even for such a systematic head as Vincenzo's. At the same time the 

composition displays much Art, and the white habits of the tall monkish 

figures are certainly excellent studies. But what is chiefly remarkable in these 

pictures is precisely what he theoretically disregards, that is, the epical 

fulness of the narrative and of the accessories ; the rich scenery and airy 

architecture, extensive Castilian views abounding in figures, monastic and 

peasant types, the varied, genial, ecstatic or grim motives of the monkish 

legends. The ghastly scene depicting Raymund's exequies is worthy of 

Hofmann himself. 

In order to catch the spirit of the Spanish monastic style, Carducho had 
visited Valencia, where he had heard of Ribalta's works, and had also made 
a trip to Granada, where the Carthusian Juan Sanchez Cotan (ob. 1627), 
formerly a friar of Paular, had treated the same subjects in the religious 
house before the Elvira Gate. With all his Tuscan pride he could stoop to 
copy such models as these. Whoever visits Sta. Trinidad is struck by two 
lovely Madonnas, visions by which St. Bruno was twice favoured, the second 
time at his last hour. There is nothing of Spanish womanhood about them ; 
but Stirling-Maxwell ventures the opinion that few Castilians would have 
realized the tender sensuous beauty of his Holy Virgins (Annals i., 423). 
Now the fact is these very Madonnas are simply faithful copies of the devout 
creations of that mystic Fray Juan of Granada ! How much colder and 
more theatrical is Carducho's own Madonna in his best altar-piece, the 

Digitized by 


1 26 Velazquez. 

showy glowing Annunziata in the Church of the Encarnacion in Madrid, 
although here he reaches the summit of his Art as a colourist ! 

Carducho, like the whole period, has already lost the style which he 
preaches in his book ; he lacks the great personality that an artist with these 
professions should possess. But in him we also miss the truth to Nature, 
which he barely condescends to recognize, the truth of sentiment and 
conviction. Hence his works remain mediocre, with all their learning and 
many-sided cleverness. 

Carducho's Work on Painting, — Meanwhile our three Tuscans, who had 
it hitherto all their own way, suddenly saw themselves confronted by a 
young man from the provinces, honoured with office and emoluments, more 
highly favoured than any painter since the time of Philip II. He certainly 
did not poach on their preserves, and made no attempt to interfere with their 
retablos and decorative work on the ceilings of the royal apartments. But 
the wounds of vanity are often felt more keenly than those of interest. 

And on what was this success built up ? Where were the credentials of 
the true artist ? Portraits, scenes of low life, things rather calculated to cast 
doubt on his claims to be considered an artist at all ! Nor had he yet shown 
himself capable of at all competing with them. But presently two hostile 
camps were seen bidding each other defiance. Carducho had often given 
utterance to his feelings of resentment, and now he at last found an 
opportunity of embodying them in a work of general interest. His Didlogos 
were certainly not published till 1633 ; but the section devoted to current 
topics he had doubtless long been preaching. 

Cean Bermudez calls it the best work on painting in the Spanish language 
(i., 251), and it is undoubtedly written in a clear, vigorous style. It is even 
more spirited than Pacheco's book ; only it lacks his directness and copious 
original notices. His description of Italy, from the mouth of a returned 
traveller, is extracted from Vasari ; but the Spanish writer knew much 
more about Florence than this Florentine. He attributes the Cathedral 
Campanile to Cimabue ; the Perseus to Bramante ; groups Fra Angelico with 
the sculptors; and holds Michael Angelo's David to be a work about "as 
remarkable as Bandinelli's Hercules." 

The outward occasion for the appearance of the work was the persistent 
attempt of the finance department to place artists in the matter of taxation 
on the same level as artizans, and to this burning question of the times much 
space is devoted. But a far more serious topic is the growing tendency 
towards naturalism, the author's hatred of which is inspired by his " zeal 
for the reputation of painting and his fear of its ruin." The dignity, he 
argues, that we claim for our Art is based on its intellectual character, its 

Digitized by 


Carducho. 127 

** scientific method." The great (third) epoch, that of Michael Angelo and 
Raphael, was one of scientific rules and precepts, of learned painting (docta 
pinturd), Buonarroti was the master of masters, thanks to his knowledge ; 
the intention of the Pope to deposit his remains in St. Peter's was a homage 
to Science. For is not our creative work an intellectual process ? Is it not 
contemplation, the inner painting, that achieves the outward result? On this 
alone rests its claim to take its place beside the privileged '* liberal Arts." 
Hence true painters are also the imaginative poets of our time ; and here 
amongst others mention is made of Calderon, Lope, Camoens, but above 
all — G6ngora ! 

Thus, while the true artist is a thinker, a dialectician, who with pen and 
pencil "argues, demonstrates, disproves, concludes," the naturalist on the 
contrary is a mere reader, who cannot think beyond what he finds in the 
book (of Nature). If we depict Nature alone as displayed before our eyes, 
where is there room for the mind ? Art becomes a mere matter of exercise, 
of dexterity — that is, a craft ! That " truth and vividness," at which the 
general public are so enraptured and entranced, is merely a function of the 
potentia operativa — the manual faculty. Those who without preparatory 
sketch dash off with a bit of chalk on the canvas, and forthwith proceed to 
paint direct from Nature, often finishing half of the figure before considering 
hovsr the other half will look, are no artists, but, ''as a prince in Madrid 
called them, sectaries." It is such that bring discredit on painting; but 
especially the genre painters — that is, those who paint the lower classes — 
" injure Art without bringing themselves any honour." 

Was the Master Aristotle also wrong when he opposed Art as a practical 
faculty to theoretic activity ? We do not 'deny that between knowledge 
and practice there lies a difference, that the realized alone is understood 
and approved. But logic teaches that the use of Science is not Science. 
Yet naturalism is mere routine if severed from the Art that should be 
cultivated ; hence such naturalism is excluded by our author from the 
category of painting. 

None can certainly deny that these naturalistic works have the breath of 
life; but this quality is of no value, as seen in the works of the great masters 
of the past *' Drawing and again drawing, contemplation and again more 
drawing, such is the business of the painter. To sketch, expunge and 
again sketch, such is the way to greatness. Art consists in invention and 
composition, in good forms and proportion. Drawing is the foundation and 
the whole of painting, its life-giving sun." It produces the good work, which 
is decked and sustained by colour. But its charms may deviate from the 
truth and cloak many errors. The Venetian school, still drawn towards 

Digitized by 


128 Velazquez. 

beauty and ease, despised drawing, because it shunned thoughtful work. Of 
that school it was said that they were great colourists and poor draughtsmen ; 
great in practice but bad theorists. 

Such were the principles of Carducho and his friends, on which are based 
his violent diatribes against current taste, and his gloomy forebodings. 

A false prophet has arisen, whose appearance may perhaps be regarded 
as a prophecy of the ruin and end of painting. An enthusiast for our Art 
has said : " As at the end of this visible world the Anti-Christ, claiming to be 
the true Christ, will beguile many peoples to their perdition by his imaginary 
wonders and monstrous deeds, but which are deceitfully false, without truth 
or permanence, so now also an Anti-Michael Angelo has arisen, who by his 
farfetched and outward imitation, by his marvellous animation, has contrived 
to persuade all kinds of people that such is good painting and that his is the 
right method and teaching ; thus has he turned them aside from the path of 
immortality. With his new food and his highly-seasoned sauce he has 
stirred up such lust and licence, that we may doubt whether Nature will be 
able to digest such strong diet without bringing on a stroke of apoplexy. 
Who has ever painted, and so well painted, as this monster of wit and 
talent, almost without rules, instruction, studies, merely with the Art of 
his genius and with Nature before his eyes ? " No doubt there are 
subjects for which naturalism is thoroughly suited, but are they such as to 
confer honour on our Art ? Scenes of low life {bodegones), tipplers (bor^ 
rachos) blacklegs and the like, where the great expenditure of thought con- 
sists in portraying four impudent tramps and two abandoned women to the 
detriment of Art, and with little fame to the artist. 

But there remains their last stronghold, portraiture ! Doubtless here the 
only method is to keep Nature before our eyes ; but then portraiture is a 
branch of subordinate worth, and " no great and extraordinary painter has 
ever been a portraitist." For such a painter would improve Nature by 
reason and learned practice, whereas here he must subordinate himself to 
the model whether it be good or bad, playing false to his own insight, 
and renouncing all choice. Carducho scoffs at the contemporary misuse 
of portraiture, which, like Francisco de Holanda, he would wish reserved for 
distinguished personages, rulers, benefactors of mankind, saints. To the lack 
of self-respect in the artists he attributes this misuse. 

In all this we see the same passionate tone as pervades Malvasia's work. 
The foe is the same ; but the standpoint is different. Carducho is a 
stranger to the system of the Italian Academy, and in his work no mention 
occurs of anyone of the Bolognese School at that time so popular. And how 
could Eclecticism take root in Spain, where the great masters were absent, 

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The Moriscos. 129 

from whose several excellencies choice would have to be made ? Carducho's 
system is in fact the old Roma no- Florentine Mannerism of the sixteenth 

The Expulsion of the Moriscos. 

In Carducho's book mention occurs once only of Velazquez* name, 
where reference is made to the authors of the great paintings in the new 
mirrored hall of the Alcazar, obviously for the sole purpose of associating his 
own and his friend Caxesi's name with those of Titian, Rubens, etc. From 
this Stirling-Maxwell concludes that Carducho meant to speak " with respect 
and admiration " of Velazquez.* But although the book did not appear till 
1633, the following considerations will make it pretty evident that it was 
discussions of this sort that gave rise to the controversy presently to be 

The painter Jusej)e Martinez, who, as a friend of Velazquez, may have 
been well informed on the point, tells us^ that the king came to hear of some 
such views of portraiture as the above, with special reference to Velazquez. 
" They reproach him," remarked the king one day, " that he can do nothing 
but paint heads," hearing which Diego retorted : '* These gentlemen pay me 
a great compliment ; I at least know no one who knows how to paint a good 
head." But he did not allow the matter to rest there, for he also felt himself 
quite capable of entering the lists with them in their own department of 
historical painting. 

Thus originated the idea of a pictorial competition, and in fact Velazquez 
himself may perhaps have suggested to the king this chivalrous way of 
deciding the question. 

Philip accordingly proposed a subject from the national history, to be 
treated on the same scale of three ells high and five broad by his four 
painters : Carducho, Caxesi, Nardi, and Velazquez. A commission was 
appointed to give judgment, and everything so settled as to leave neither side 
any ground for complaint. 

The subject was the Expulsion of the Moriscos^ from Valencia by 
Philip III. in 1609. ^^'^s mistaken measure of State policy had long been 
meditated, and at last brought about by the action of the zealous Archbishop 

^Annals, i., 418. 

' Discursos Practicables, ed. by V. Carderera (Madrid : 1866), p. 117. 

^ The term Morisco was properly applied to those Moors who, after the Conquest of 
Granada, their last stronghold, were allowed to remain in the country on the condition 
of accepting Christianity. — Translator. 


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130 Velazquez. 

Ribera of Valencia, one of the "shining lights" of the Roman prelacy. 
To the contemporary Spaniards with their belief in the infallibility of the 
traditional politico-ecclesiastical system the fatal step naturally appeared 
the most glorious event of the century, the heroic act of a sainted monarch, 
setting his seal to their final liberation from the African invaders. Thus 
Lope sang : — 

Por el tercero santo, el mar profundo 

al Africa pas6 (sentencia justa), 

despreciando siis b&rbaros tesoros, 

las Oltimas reliquias de los moros.' 

But these bdrbaros lesoros, thus lightly spoken of, meant nothing less than 
the wealth of a kingdom ; for the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of 
industrious citizens was but a link in the chain of suicidal acts, by which 
Spain precipitated her downward course to ruin. Chance or the fates, by a 
sort of grim irony, taking her contempt of '* barbaric store" at her word, so 
contrived that simultaneously with this event the news arrived of the capture 
of the Silver Fleet by the Dutch heretics in the Azore waters. 

Such an occurrence widely distributed over time and space, and origi- 
nating in subtle causes of a remote and intricate character, could naturally 
be treated only in a typical if not purely allegorical way, and for this 
imagination was needed. Now the Italians had said : " Should such a painter 
have to handle a topic of his own invention from his own resources, without 
having Nature before his eyes; should memory and imagination give the 
hands an opportunity of showing their owner's capacity, how bare and naked 
will then appear his poverty and slender parts 1 " This was a case in point. 
Philip III. was dead ; Velazquez had never seen him ; the costume was 
antiquated ; the scene (the Spanish seaboard) remote from Madrid. On the 
other hand it was a national theme, and many still survived who had seen 
the actors and the stage. 

In the painting the king stands in the centre, in armour and robed in 
white ; on his right a figure of Hispania in Roman garb, enthroned at the 
foot of an edifice, shield and spear in her right hand, ears of corn in her 
left — apparently the only completely allegorical figure ever painted by 
Velazquez. Philip points with his sceptre towards the coast, whither soldiers 
are escorting weeping Moors of every age and sex. The embarkation is 
going on in the background. 

As umpires were chosen a Spaniard and an Italian — the Dominican friar 
Maino of Toledo, and the Roman Giovanni Battista Crescenzi, both familiar 
with the Art circles of the Court. They pronounced in favour of Velazquez. 

* Corona Tragica^ 1627. 

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Rubens in Madrid. 131 

But the work has vanished. It is mentioned in the Inventory of 1686 and 
there valued at six hundred doubloons ; reference is again made to it in 
the testamentan'a of Charles II. (1701), and it was last seen and described by 
Palomino in 1724. Since then it disappears from the inventories, and no 
doubt perished in the fire at the palace in 1734. Neither has any drawing or 
copy of the original ever come to light. 

Rubens in Madrid. 

The nine months' visit of Rubens to the Court of Madrid was for 
Velazquez in several respects a stimulating, perhaps even an influential, 
event The Antwerp painter had long wished to revisit the southern 
regions, where he had travelled in his youth. Italy, the land of his early 
studies, contained the ideals of his Art, and he had hoped to obtain per- 
mission from the Stadtholder Isabella to pay it a second visit. But from 
a letter of the Duke of Buckingham, dated April 4, 1628, it appears that 
the question of sending him to Spain had at that time already been mooted. . 
The opportunity had come from England, where since the beginning of 
1627 the English minister had been communicating through Balthasar 
Gerbier, confidant of the Infanta, the desire to conclude peace with 
Spain. Rubens having thereupon offered to take charge of the letters that 
had been received from England on the subject, was sent to the Spanish 
Court on this mission, and entered the capital in the second week of 
September 1628. His position in connection with the affair was thus 
somewhat less than that of a diplomatist, somewhat more than that of courier, 
and might best be defined as that of a confidential interpreter or. expositor 
of the despatches that had been entrusted to him. After discharging this 
duty at a meeting of the cabinet on September 28 he gladly retreated into the 
background, henceforth zealously devoting himself to his proper business as 
an artist, as is evident from the astounding energy that he now displayed. 

Even from the period of his first visit twenty-five years previously Madrid 
possessed productions of his, which are inferior in importance neither to the 
portraits nor to the historic pieces now executed by him. Amongst them 
were the large Epiphany and the equestrian effigy of the Duke of Lerma, at 
that time in Valladolid and later regarded by De Monconys (1628) as one of 
the most remarkable paintings in Spain. 

Whatever he may have had specially in view, studies of the local Italian 
treasures, comprehensive commissions or the like, there can be no doubt that 
he fully accomplished his purpose. 

Digitized by 


132 Velazquez. 

On December 2, 1628, he writes to Peiresc : " Here as everywhere I keep 
busily at work with painting, and have already executed his Majest^s eques- 
trian portrait to his great satisfaction and approval, for he evidently takes 
quite a special pleasure in painting, and in my opinion this prince is endowed 
with the finest qualities. I already know him from personal intercourse, as I 
have a room in the palace, so that he almost daily visits me. I have also done 
the heads of the whole royal family true to life with every convenience in their 
presence on behalf of the illustrious Infanta, my mistress." 

But the fullest account of his activity is contained in Pacheco's book, and 
these particulars must have been communicated by Velazquez himself to his 

** He brought with him for his Majesty our Catholic King Philip IV. eight 
pictures on different subjects and of various sizes, which are placed in the new 
apartment with other glorious pieces. During his nine months* stay in 
Madrid without neglecting his weighty affairs, and although some days suffer- 
ing from the gout, he painted a great deal, so great is his skill and readiness. 
First of all he took the king, the queen and the princess half-length, to take 
back to Flanders ; he made five portraits of his Majesty, amongst them one 
mounted with other figures with great mastery. Then he also painted the 
Infanta [Margaret] in the Convent of the Barefoot Nuns more than half-length, 
and made copies of it. Of private persons he made five or six portraits. He 
copied everything of Titian's in the king's possession . . . and of portraits 
that of the Landgrave [Philip of Hesse], the Duke of Saxony [John Frederick 
the Magnanimous], Alba, [Francisco de los] Cobos, a Venetian doge [Gritti], 
and many other works even besides those belonging to the king. He copied 
the portrait (after Titian) of Philip II. full length and in armour. He altered 
some things in his own Adoration of the Kings in the palace ; for Don Diego 
Mexia (later Marquis of Leganes) a painting of the Conception two ells high, 
and for Don Jaime de Cardenas ... a John the Evangelist lifesize. It seems 
incredible that in so short a time and with so much business he could have 
painted so much. 

" He associated- little with painters, only with my son-in-law (with whom 
he had previously exchanged letters) he formed a friendship, and expressed 
himself very favourably on his works because of his modesty. They visited 
the Escorial together. 

*' In a word during the whole time of his stay at Court his Majesty and 
the chief ministers showed much appreciation of his person and talent. And 
H. M. favoured him with the post of a secretary to the Privy Council at 
the Brussels Court during his life and that of his son Albert, with a yearly 
stipend of one thousand ducats. After the conclusion of his business on his 

Digitized by 


Rubens in Madrid. 133 

taking leaving of the king the count-duke gave him a ring in the name of 
H. M. worth two thousand ducats/' 

It was formerly supposed that the above-mentioned copies of Titian were 
intended for Charles I. of England, who had himself seen the originals and in 
fact ordered copies to be made. It is possible that Rubens may have had his 
patron in view ; but on the other hand none of these copies were found in the 
collections of Charles Stuart. Rubens never parted with them, and all 
remained in his possession to the last. He doubtless also valued them as 
reminiscences of those happy days of freedom in Italy, and afterwards in 
Madrid as guest of the Spanish Court. 

One only of all these works is known to have been inspired by his Spanish 
surroundings, and this has the additional interest of being a memento of his 
intercourse with Velazquez, by whom he was accompanied on his trip to the 
Escorial. On this occasion they scaled a summit of the inhospitable Sierra, 
whence a view was commanded of the great foundation of Philip II. From 
the snow-capped peak of the Sierra San Juan en Malagon, the Sierra tocada^ so 
called because constantly wrapped in clouds, he took a sketch of the Escorial, 
which from this elevation seemed shrunk to the proportions of a jewelled 
casket, " with the village and the avenue Fresnada with the two ponds, the 
road to Madrid emerging on the horizon." *' The range," he wrote in April 
1640, to Balthasar Gerbier, **is very high and steep, difficult to climb and 
descend ; we saw the clouds far below us, with a clear and bright sky above 
us. On the summit is a huge wooden cross easily distinguished from Madrid, 
and a small church of St. John, where a recluse lives, who can here be sten 
with his ass. On one side is a tower and a house, where the king often 
withdrew when hunting. We saw much red deer." 

From this sketch were afterwards painted several pictures ; one according 
to Rubens himself by Peter Verhulst, a very indifferent artist, was seen by 
Edward Norgate, and by him described in such enthusiastic language to 
Charles I. that the king expressed a wish to possess it. Thereupon Rubens 
while declaring it unworthy of a place amongst the marvels of the royal 
cabinet had it completed by the landscape painter under his own guidance. 

Influence of Rubens on Velazquez. 
We learn from Pacheco that Rubens, who had formed such a poor 
opinion of Spanish painters during his first visit, on this occasion made in his 
son-in-law the acquaintance at least of one in whose works as well as person 
he found pleasure. '* He expressed himself very favourably on his pictures 
owing to his modesty," says Pacheco somewhat strangely, as if the modesty 

Digitized by 


134 Velazquez. 

were at least a concomitant reason of the approval. At the same time the 
later evidence of Caspar de Fuensalida refers to a Court tradition, according 
to which Rubens recognized Diego as what he was always held to be in the 
palace, *' the greatest painter that now exists or ever has existed in Europe."* 
His name does not occur in Rubens' correspondence; but we have a clear 
indication of their relations in that engraving by Pontius mentioned at 
p. 1 1 8, and in the comprehensive orders received in Antwerp, which could 
scarcely have ensued without Velazquez* co-operation. 

I have brought together the data connected with Rubens' second visit to 
Madrid, in order to enable the reader to form some idea of the impression 
he may have produced on Velazquez. Recently an important turning point 
in Diego's style has been referred to this event ; the Velazquez style proper 
has even been traced to the teaching and imitation of Rubens, and it would 
not be surprising presently to find him described in catalogues as the " pupil 
of Herrera, Pacheco and Rubens." But as it is our conviction that Velazquez 
has to thank himself alone for what constitutes his true artistic work, it 
will be important for the purposes of this biography to come to a clear 
understanding on the point. 

A critic in the Quarterly Review for October 1872 already detected in the 
portrait of Philip IV. (Prado, 1071), at that very time painted by Diego, 
a change of manner due to the advice of Rubens, a change perceptible 
especially in the warmer and transparent carnations, although still by no 
means lustrous. 

The Madrid collection also produced the impression on Jean Rousseau* 
of a difference between the works executed before and after Rubens' visit. 
From Rubens, he remarks, evidently date his finest qualities — the enchanting 
and chivalrous freedom of execution, the wonderful blending of his tints, the 
delicious freshness and the light, which distinguish them from those of all 
the masters ; the severe Pacheco could have taught him nothing of all this. 
But, it may be asked, why need he have learnt it from anyone ? Was it 
necessary to bring a man from the foggy Netherlands to show him the light 
in the torrid land of Spain ? 

Even Spaniards have accepted this hypothesis. Villaamil {op. cit. p. 141) 
thinks " the influence is clearly shown in the painting, which be began and 
ended during Rubens' stay; a painting which in its subject as well as 
in its arrangement, naturalness, power of light and strength of expression, 
colour and drawing, marks a new era in Velazquez' style, greatly reminding 
one of the Flemish painter's command of glowing colours — the Borrachos." 

* Revista Europea, 1874, ii., 275. 

* Peintres Flamands en Espagne. 



Influence of Rubens on Velazquez. 135 

For the panegyrists this was of course bringing grist to the mill. ''The 
most useful instruction was his [Rubens'] working before his eyes, showing 
the neophyte (!) the processes by which he attained his unrivalled splendour. . . 
The Borrachos reveal the transformation that its author passed through ; they 
seem in many places — [Has the writer seen them ?]— to reflect the glowing 
tones which burst from the pencil of the Antwerp master." 

That about this time his style underwent a change is true enough, and it 
was long known that the parting line beween the first and second manners lay 
about the year 1630. The earlier works, compared with those of Rubens and 
with his own later productions, appear hard, jejune, dark in the shading, 
while those immediately following are diffused with an all-pervading light and 
are more pictorial in colour and outlines. But then close on Rubens' visit 
followed the Italian journey, and the Forge of Vulcan, the first work painted 
on the new principles came from Rome. Meanwhile he had been to Venice, 
and had, as he said, discovered the "good and the beautiful" in Titian 
and Tintoretto. Hence, if the transformation be not considered sufficiently 
explained by the inward ripeness of his own contemplative faculty during the 
glorious years of his early manhood and under the spell of Italian freedom, 
we have still his well attested study and veneration of the Venetians. Here 
he found that modelling of the nude in a full light, here those unblended 
touches, in a word that picturesque style of unrivalled masters, who had also 
been the masters of Rubens himself. 

But appeal is made to the Borrachos, said to be painted before the journey, 
and under the eyes of Rubens. This work proves the contrary, for it is 
still executed somewhat after the manner of the naturalists, with the sharp 
contours and dark shades of the one-sided light of the studio. In the Madrid 
Museum it is directly confronted by the Vulcan pamted two years later in 
Italy, and here even a dull eye may see how the parting line between 
the two manners lies between these two works. Doubtless Mengs already 
noticed that the Borrachos is in a somewhat freer style than, for instance, 
the Sevillan Water-Carrier ; but such an advance from hesitation to freedom 
is fully accounted for by the intervening decade. Had Velazquez wished 
to take anything from Rubens it would have been the treatment of the 
shading, in which his process was at that time really defective. He used 
the pasty recipes and ochre of the Caraccis, from which the dark parts 
of his earlier works had suffered. That he could impart clearness and 
reflected light to the shade by the transparent brown undertints of the 
Netherlanders, he must as a painter have at once seen. 

But there still remains the subject of the Borrachos. We might certainly 
say that Bacchus with his goat-footed associates was no discovery of Rubens, 

Digitized by 


136 Velazquez. 

for his subject had for over half-a-century been used in the so-called Bemi- 
guete style of ornamentation even in Christian altar-pieces ; and further that 
we here miss the lewd, a main element of Rubens' bacchanalian scenes. Still 
it is possible that the mythological torrent with which he flooded the royal 
palaces may have prompted Velazquez also for once to attempt some such 
theme : and in fact from this year date the representations of the nude 
valuable to him as an artist. But that is all. We fancy he looked upon 
these Italo-Flemish gods, demi-gods and monsters with a humour somewhat 
similar to that of Rembrandt, for instance, in his Ganymede. Compare the 
boisterous rioting of this Flemish Thyasus with the heavy phlegm and 
light-hearted cynicism of these Castilian boon companions ; their stupendous 
characterization with those stereotyped studies of Rubens, all cast as it 
were in one mould. 

But those who would derive Velazquez' later style from Rubens forget the 
rule of the old schoolmen : Qta bene distinguit bene docet. In order to realize 
the strongly contrasted effects as between two colourists, we must see both 
side by side. Rubens* composition is free, and that of Velazquez is free; 
but the freedom of the one shows not the remotest affinity to that of the 
other. Rubens* tone is light, and that of Velazquez is light ; but the latter is 
the cool silvery tone of the all-diffused daylight with the utmost subordination 
of the colours ; that of the former is a tumultuous harmony of colour effected 
by means of highly saturated tints drenched in light combined with trans- 
parent shades ; the results of the one are brought about with the simplest 
means, those of the other with a lavish expenditure of resources. In a word, 
to us it is rather a matter of surprise that Velazquez kept so much aloof from 
the overwhelming influence of this Fleming, to which otherwise the whole 
school of Madrid more or less resigned itself. 

Now let us try to see what were probably the real relations of these two 
men one to the other. 

Assuredly the appearance in Madrid of such an exceptional personality as 
Rubens could not fail to stimulate our Court painter. Hitherto he had here 
held the first place, and four years previously Olivares had declared that 
henceforth he alone should paint his Majesty. Now he saw himself for a 
time deprived of this privilege, suspended as it were. The stranger 
had pitched his tent within the citadel itself; royalties and dignitaries 
flocked to give him sittings; the usher of the chamber had become a 
mere cicerone of the painter diplomatist, of the trusted friend of cabinet 

Even for a person free from envious or unworthy thoughts this were a 
trial. To men advanced in years and of settled character similar experiences 

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Influence of Rubens on Velazquez. 137 

have ere now proved disastrous. The arrival of Liica Giordano was such a 
shock to Claudio Coello that he did not long survive his eclipsed star. When 
Antonio del Castillo beheld in Seville the works of his early associate Murillo, 
he exclaimed : Ya tnurid Castillo I (** Castillo has lived !") and his words were 
prophetic. And on his return three years later from Italy Velazquez thanked 
the king because he had not had himself painted in the interval by any 
other artist. 

Still Velazquez' was one of those happy, simple and well-balanced natures 
which, conscious from the first of themselves and of their goal, pursue their 
career unruffled by such incidents. It would even appear that after all he 
had no reason to be quite so dazzled by the apparition of Rubens as is 
tacitly assumed. 

In the first place Rubens had no surprise in store for him. The Duke of 
Lerma's equestrian portrait, executed during his first visit, was scarcely 
surpassed by any of his later portraits ; this piece surely more than balanced 
the eight works that he now brought with him, such as the Achilles and the 
Ceres and Pomona, both now in the Prado (Nos. 1,582 and 1,585). 

Nor did Rubens on this occasion display anything of his more brilliant 
aspect, ''his fire and sublimity of invention,," as the Spaniards called it. 
They might be impressed by his five-and-twenty copies after Titian, as an 
instance of Teutonic capacity for work ; but a thoughtful artist would ask 
himself why this man is everlastingly translating from Italian into '' Low 
Dutch," instead of composing original poems inspired by his new environ- 
ment of life and Nature, land and people. 

Then they met on the common ground of portraiture, Velazquez' 
special field. But when photographs and engravings of their respective 
likenesses of Spanish courtiers, painters, patrons of Art and others are 
compared, the judgment still must be : Here we have Nature and life 
undisguised ; there mannerism, life no doubt, but the life of the painter, 
hts mind. 

Take thus Isabella of Bourbon, daughter of Henry IV., who was not 
exactly a beauty. Beneath a high broad brow two large, earnest, cold eyes, 
a touch of dashed hopes and weariness, the quiet grief of splendid misery, 
the lower face somewhat compressed, slightly hanging under-lip, cheeks 
swollen below — such is Velazquez' picture. But in Rubens* paraphrase of 
this text we have a kindly beauty, beaming with health and happiness, that 
oval face with receding chin, those eyes of the Juno type drunk with sensual 

The Rubens portrait of the king himself may certainly be recognized by 
his invariable features ; but the angles of the family mask so conspicuous 

Digitized by 


138 Velazquez. 

in him are rounded off; and in this fresh though somewhat indolent beau 
vivant what has become of the pallor of this declining race, the austere 
dignity which so to say died out with him, the cold, reserved, phlegmatic 
pride ? 

Velazquez has thoroughly studied his subjects both inwardly and out- 
wardly, grasped their distinct aspects in accordance with that individual 
harmony which invests even deformity with a sense of subtle fitness. With 
him we feel ourselves in the presence of a reality, of men new to us, 
possibly even unsympathetic, but still attractive through their intense 

In Rubens we miss this respect for peculiarities ; he adapts the features 
to the types of his own fancy, beautifying or lowering as the case may be ; he 
imparts to all the same physical constitution, the same expression of sensuous 
health and genial openness. We call such and such a portrait a fine Rubens, 
and with that we have said all that need be said. We might suppose 
Velazquez had no need to fear, scarcely to study such works. What he 
prized was verdad^ no pintura (*' truth, not painting "). But here he saw only 
pintura — doubtless a dazzling, ravishing pintura — but, as was said at the time, 
a professional painting ; an Art ever straining after the strongest effects, in 
colour, light, character and mimicry always somewhat exceeding the limits of 
natural truth. The Spaniard may have contemplated these works as the 
historian contemplates a historical romance. He will perhaps courteously 
remark : *' I could not have done such a thing," mentally adding, " and I 
should not if I could." And Velazquez appears in fact to have expressed 
himself somewhat to this effect, for Pacheco tells us that Rubens was pleased 
with his modesty or reserve. This virtue is one of the least appreciated » 
yet even great men appear at times to have possessed it, and Condivi calls 
even Michael Angelo modestissimo. 

Rubens' actual influence thus appears to have been limited to what the 
old biographers themselves admitted. His conversation fanned the old desire 
to visit Italy, while his energetic copying strengthened Diego's conviction 
that he must study Venetian Art at the fountain-head. The king admitted 
the force of his reasons and granted the permission. 

Velazquez was strictly speaking an artist without a public, for he painted 
only for Philip. He would consequently seem to have been very dependent ; 
but on the other hand he was exempt from the service of the multitude, a 
service often more fatal to the artist than that of princes. Anyhow he never 
found himself compelled to paint subjects likely to distract him from an 
earnest study of Nature, nor yet tempted to prostitute his artistic conscience 
for the love of gain. 

Digitized by 


The Bacchus. 139 

The Bacchus (The Borrachos or Topers). 

During this first chapter of his Court life the ro3'al painter probably 
devoted himself entirely to portraiture. Through portraiture he obtained his 
appointment, and he must doubtless have sought to retain it by perfecting 
himself in this department. But towards the close of this first lustrum he 
resumed the old studies, even breaking new ground by entering the field of 
mythology. Here we are introduced to a rural bacchanalian revel, in which 
the young god, enthroned on a cask between two of his votaries, entertains 
and crowns a narrow circle of fellow-tipplers. 

On the date of this work some light is thrown by the palace archives. 
On September 18, 1628, the king, who was in any case in his debt for some 
arrears of work done, granted him an increase of salary, consisting of the 
"daily ration of a chamber barber, together with the other perquisites, '^ 
amounting to twelve reals daily, besides a suit of clothes once a year to the 
value of ninety ducats. In consideration of all this the painter had given 
a receipt both for the arrears and for any portraits the king might in future 
require of him. 

But ten months later (July 22, 1629) he received a lump sum of four 
hundred ducats in silver, of which three hundred were on account of his 
works, and one hundred for a painting of Bacchus, "which he had done for 
the service of H. M.'** Perhaps it was this performance which obtained for 
him the king's consent to his Italian journey. Philip was highly delighted 
with the work, and the conjecture seems probable enough that under this 
form provision was made for the travelling expenses, which are given by 
Pacheco at precisely four hundred ducats. 

Even as a rarity this work is precious, being the only bacchanalian piece 
of Velazquez, one might even add by the Spanish school, if good works alone 
be considered. It is not a favourite national theme in a land where borracho 
was at one time as bad a word as wittol^ and worse than fool. Lampooners 
found no more stinging term of abuse for the hated Olivares, and even one 
case of drunkenness sufficed to reject the evidence of a witness in a court of 

But even the Spaniards knew at all times how to treat this vice 
humoristically. The Andalusians, in this respect more lenient, like the 
Persians in the Mohammedan world, are even called borrachos by the 
Castilians, and the Court of Philip IV. was itself less severe on the point. 
As Queen Bess herself enjoyed the fat knight, and even herself inspired a 

* Villaamil, El Arte en EspaHa^ 6i et seq. Documentos ineditos Iv., 398-9. 

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I40 Velazquez. 

Falstaffian comedy, so we read in contemporary correspondence of high 
revelry at the Spanish Court and its surroundings. 

Velazquez may have read how Leonardo da V^inci occasionally got a 
number of boors together, and while in their cups told them facetious tales, in 
order to sketch their guffaws. Anyhow he gathered such a company from the 
populace as had never before been seen on canvas. It is a somewhat motley 
group — a soldier, a bagpipe player, a beggar, and certain not easily defined 
gentry. Are they porters, or coopers, or disbanded troopers turned footpads, 
just as by the reverse process the ranks were recruited from the footpads ? 
But possibly they may be nothing more than some aged peasants, homy- 
handed weather-beaten children of the Sierra, for some three-score years 
browned by the summer heats and scourged by the biting storm. To such, 
and not to jaded revellers, has gone forth the wine-god's invitation, this 
benefactor of mankind bringing to the daily toiler a ray of light in his 
dark existence, ** freedom in the realm of dreams." 

If we consult the picture alone we find this benefactor to be a lusty 
youth, who, somewhat weary of his more select company, feels the need 
of unbending, and discovers a fresh distraction in the hilarious Deus nobis 
hac otia fecit of this little group of poor devils swept together from all 
quarters — in their boisterous merriment, their grotesque gestures, and the 
stirred-up mud of their rustic slang. The upset goblet on the ground 
probably slipped from the kneeling soldier, who is just being crowned for his 
performance. Then will follow the toast, for which we see the glasses and 
cups already raised, and for which the man with the bagpipes will blow the 
accompaniment. The foremost of the old adepts grins in a way to show a 
row of still undecayed shining teeth, and in anticipation of the supreme 
moment when he may quaff the flowing bowl. He at the same time seems 
to lend an ear to the broad joke of his neighbour, whose hand rests on his 
shoulder. The joke itself seems to be made at the observer's expense, and 
could we hear it we should scarcely care to repeat it. The third, in profile, 
awaits the signal for the toast, with raised beaker and with the approving 
glance of a loyal follower directed towards his chief. 

The sociable Germans have painters of popular scenes in which every 
figure laughs or smiles. Spain has produced this almost solitary laughing 
scene ; but where else has the overflowing laughter of a drinking bout been 
reproduced in the lines and furrows of an old head with so little loss or 
caricature? *' No Teniers or Hogarth," says Ford, ever came up to the 
waggish wassail of his drunkards,"* and Curtis adds, **The success of the 
artist in seizing a laugh and fixing it on the canvas, without converting it 
' Penny Cyclopadia : Article *< Velazquez." 

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The Bacchus. 


into a grimace, is an unparalleled triumph of skill." Wilkie often sat for hours 
together before this picture, which he preferred to all others of the master. 
At last, wearied with contemplation, he would rise with a sigh of despair. 

The Bacchus introduces us to our master's special Olympus. In the 
treatment of such materials others have with difficulty avoided the common- 
place and conventional, but with him the Spanish essence here asserts itself 
in the most uncompromising manner. Like Cervantes, he takes the myth 
au pied de la lettre. He asks himself. What sort of spectacle should we have 
were the young god during his triumphal processions really to visit our 

Digitized by 


142 Velazquez. 

valleys ? What kind of worshippers would throng round him ? What 
would this god be like who is most at home in the company of male and 
female wine-dressers ? 

In every epoch this scene has been treated by others in a far more learned 
way. But who will nowadays attempt to make anything of the Cavalier 
Massimo's stale bacchanalian piece, with its insipid Neapolitan dancing 
women in the Madrid Museum, or of Nicholas Poussin's studies with their 
processions in bas-relief? Bacchanalian scenes have lately been painted, 
which look like erudite archaeological dissertations. But scenes depicting 
man in association with the soil and its gifts, with " the spirit of the earth," 
as old Vilmar puts it, cannot breathe too much of a local flavour. And we 
may especially congratulate Velazquez that he has spared us those goat- 
legged monsters, which since the Renaissance have been poured out like a 
flood of apocalyptic plagues over the sphere of the Fine Arts. Yet this 
scene, which many have called a parody, is perhaps more Greek than the 
painter himself was aware of. The Greeks always appreciated the humour 
of aged revellers. In the dancing satyrs of the Villa Borghese and the 
Lateran we have the same coarse bones, angular skulls, small eyes, large 
cheek-bones, and bristly hair as in this picture. Only here everything has 
been translated from the prestissitno of the Hellenic K&jmo^ to the lento of 
Spanish phlegm. 

Although the scene takes place in the open it is nevertheless depicted in 
the light of the studio. The group seems to be assembled in a dark tavern, 
lit up by a window to the left. The brightest light is concentrated on the 
chief figure, reflecting his white flesh tints, and contrasting with the four 
weather-beaten swarthy heads in their sharply chiselled modelling, their 
light-absorbing worn-out brown and yellow cloaks and vests. Lastly come 
four figures in the shade, from which emerge some light nose tips and frontal 

Whoever would form an opinion of the artist's treatment of the nude 
should study this youthful soft, yet robust, figure of Bacchus. The arm 
stretched across in front, the projecting knee, the lower leg lit up by the 
reflected light of the red mantle, all tell us that he has scarcely anything 
more to learn in this department. Familiarity with the organic structure is 
combined with the truth of verisimilitude, the natural tenderness, fresh 
colour and radiance of a youthful frame. 

The weak side of the picture are the shading and the dark elements. 
The ruddy brown ground has injured several parts, and even whole figures 
in their modelling. The crouching tapster on the left is little more than 
a silhouette^ while the foliage of the vine is reduced to thick brown masses. 

Digitized by 


The Bacchus. 143 

The background also is no longer in keeping, although this might probably 
be improved by cleaning. 

Compared with later scenes the economy of space arrests attention. The 
crowded group is pressed quite forward, the figures having, so to say, no 
elbow-room in front or above, or apparently behind, for in its present state 
the background produces the effect of a wall washed in blue. One might ask. 
Was not the scene originally devised for a vaulted surface? Perhaps the 
hilly landscape is an after-thought, quite in the manner of the later equestrian 

Still the general effect is but slightly disturbed by this after-shading. As 
the chief figures with their broad luminous parts still maintain their full 
vigour, they even gain by the contrast with those deadened surfaces. 

The composition also is well balanced. The general contour of the 
narrow group, the beaming half-naked god by the side of the old man in 
a mantle, the company arriving with the minstrel closing up the series, 
the reclining associate of the god acting as a set-off to the kneeling figure 
bending forward, and more of a like character, betray much reflection 
concealed under the appearance of accident. 

This work accordingly marks a certain eminence in the master's Art. 
Strictly speaking it was never surpassed in vigour, firmness and ntorbidezza 
of modelling, plasticity of the figures, variety of the luminous grades, 
expression and animation of the features. Why then was this the 
first and last of its kind? Had anything like it been executed in the 
Netherlands at that time, every* gallery in Europe would probably at 
present possess its Borrachos. Connoisseurs and Art-dealers would have 
protested that this artist could and should henceforth paint nothing but 
bacchanalian subjects, and he would have himself assuredly made his fortune 
in that line. But Velazquez found no pleasure in repeating himself, even if 
his official position had allowed him to turn his inventive faculty to profit- 
able account. He never again tried his hand at a scene of revelry. Hence 
the admirers of this work had to put up with replicas and copies.* 

There exist two repetitions, both of which are in more than one respect 
still unsolved riddles. One is the picture in the Neapolitan Museum, same 

' Later the painting was removed from the royal bedchamber to the north gallery, and 
at the king's death valued at three hundred ducats. In 1686 it rose to four hundred; in 1702 
after the death of Charles II. to two hundred doubloons or twenty-four thousand reals. 
After the fire it appeared without a frame, so that it had presumably suffered. Then 
it went to Buen Retiro, returning under Charles III. to the new palace, where Goya valued 
it in 1780 at forty thousand reals. He also etched it, while Mengs' son-in-law Carmona 
made a copper-plate engraving, not however in his good Parisian but bad Spanish manner. 
Neither of these prints reproduces the character of the drawing. Size 165 x 225 m. 

Digitized by 


144 Velazquez. 

size as the original, and to this many Art lovers are indebted for the solitary 
but imperishable impression made on them by the incomparable genius of the 
Spanish master. It is executed in a gauche technique, of which I have 
elsewhere met no example. The pigments are laid on the canvas piecemeal 
in a pasty mass, each piece corresponding as far as possible to a single 
colour, while round about are seen little raised margins. No less remarkable 
is it that, even with a copy of the original in one's hand, none of the marks 
of a copy can be detected ; nay more, the brighter and genuinely Velazquez 
colouring appears more original than in the after-shaded Madrid work, whose 
deteriorated parts, and especially the landscape, may be restored from this 
replica. It seems scarcely conceivable that the master can have had no hand 
in this remarkable picture. 

The second example, usually described as a sketch, also comes from 
Naples, where it was purchased by the English envoy, Lord Heytesbury, 
from an Art-dealer by name Simone. It is even signed and dated, the name 
in a graceful hand appearing on the page of a torn booklet in the left corner, 

thus : — 

Diego V, . zquez J, 
1634 [not 1624]. 

Now it has certainly been asked how the painter should have signed 
a sketch, when he never signed more than two or three of his great works ? 
And is it likely that he would have allowed four years to elapse between 
the sketch in 1624 and the execution of the work in 1628 ? 

These doubts arise from ignorance of the true character of the work. 
This is no sketch and even Waagen speaks of it as ** spiritedly but by no 
means sketchily executed."* It is in fact a neat, perfect little picture recalling 
the style ot the Bassancs — a picture which certainly takes its ideas and plan 
of grouping from the great canvas, but which may be described as a 
"completely recast edition " of that original. Two figures on the left, the cup- 
bearer with the glass and the satyr, and the pair to the right are omitted and 
a negro boy introduced, while the other parts are treated after ether models. 

Here the votaries of Bacchus are no longer boors and footpads, but 
belong to the better classes, perhaps to the shady hangers-on to the Court. 
The figures are slimmer, the heads narrower, costume and hair in the style 
of the capital. Nor do they unbend in the same boisterous way. Their 
gestures are those of clients and parasites, that string of " poor relations,'' 
by whom the Castilian grandees were usually beset. Accordingly they do 
not press sociably together, but sit at a measured distance, such as might 
beseem a festive gathering in a monkish community. 

* Treasures, iv., 387. Size 32 x 39 inches. 

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The Borrachos. 145 

While the guests are somewhat reserved, the Amphitryo is all the more 
hilarious. The company, which in the canvas piece chiefly enjoys itself, 
is here rather the object of the host's amusement. He is none of your worn- 
out ne'er-do-weels, already too used up for a Homeric laugh, but a thoroughly 
healthy faun with full-moon face, plump curves from the cheeks to the full 
chin, and with a grin which compresses the eyes, opens the mouth and 
displays a long row of ivory teeth. He is seated on a stool instead of the cask, 
a festoon with white flowers disposed like a scarf across his naked body. 
To the left stands a large amphora, to the right a barrel on which sparkles 
a goblet of red wine. 

The figure kneeling by his side has a somewhat round head, with short 
narrow brow, cheek-bones and slit eyes of the Mongolic type, comic enough 
from his hungry look, here still more so from his happy state of fuddled imbe- 
cility. The next with the chaplet looks like a " seedy " Bohemian, with scanty 
beard and mustachio and the soured air of the cringing " sponge." Below him 
the negro head peeps out over the back of the kneeling figure. The third, in 
profile, is a jaundiced starveling with retreating brow, receding chin and 
hollow cheeks. 

But it is impossible to speak positively as to the authenticity of this work. 
In the style of painting there is certainly nothing against it, although one still 
remains not quite convinced. The figures are Spanish, and from their dress 
evidently belong to this period. Were the canvas cleaned and placed in a 
better light we might perhaps be able to pronounce a definite judgment. 

A fresh element of embarrassment is caused by the signature. Although 
a priori suspicious, the penmanship and free hand still look quite convincing. 
At the same time all comparison is impossible with undoubted signatures of 
the master, while the date is differently read — hitherto mostly 1624, although to 
me it looks like 1634, and here W. Bode agrees with me. The lower end of 
the 3 seems to have been taken for a mere flourish to finish off the 2, whereas 
in my opinion it is an organic stroke forming a somewhat angular 3. 

Our judgment on the so-called "sketch" must necessarily depend 
altogether on this date. If 1624 be correct the work would be a first essay, 
perhaps a memento of some college bout. But accepting 1634 one might 
suppose that it had occurred to certain boon companions to make a tableau 
vivant of the famous borrachos^ permanently fixing on canvas this jovial 
gathering. Or some person of eminence may in this way have indulged 
in a little joke at the expense of some well-known " diners-out " who had the 
reputation of being steady worshippers of Bacchus. The style of the sketch, 
however, better suits the date of 1624 ; and if this be correct we may take the 
large painting as a transformation, in a descending scale, from a Palamedes to 


Digitized by 




a Brouwer, where after the cloth is removed the rifif-raff take the place of the 
" lords and gentlemen/' and display more vigorous thirst and humour. Only 
those who may consider a work like the Borrachos as merely an idee prime- 
sautiire, a sudden "happy thought " thrown off casually, will scarcely be 
satisfied with the suggestion that after an interval of four years our master- 
piece was by this mental process worked out from that decidedly less happy 
first attempt. 

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i62g — 1 63 1. 

eastward ho 1 — in venice — titian and tintoretto — rome in the year 163o — 
art and artists — the pictures of the twelve masters — his own portrait 
— in the villa medici — ^triumphal arch of titus— the forge of vulcan — 
Joseph's coat — Naples : mary of Hungary — ^jusepe ribera. 

- Digitized by 


Digitized by 


Eastward Ho ! 

IN the seventeenth century a visit to Italy, as at present to Paris, was the 
dream of every cultured Spaniard. Not without a fine touch of humour 
Lope makes one of his fools say that one might be bom in France, live in 
Italy, and die in Spain ; the first because of its unsullied nobility and national 
monarch ; the second owing to its freedom and fertility ; the third thanks to 
the faith, which in Spain is so firm, so catholic, so true I 

When Velazquez' Italian colleagues spoke of Florence as the "modern 
Athens," and of Italy as the stronghold of Art, such language was no new 
gospel to him. An artist who had made his first studies in Pacheco's house 
may well be supposed to have left no stone unturned in order one day to visit 
Rome. Here one should endeavour to picture to oneself the perspective in 
which, during the first decades of the seventeenth century, the Spaniards 
contemplated their past Art history. The group which at present is alone 
conjured up at the mention of Spanish painting, and which has completely 
concealed that perspective, was at that time just beginning to be developed. 
The whole of the middle ages had gone down in darkness ; a new era had just 
dawned about the time of Isabella the Catholic ; but the bright daylight was 
not diffused till the Spanish painters streamed back from Rome — foremost 
amongst them Alfonso Berruguete, almost a veteran when he reappeared in 
Saragossain the year 1520. In Florence he had completed a painting by Filip- 
pino Lippi, was among the youthful admirers of Michael Angelo, and from the 
Pisan Cartoon had learnt what draughtsmanship meant. Then in the Father- 
land he revived on canvas the gracefully animated forms of Raphael, and 
in alabaster Buonarroti's powerful figures of the prophets. And in the embel- 
lishment of the Escorial had not Philip II. availed himself mainly of Italian 
help ? Juan Fernandez de Navarrete, almost the only Spaniard who bore 
aloft the standard of the national Art, had himself been summoned thither 
from Italy. And even in Velazquez' time had not that other Spaniard, 

Digitized by 


1 50 Velazquez. 

the Valencian Ribera, become great in Italy, dominating in Naples over the 
native painters? 

Assuredly young Spanish artists flocked at that time in large numbers to 
Italy ; yet the remark had already been made that ripe talents alone found 
advancement there. The majority, dazed by that " astounding labyrinth of 
marvels," lost months and years before recovering their breath ; powerless to 
undertake anything^ they often at last returned to parade their overweening 
pride as Roman pilgrims, and to scoff at all things native. But at times they 
died of spleen, learning to their loss that it were better to visit the Spanish 
schools than the Roman hostelries. 

Velazquez had several times asked the king's permission, which in fact 
had already been promised. Rubens' visit and their joint study of the Italian 
works in the Escorial had revived his longing, and possibly Rubens himself 
had put in a word on his behalf. Doubtless he was indifferent enough to the 
contemporary generation of Italians. But the curiosity must have been irre- 
pressible with his own eyes to behold those glories, whose praise had been 
ringing in his ears since his childhood. 

" At last, on June 28, the king gave his consent, even urged the journey, 
and presented him with four hundred silver ducats ; payment of his stipend 
was also to be continued. And on taking leave of the count-duke he received 
from him a further sum of two hundred ducats in gold, a medal with the king's 
effigy and many letters of introduction."* 

Now it so happened that about this time the Italian horizon became over- 
cast with the clouds of war, and the journey was naturally influenced by the 
troubles connected with the Mantuan succession. Events also took a new 
turn in this year 1629, when France, after the capture of La Rochelle, found 
herself in a position to take part in the struggle. The result of this change 
was that the Court of Madrid now resolved to act in concert with the emperor. 
Colalto crossed the Alps, and with him was to co-operate the great captain 
Ambrosio Spinola, who had lately (1628) returned from his long campaigns 
in the Netherlands. 

At that time Spinola was at the height of his fame. The reputation that 
he had gained by the siege and capture of Ostend (1604) had been enhanced 
by the surrender of Breda in 1625. He was the only general in whom 
Madrid had complete confidence, Spain's la^t great captain " amid the great 
dearth of talent for the chief command."* His personal wish would have 
been to crown his lifelong labours by a pacification of the Low Countries, 
and it was with reluctance and only at the urgent request of the king that 

*Pachcco i., 136. 

^ Gandolfo : Despatch of October 19, 1629, in the Turin Record Office. 

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Eastward Ho! 151 

he resolved to accept the supreme command m Italy. His more immediate 
object was to take Casale, capital of Montferrat, and then come to terms 
with the French and their allies, Venice and the Pope. Lemos had said : 
" If we let the Marquis Spinola act we shall have peace, honour and all 
good things." All his demands were acceded to; he was appointed 
governor of Milan and captain-general with an allowance of thirty-dx 
thousand ducats during war. " His powers," said his Genoese fellow- 
countryman G. B. Saluzzi, "are the greatest ever granted to a minister, 
the old Duke of Alba and Don Juan of Austria not excepted, for he has been 
made absolute plenipotentiary for declaring peace or war and contracting 

Before his departure his daughter Polissena's marriage with Don Diego 
Mexfa (Legan^s) had been solemnized in the queen's apartments in the royal 
palace, and in presence of both their Majesties. His sons, General Philip and 
Augustine Archbishop of Granada, had hastened to the capital once again to 
meet their illustrious father. 

Velazquez was now introduced to this famous captain, whom he was to 
accompany on the journey to Italy. In the general's suite were also Admiral 
Don Alvar Bazan, Marquis of Santa Cruz, the Duke of Lerma, and the 
Abate Scaglia, who all rode in the same carriage with Spinola to Barcelona, 
where nine galleys awaited them. 

Olivares had furnished our artist with superabundant letters of recom- 
mendation ; and at his request the secretary of State, Don Juan de Villela, 
wrote to all the Italian envoys at the Court, who on their part provided 
Velazquez with references for Venice, the small Italian Courts, Rome, and 
the papal legates in Ferrara and Bologna. But under the strained relations 
these short and somewhat formal documents would scarcely have sufficed to 
give the Italian princes a clear idea of his position, or to remove their 
mistrust, especially as he was coming in the same vessel as the Spanish 
general ; hence the envoys supplemented these letters with confidential 
despatches, one of which, the Venetian, has already been published.* Those 
addressed to Parma and Florence are preserved in the Famese and Medici 
archives, and the former, signed by Flavio Atti, and dated Madrid, June 26 
1629, shows clearly that there was a suspicion Velazquez might combine the 
part of a political spy with his professional work. 

In Venice. 
Velazquez, who sailed from Barcelona on August 10, and xeached Genoa 
^ Zarco della Valle, Documentos iniditos^ 1870, p. 400. 

Digitized by 


L52 Velazquez. 

on the 20th, probably acompanied Spinola as far as Milan, where he arrived 
before the end of the same month. 

A man of Velazquez' inoffensive character, and in whom the king or the 
minister personally interested himself, could at that time alone hope to 
remain unmolested, or even to reside at all for any length of time in the 
City by the Lagoons. Hence Mocenigo, the Venetian envoy in Madrid, had 
taken the precaution to inform the senate that the journey need give rise to 
no suspicion, as the painter had received permission to undertake it solely for 
the purpose of completing his Art studies ; further that at Olivares' request 
the secretary of State, Don Juan de Vegliella (Villela) had asked him for 
a safe-conduct and a recommendation to Giorgio Contarini and Vincenzo 

At the time of his arrival in Venice (Giovanni Cornaro was then dc^e), 
nothing was to be heard or seen but recruiting and military reviews. With 
the sanction of the sultan the government was even raising troops and 
supplies in Albania ; and so exasperated were the people against Spain, that 
the ambassador in whose house Velazquez resided assigned him a guard of 
attendants when he went abroad. The Spaniards had never been popular 
in Venice, and the Duke of Osuna's hostilities, as well ai the secret con- 
spiracy, were still fresh in the memory of all ; nor did they themselves shut 
their eyes to the fact that the republic of St. Mark was a thorn in their side. 
Spain possessed three of the finest and richest provinces in Italy, while the 
sovereigns of the other states were more or less her pensioned vassals. 
Venice was in fact the only absolutely free state, her constitution jealously 
guarding against the rise of a foreign faction. 

The viceroys and ambassadors however were wont personally to pursue 
an Anti-Venetian policy, indulging in much stronger language than was 
approved of in Madrid ; yet even their zeal was surpassed by that of the 
leading courtiers and palace retainers. The right of asylum gave them 
opportunities of insulting the republic, as, for instance, in 1624, when during 
Benavides' absence from Venice the embassy became a rendezvous of exiles, 
bravos, criminals, and the like, who from that stronghold freely raided on the 
peaceful citizens. Thus, on one occasion with the connivance of the Secre- 
tary Irles five convicts on their way to the galleys were rescued by these 
" roughs " aided by the palace household, and then, dressed in civilian garb, 
shown to the people from the embassy windows, " in proof of privilege." 

The hostile feeling came to a head about the time of the Mantuan war of 
succession, when Venice was the mainspring of the Anti-Spanish league. In 
Vienna designs were being entertained against the mainland, and the Spanish 
ambassador had declared that either Rome or Carthage must be razed (aut 

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In Venice. 155 

Roma aut Carthago delenda est). The Italians concluded generally that peace 
with Spain was impossible, because she would have nothing but slaves or 
open enemies. 

Titian and Tintoretto. ' 

On Velazquez' pursuits at that time in Venice we have only a single 
reference in Palomino : " He was much pleased with the paintings of Titian, 
Tintoretto, Paolo, and other artists of that school ; therefore he drew inces- 
santly the whole time he was there; and especially he made studies from 
Tintoretto's famous Crucifixion [in the school of St. Rocco], and made a copy 
of the Communion of the Apostles [the Last Supper], which he presented to 
the king. The war alone prevented him from staying there longer." 

It is also evident from all other available data that he must have been 
specially attracted to Tintoretto, in this agreeing with the prevailing taste» 
This painter, now a full generation dead, still held artists and the public 
under the spell of his genius, and " all who flourished after him yielded to his 
style." The school of St. Rocco remained the academy especially of foreign 
(German) students, and continued to be regarded as the only place where 
composition, grace, severe draughtsmanship, order and contrast (staccatura) of 
lights and shadows were to be learnt. The number of drawings and painted 
copies after works of this school was very great. 

Tintoretto is one of those who have always had quite as enthusiastic 
admirers as haters, the former amongst artists, the latter mainly amongst the 
general public. Some feel irritated at his treatment of the subject, his 
frivolity ; others see nothing but his pictorial genius, his inexhaustible power 
of representation. To the former belonged Pacheco (ii., 14, 130, 295, *'lack 
of decorum) ; " to the latter Velazquez, although his quiet spirit of observation 
was so fundamentally different from the fiery temperament of Tintoretto. 
For the description of painting which the Spaniard brought to such perfection 
the Italian certainly did not lack capacity, as shown by his portraits, but only 
the phlegm and — time. For the swarm of Tintoretto's admirers at that 
time in Venice naturalism was an abomination. Whoever is no stylist 
(manieroso) is a mere cobbler, said Marco Boschini, who has preserved for 
posterity the sentiments and the cant of these ** aesthetes." 

In Francisco de los Santos' Description of the Escorial^ there is a section 
on the Washing of the Feet, which came from the collection of Charles I., 
and which still hangs in the chapter-room. This account by the theologian 
looks as if dictated by a painter, and in the preface the author remarks that in 

» (Madrid : 1681.) Pp. 38, 39. 

Digitized by 


1 54 Velazquez. 

his work he has in fact availed himself of professional aid. Velazquez on the 
other hand had just recently placed that with other works in the E^scoriaL 

Tintoretto's treatment of this affecting scene, which takes place when the 
shadow of death has already fallen on the Redeemer, will now probably be 
regarded by everyone as repulsive, almost frivolous. It looks as if on a hot 
summer's day a party of carousers after a drinking bout wanted to have a 
plunge, and could not get rid of shoes and hose fast enough. Carried away by 
the idea of producing a resplendent decorative piece, the painter has, with the 
resources of an Art to which nothing is impossible, opened up a superb vista, 
allowing the eye in the most delightfully deceptive manner to ramble away amid 
a glorious perspective of sumptuous edifices, marble terraces and sparkling 
waters. The figures dispersed over the open hall seem to be motived chiefly 
as aids to a due appreciation of the perspective relations of this gorgeous 
architectural structure. Nothing can equal the charm of this open sunlit 
hall, with its red and blue chess-board pavement, the line of the palace with 
the arcades behind, the colonnade round the canal closed in with a gateway in 
the background. 

After speaking of Raphael's "gem," Los Santos thus describes this work, 
at sight of which Pacheco's hair would have stood on end : " Now may follow 
in the second place, but twt as anything inferior^ the canvas of Christ washing 
the Feet of His Disciples on the night of the Last Supper. Here the great 
Tintoretto surpassed himself! It contains the most glorious motives 
(caprichos), and is astounding alike in invention and execution. The observer 
with difficulty convinces himself that it is mere painting. So great is the 
power of the colour and the treatment of the perspective, that one fancies one 
may enter and stroll about on the ground paved with diverse coloured slabs, 
through the reduced scale of which the depth appears so great ; and that the 
air is circulating between the figures. And these again are adapted in the 
most lifelike way to their several occupations. The table, the chairs, a dog 
introduced in one place, are all truth, not painting. The ease and elegance 
{gala) with which it is done will dismay the most skilful artist; and in a 
word, every other picture placed by the side of the canvas, will by the contrast 
of its formal execution, place in a clear light the fact that here is truth." 

This remarkable critique, which appreciates the power of representation 
alone, leaving unnoticed the interpretation of the subject, which is everything 
to the unprofessional observer, may at the same time be taken as our painter's 
views regarding his own ideal — an ideal which he perhaps found confirmed 
by Tintoretto's example. The extension of space in the perspective depth, 
the air circulating between the objects, the truth of the objects themselves, 
the ease and freedom of touch, the caprichos of the situations, the trans- 

Digitized by 


In Venice. 155 

parent expression, the scene appearing not as a work of calculation, but as 
the thing itself, without circumlocution or traditional appliances, — these 
characteristics are, so to say, stamped upon the later style of the master. 

The study of the Venetian's style of composition might apparently be 
surmised from the few great historical works Velazquez has left us. In these 
we find his balanced contrasts of figures bending forward and averted, with 
inclined, foreshortened, shaded faces. Tintoretto himself seems to have 
attached most importance to this disposition of animated figures from the 
standpoints of contrast, while laying special stress on the element of depth. 
In his works this feature receives such prominence that one is apt to overlook 
his powers as a colourist, the more so that many are in a bad state of 
preservation. By the side of the more gorgeous Paolo Tintoretto repre- 
sented tone, being in this respect akin to Rembrandt. Thus in the Miracle of 
St. Mark all colours are introduced, but embedded, so to say, in chiaroscuroi 
pervaded by that greenish golden tone, whose more quiet harmony is preferred 
by many eyes to the tumultuous music of Veronese. 

Velazquez also has some notes akin to those of Tintoretto's palette — the 
azure blue, the refracted crimson, the orange tones, although his bearing is 
always light and cool. 

It may be presumed that portraiture was not overlooked. The Venetian 
examples, similar to his own in conception, showed our master his own 
ideals realized with totally different means. How cold and hard must have 
seemed the figures hitherto executed by him, as he stood- before that Nobili 
in the ducal palace ! However plastically monumental they may be, these 
works still show the painter developing his style, whereas in Titian's portraits 
every trace of growth has already vanished. But in his pupil, Tintoretto, we 
see how the brush struggles with the agitated play of the features, with the 
permanent rather than with the transitory. 

Titian again gave his subjects certain personally distinctive gestures and 
glances, combining them with the influences of the environment — the sense of 
dignity inspired by office, the excitement of social intercourse, conversation 
in the studio, attitude in presence of a colleague, the imperious air of autho- 
rity ; and over the whole is thrown the refinement of the well-bred circles. 
But Tintoretto was mostly satisfied with the simple, general, and traditional 
attitudes of large portraits. Here we find nothing but the dry seriousness 
of the man of business, the outward restraint of ceremony, the abstract air 
of contemplation. But what a lofty simplicity and truth, without a trace of 
vanity in that portrait in the Colonna Gallery for instance, painted in a full 
light ! And when they seem captivating, persuasive, or else dictatorial, it is 
after all more character and habit than momentary or intentional What 

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1 56 Velazquez. 

wonderful studies of old age I The symptoms of decay, combined with an 
indomitable will; the weariness of years and the habit of mental strain; 
unbending pride and courteous formality. What life histories are here 
recorded I From the hands of such men death alone can wrest the helm 
of power ! 

A few particulars of Velazquez' journey from Venice to Rome, on his 
intercourse with cardinals and the like, are mentioned by Pacheco (i., 137) ; 
but they are unfortunately only outward incidents of travel. " He took the 
route by Ferrara, where he handed letters to the papal legate and governor, 
Cardinal Sacchetti, formerly nunzio in Spain. His letters to another cardinal 
he did not deliver. The former received him well, offering him his palace and 
table ; he excused himself modestly (?) as he did not dine at the usual time ; 
but if his Illustrissimo^ were agreeable he would obey and depart from his 
custom. Thereupon the cardinal sent a special cavalier of his household to 
prepare a residence for him and his servant, and supply him with the same 
dishes that were cooked for his own table, and show him the sights of the 
place. There he stayed two days, and on taking leave the cardinal kept him 
over three hours seated, and conversed with him on diverse things. ... He 
took the road to Rome by Bologna and Our Lady of Loretto. In Bologna 
he made no stay, nor did he give any letters to .Cardinals Ludovisi and 
Spada, who were there." 

He would therefore appear to have been very impatient to get to Rome* 
for he also passed by Florence, where he at first intended to stop, having 
been recommended to Court by the Tuscan envoy; hence he might have 
anticipated a good reception from the Grand Duke. Perhaps he dreaded the 
winter journey over the Apennines, or possibly there was some religious vow 
to fulfil at the shrine of Loretto. 

Rome in the Year 1630. 
Velazquez entered Rome in the sixth year of the reign of Urban VIII. 
" Here he received many favours from the Cardinal [Francesco] Barberini, 
the Pope's nephew, at whose request he obtained a residence in the Vatican 
palace. They gave him the keys of some rooms ; the chief apartment was 
painted in fresco with scenes from the Bible by Federigo Zuccari and others. 
But he gave up this residence, because it was too much out of the way, and 
he did not like to be so much alone. All he required was to be let in freely 
by the watch when he wanted to draw — for instance, Michael Angelo's Last 
Judgment, or things by Raphael. There he appeared for many long days, 
and made great progress ! " 

* The cardinals had only that very year received the title of " Eminence." 

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Rome in 1630. 157 

From what he had heard in various quarters Rome was at that time the 
Promised Land of men in his position. The government of the Barberini 
(Urban VIII. and nephew) was described as the Golden Age of all peaceful 
aspirations. But the spectacle presented by the Holy City must have made 
him fear that the theatre of the war, which had driven him from Venice, 
might next be shifted to Rome. For three years they had been busy at the 
fortifications; the Castel St. Angelo had been strengthened with bastions, 
armed and provisioned ; Borgia's passage connecting it with the Vatican had 
been cleared of the houses encumbering the ground ; the memory of the 
imprisonment of Clement VII. a century before must have been in all men's 
minds; all but two of the six gates of the Vatican were closed; Borgo and 
Lungara were fortified ; under the library an arsenal was equipped, touching 
which Evelyn remarked that no European prince could boast of a better 
organized library of Mars for 40,000 men ! 

Many sneered at the bellicose " fire and fury " of his Holiness against 
phantom foes and invisible attacks. Others mentioned as an evil omen the 
partial collapse in September 1630 of the Tor dei Conti erected on the Quirinal 
by Innocent III., and recalled Wallenstein's remark that Rome had not been 
sacked for a hundred years. The Pantheon was just then being spoiled, 
though Velazquez may probably still have seen it in its bronze adornments 
and without those " asses' ears of Bernini," which have at last been removed 
in our times. 

The city was full of warriors and the clash of arms. The Roman nobles, 
the cardinals, the envoys, sat in their palaces, surrounded by hundreds 
of truculent retainers and bodyguards, who escorted them on their daily and 
nightly rounds — at times, like the mediaeval barons, engaging in street 
brawls and leaving some of their men on the spot. 

Still more surprising must it have been for our Diego, as a devout 
Catholic, to learn against whom all the fierce armaments were being directed, 
and how irreverently his Holiness was spoken of even by his own fellow- 
countrymen. At the very time when the overthrow of Protestantism seemed 
sealed (the Edict of Restitution had appeared on March 6, 1629) here was the 
Head of the Church actually joining arms with the foes of her most zealous 
champions. Urban VIII. had invited Louis XIII. to enter the lists for the 
freedom of Italy, and had placed his forces at the Bourbon's disposal. The 
Barberini were in fact good Italian patriots. " How fair a thing it were — " 
so spoke Cardinal Francesco to the Venetian Pesaro on May i, 1630, in 
his country seat by the Alban Lake — "were Florence, Genoa, Venice and 
the Pope united in a confederacy like that of Switzerland ; then would 
Italy be safe outwardly, and well balanced within; the free states would 

Digitized by 


158 Velazquez. 

no longer encroach on the Pope's rights, and for him it would be an 
orderly constitution I " 

Spanish personages were the chief butt of the Florentine wit of 
Urban VIII. in his confidential conversations. On the arrival of the new car- 
dinals — Sandoval, Spinola, Albomoz and Pamfili — in June, he remarked: 
" His Catholic Majesty has sent us a mute and a dwarf in order to frighten 
us;'* for Spinola stammered, Sandoval like Monterey was undersized, and 
Pamfili unquestionably the plainest member of the College of Cardinals. 

The Spanish envoy, Don Emanuel de Fonseca, Count Monterey, seldom 
appeared at Court The Pope was fond of hearing himself talk, and allowed 
no one to put a word in. Our artist, however, had no reason to complain of 
his reception — for which he had to thank Cardinal Francesco, who besides 
being the patron of all talents had a personal motive for showing attention to 
those recommended by the Spanish Court. In the summer of 1626 he had 
been received and entertained there as cardinal legate and nunzio with 
extraordinary honours, and he had christened the short-lived Infanta 
Maria Eugenia. 

A perusal of the letters from Rome during the year of Velazquez' stay 
there at the same time shows that politics had not engrossed the universal 
attention. At the very moment preceding the fresh outburst of war in the 
north, and while Richelieu was intriguing with Gustavus Adolphus, one 
might live in Rome as in an Arcadia, associating with poets, players, and 
composers, antiquaries and men of letters, sculptors, architects and painters. 
The famous bees, originally hornets, on the Barberini family arms, were 
connected with "Attic bees;" anyhow Urban VIII. forbade the certainly 
un-Attic use of snuff in the churches, though it was rather an undeserved 
stroke of the malicious fates that the condemnation of Galileo and the plunder 
of the Pantheon* both happened about this time. 

Art and Artists. 

No section of the late Renaissance is better known, at least in its 
pictorial and plastic monuments, than the Roman period of the first half of 
the seventeenth century. The epoch of the Borghese, Ludovisi and Barberini 
still survives — or rather, we must now unfortunately say, till recently survived 
— in the gardens, galleries, palaces, in which they perpetuated the memory of 
their name by noble works of Art. This was the period when Rome assumed 
the characteristic aspect which she retained down to the destructive sand- 
storms of the present day. And we often seem to receive from their very 

* Whence Don Pasquino's bitter lampoon : Quod non fecerunt B<irbari fecerunt 
Barberini. — ^Translator. 

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Art and Artists. 159 

lips the conversation of the men of that highly cultured time, so familiar 
are we with their features through numerous spirited portraits. Hence it is 
that a mere mention of names suffices to conjure up a vivid picture of the 
Roman Art world of that epoch. 

What was extolled at that time as contemporary painting could scarcely 
have much interest for Velazquez. The splendour of the Academy, whose 
chief triumphs, the great frescoes, had been achieved in Rome, had from the 
first belonged rather to the Silver than to the Golden Age, and was now 
already dying out. The Caracci had passed away; Domenichino was ex- 
hausted, as was soon shown when he took over the work in the Neapolitan 
Tesoro; Guido had long withdrawn from Rome. But while people were 
saying that " the Caracci had left no more room for others to fill in Art " 
(Albano) another spirit was in fact already astir. The frescoes five years 
before completed by Guercino in the Villa Ludovisi had met with greater 
favour for their power of chiaroscuro and pictorial invention than all pre- 
vious achievements of the school. In Albano himself the heroic had been 
thrust aside by the idyllic Arcadian taste; like him, Poussin also showed a 
decided preference for small figures moving in a large landscape. In this 
very year the French artist, already six years a avis Romanus^ had 
married Anne Marie Dughet, while his countryman, Claude, of the same 
age as Velazquez, had returned two years previously to Rome. This 
was consequently the dawn of the Golden Age of landscape painting. 

On Velazquez' life in Rome at this time Pacheco (i., 138) has recorded 
some interesting details : " After visiting the palace and the vineyard of the 
Medici on Trinity dei Monti, he found that this would be the best spot for his 
studies and summer residence. For it is the most elevated and breeziest 
place, and here there are also some excellent statues to copy. And so he 
begged Count Monterey to procure for him the Florentine duke's permission 
to reside there. . . He remained there two months, until compelled by a tertian 
fever to remove to the neighbourhood of the dwelling of the Count, who was 
very attentive to him during his illness, sent him his own physician and 
medicines without charge, and gave orders that everything should be arranged 
in the house as he desired, besides many presents of delicacies and frequent 

On Monte Pincio and not far from Velazquez Nicholas Poussin was 
also staying, and as Stirling-Maxwell fancies, the two foreign Court painters 
may certainly have met. Those studies of Roman villas and ruins transplant 
us to scenes, in which strangers of every school and nation have always 
associated on a friendly footing. Velazquez himself certainly never painted 
classical landscapes ; but from the bare, rugged crests of his sierras there 

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i6o Velazquez. 

was diffused over those broad solitary deep blue upland valleys a similar, 
only wilder, atmosphere than that of Poussin*s Roman landscapes, although 
in these artistic arrangement takes an incomparably greater share. 

At the same time it does not seem probable that the two artists really 
met, for neither was a frequenter of Art circles. Great men do not exactly 
ramble arm in arm over this earthly abode, as in the shady Elysian Fields. 
Those nationalities of Romance speech were at that time kept apart, even 
more by their self-confidence and self-satisfaction in their several cultures 
than by the wars and their jealous rivalries. 

The yearnings of both had turned towards Rome ; but Velazquez had 
been attracted to Italy more through love of knowledge than the desire to 
create, and he applied himself to the study of the antique and of Michael 
Angelo rather as a distinguished connoisseur. While few artists have been 
so little affected by Roman influences as our master, Poussin more than any 
other painter entirely reconstituted his whole Art from the wreck of ages, 
from the poets and the scenery of the Campagna. The former, coming with 
an already finished style, continued to work in the Piazza di Spagna and the 
Villa Medici exactly as in the apartments of the Madrid Alcazar. The 
latter, rebuilding painting from its very foundations, released from father- 
land, office, tradition, freely yielded to his ideal, a " magnificent " manner, to 
the essence of which belonged greatness of subject-matter, heroic deeds, 
battles, classical mythologies ; his first law was to avoid detail and regard 
colour as only so much flattery to beguile the eye.* 

Thus Velazquez soon returns to the most formal Court in the world, 
where he resumes his work as a Court official, while Poussin remains to 
create with the freedom of a poet. This idealist, who had declared painting 
and sculpture one Art, Thor^ {see p. 2) might have called by antithesis to 
Velazquez : Le peintre le plus sculpteur qui fui jamais. 

The Pictures of the Twelve Masters. 

Here we meet with a statement, which, could it be relied upon, would 
afford a more definite idea of our master's relations to the Roman Art world. 
Mention of it is first made, though doubtfully, by Cean Bermudez who tells 
us^ that on behalf of the king Velazquez bespoke a painting from each of 
the twelve foremost painters in Italy, and brought these twelve works back 
with him. The report is referred to a book by Francisco Preciado,' who 

' See Poussin's remarks on painting and the example of the good masters in 
G. P. Bellori's Vite cUi Pittori (Rome : 1728), pp. 300 et seq, 
* Diccion. v., 170. 
« Arcadia pictorica, etc. (Madrid : 1787), p. 192. 

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The Twelve Masters. i6i 

had been director of the Spanish Academy in Rome at the end of the last 
century, and who in his turn takes it from Sandrart's Teutscher Akademie 
(NOrnberg : 1675), p. 9. But the Frankfort painter makes no mention of 
Velazquez in connection with the matter, and it may be asked whether 
Preciado introduced his name merely because of the much later commission 
which he really received to purchase some pictures in Italy for Philip IV. 
This would explain his referring the occurrence to the time of the second 
Italian journey, although, as Bermudez remarks, several of those painters 
were at that time (1649) no longer alive. Thus, Valentin had died in 
1634; Cavaliere d'Arpino in 1640; Domenichino in 1641; Guido in 1642; and 
Lanfranco in 1647. Sandrart himself had also already left Italy ; con- 
sequently the transaction must necessarily have taken place on the occasion 
of this first journey. 

It had remained impressed on Sandrart's memory, because it had been 
the crowning glory of his own foreign travels. Soon after his arrival in Rome 
although quite a young beginner, he was "included amongst those most 
famous artists in Italy, who were to prepare for the Spanish -king the twelve 
pieces from the life, all of like size. Then he executed his work so success- 
fully that, when they were all exhibited during the procession on the feast 
of Our Lady of Constantinople, it was pronounced one of the best by 
cardinals, dukes, princes and connoisseurs in Rome." 

He also gives the subjects of all except three, which were not ready and 
were not exhibited at the procession, viz. : those by the Cavaliere Giuseppe 
d'Arpino, Massimo Stanzioni, and Orazio Gentileschi. The exhibited works 
were : — 

Guido ^ Paris accompanying Helen to the Beach. 

GuercinOf Dido on the Pyre. 

Pietro da Cartona, Rape of the Sabine Women, "regarded as this master's 
best work." 

Valentin da Colomhi, The Five Senses, in a room at a table in friendly 

Sacchi, "Divine Providence, seated on a stately throne amongst many 
heavenly women of God-like virtues." 

Lanfranco y Diana, Calisto and Actseon. 

DomenichinOy Diana, ''if not superior to all previous ones, still rivalling 

Poussin, The Plague. 

Sandrarty Death of Seneca, by torchlight. 

Now, what probability is there that Velazquez had a part in this business? 
So far as regards the time no objection can be urged. All were alive in 1630, 


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1 62 Velazquez.- 

while scarcely one of them could put in an alibi. From other sources we also 
know that two of the works were actually produced about that time — Poussin's 
Plague (1630) and Guercino's Dido (1631). The mythological subjects also 
were in accordance with Philip's taste, as shown by other commissions of a 
like description. 

On the other hand it may seem strange that not one of the twelve pictures 
reached its destination ; for no mention occurs of them in the royal inven- 
tories, while the first purchasers and the owners of most, perhaps of all of them 
maybe specified down to the present time. Most of them in fact remained in 
Rome, Guido's Rape of Helen, and Guercino's Dido being still in the Palazzo 
Spada. The latter was even said to have been intended for Queen Anna 
of France, and was exhibited for three days in Bologna.* D'Arpino's Rape of 
the Sabines passed from the Palazzo Sacchetti to the Campidoglio Museum, 
according to Fdibien.* Poussin s Plague was sold for sixty scudi to one 
Matteo, a sculptor, and was afterwards acquired by the Duke of Richelieu ; 
Sandrart himself remarks that it " was subsequently valued in Rome at a 
thousand crowns, bought and paid for." Was Domenichino*s Diana that 
famous work in the Palazzo Borghese, which had been painted for Cardinal 
Borghese, and of which a replica was now desired? The same suggestion 
should also apply to Sacchi's work, for Sandrart's description agrees with 
the fresco of the Divina Sapienza on the ceiling of a room in the Palazzo 
Barberini. Valentin's Five Senses passed from the Angerstein collection to 
the Bridgewater Gallery. Sandrart's Seneca was acquired by his patron 
Giustiniani, and passed with his collection to the Berlin Museum (No. 445). 
Lately, however, it has been given to the Erfurt Museum. 

Hence the nine pictures must no doubt have been finished, but not sent, 
probably because the purchase money was not forthcoming. Soon after this 
event, Monterey, a great lover of paintings, gave similar orders to the best 
artists in Naples, when he removed thither as viceroy. But he was a bad 
housekeeper and had the reputation of living in more brilliant style than the 
king himself. In Rome he got so deeply into debt that he found it impossible 
to remain longer in that place. Thus the completion of the order may well 
have made shipwreck on this rock, and the paintings, as we see in the case of 
Poussin, were partly disposed of '' at desperate prices " by the impecunious 
artists. However, two other works by Sandrart, a St. Jerome and a Mag- 
dalen in the Wilderness, were forwarded by Monterey to Madrid on the 
order of Cardinal Barberini. 

» Ritratti di Celebri Pittori del Secolo XVIL, etc. (Rome : 1731), p. 92. 
' Entreiiens stir les vies des plus exc. peintres (Paris : 1685), iv., 258. 

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Velazquez' Own Portrait. 163 

All things considered, it cannot be denied that Monterey may well have 
availed himself of Velazquez' advice in the selection of the painters and in his 
negotiations with them. Pachefro makes doubtless no reference to the sub- 
ject ; but the son-in-law may naturally have preferred to maintain silence on 
an affair which ended in such a fiasco. 

His Own Portrait.' 

Of a portrait of himself which, according to Pacheco, Velazquez executed 
in Rome, no trace can now be discovered. It is twice referred to by the 
father-in-law, who says that "besides other studies he made in Rome a 
famous likeness of himself, which is now in my possession" (i., 8) ; and again : 
" I pass over more than a hundred and fifty of my coloured portraits in order 
to come to that of my son-in-law, executed in Rome and painted in the 
manner of the great Titian, and (if it be permitted to say so) not inferior to 
that artist's heads " (iiL, 8). 

The picture disappeared at an early date ; nor has any mention ever been 
made of a copy, while all other likenesses show him in advanced years. Here 
it might be asked whether this is not the portrait in the CampidogHo Museum 
recognized by Otto Mtindler as one of Velazquez : only idle doubts are just 
as valuable as idle assertions. MOndler himself called it "a work of his early 
years ;" and although, according to J. Burckhardt, " it is modelled as with a 
breath," still the broad dark shadows on the foreshortened side of the face 
belong exclusively to this period. Such a simple bust in a wide robe or 
dressing-gown, and of which the head alone is finished, would scarcely have 
been called famoso by Pacheco ; still this might after all be the original 
sketch, from which the portait in question was executed. 

As style and time so far agree with the probability of its execution in 
Rome, the solution of the problem will depend on the resemblance. Now, the 
only unquestioned self-portrait is that in the Meninas ("Maids of Honour"), 
in which the painter certainly presents a somewhat different appearance. 
But then there is an interval of nearly thirty years between the two works, 
while in the unchangeable parts nothing can be detected at variance with 
identity. The forms are merely more firmly worked out in the later work, 
and the delicate features of the young man, perhaps convalescent, to judge 
from the glitter of the eye, have become fuller. The head also looks altered, 
owing to the cut of the hair, while on the contrary, brow, nose, and underlip 

What distinguishes this from the master's other portraits, and from self- 

' See Frontispiece. 

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164 Velazquez. 

portraits in general, is the action of the eyes, which, instead of the usual 
side-glance, look straight forward as in a mirror. This stare, as well as 
the slight inclination of the head on the left shoulder and forwards, is seen 
also in the self-portrait in the Meninas. In the somewhat dreamy look we 
recognize an open, simple, modest nature. 

The bust is painted on a light yellow ground almost exclusively in black, 
white and crimson. But the harmony, especially in the shaded parts, has 
been greatly modified through the varnish, which has turned brown. 

If our surmise be correct, it would be a singular, almost unique, stroke of 
luck that found a place for Velazquez* portrait in the Roman Capitol. When 
he sat in contemplation before the Arch of Titus he could have scarcely 
foreseen such a destiny. 

In the Villa Medici. 

The Villa Medici was- built in the year 1560 on the site of Lucullus' 
Gardens by Annibale Lippi for Cardinal Giovanni Ricci of Montepulciano, 
after whose death it was acquired by Cardinal Ferdinand dei Medici, and 
enriched with that world-renowned collection of statues. In 1629 it still 
contained all the antiques, of which the Venus, the Grinder, and the 
Group of Wrestlers were not removed to the Tribuna of the Uffizi Palace 
in Florence till the year 1677. Nothing of the ancient treasures remains 
except the sarcophagus reliefs and busts decorating in the antiquarian 
taste of the sixteenth century the fat^ade turned towards the garden. 
Gian Bologna's Mercury adorned a fountain ; the fifteen statues of the 
Niobe group, discovered in 1583, stood at the end of the great alley towards 
the north, disposed round about a prancing steed, in a hall supported on 
four pillars, and twenty feet in diameter. The pope himself had sung the 
praises of this work in some elegant distichs. 

These Roman villas had contributed not a little to direct the attention of 
the artists at that time flocking to Rome towards landscape painting. This 
was specially true of the Villa Borghese, which was laid out at the beginning 
of the century, and which Evelyn later spoke of as *' an Elysium of delight." 
After a long land or sea voyage nothing was comparable to the enjoyment 
of a sunny morning on the commanding heights of the Villa Medici, 
whence the eye swept over a sea of Roman houses, the air vibrating with 
the distant echo of church bells, and round about the fragrance of flowers, 
the humming of bees, white marble basins, parterres of scarlet verbena con- 
trasting with the sombre hue of the high laurel and boxwood enclosures. 
It was as if night should never be again, as if the everlasting Sabbath had 
already dawned. 

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The Villa Medicl 165 

Velazquez also sketched two scenes in his villa as companion pieces. 
These sketches transplant us to the first happy days which he here spent 
far from the storms of war or the close atmosphere of courts, in the undis- 
turbed enjoyment of this delightful earthly retreat. But their unfinished 
state reminds us how fleeting were those bright days so soon poisoned by 
the ague, lurking snake-like in the grass. They are rapidly thrown off 
with pointed pencil and sharply contrasted tints ; as finished works they 
might have been charming pictures, whereas now much is left to the 
imagination. They are, however, the only pieces of the kind which 
entirely display the master's hand; all other similar works lack the clear- 
ness and unaltered tone of his colouring. 


In one of the scenes he met a familiar figure, the Cleopatra-Ariadne 
of the Belvedere, who seems to comfort him for having to leave that 
incomparable place. The statue stood in a small marble loggia beneath a 
lofty arch, the balustraded side-opening affording a view of the cypresses 
in the Borghese Gardens, while the loggia serves as a frame to the picture. 
A gleaming light from the plastered wall pierces through the ivy foliage, 
and is again reflected in the dazzling white structures of the villa on the 
opposite side. 

A cavalier in dark hat and cloak is enjoying the prospect, while in the 
foreground stands a tall, carelessly dressed man with long mantle and white 

» Prado: No. 1106(0-44 X 0*40 metre); No. 1107 (044 x 0-38 m.). 

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i66 Velazquez. 

turban, turned towards a labourer in his shirt-sleeves, who approaches, 
bending forward with long strides. Perhaps he is asking what the dog 
of a stranger is doing there. 

The much-restored Ariadne is now in the Pitti Palace in the large 
apartment of Giovanni di San Giovanni. A third replica brought later to 
Madrid has been installed on the ground floor of the Prado. 

The motive of the pendent piece is the contrast of a white plastered hall 
surmounted by a marble balustrade over against a dark mass of holm-oaks, 
the glowing light of heaven penetrating through the narrow apertures of its 
foliage. The triple opening of the wall with an arch in the centre supported 
by Ionic columns, exactly like the loggia of the other piece, is nailed up with 
some rough boarding, and a statue stands in a niche to the right. This 
is the hall facing the terrace of the Belvedere, where are now the copies 
of the Niobe group. The view, which is taken from the parterre^ is 
described by Evelyn as "a mount planted with cypress representing a 
fortress with a good fountain in the midst. Here is also a row balustraded 
with white marble, covered over with the natural shrubs, ivy and other 
perennial greens, divers statues and heads being placed as in niches" 

As we stand before this wall under the tall pines, the palace completely 
shuts off the view and the noise of the streets. All other artists would 
have kept such a prospect clear of all vulgar popular elements, and intro- 
duced nothing but polite company, as gaudily arrayed as the surrounding 
flower-beds. But our master gives us as well the general neglect and the rude 
hoarding which were characteristic enough of these princely establishments 
at that time. On the balustrade, instead of Roman dames fanning them- 
selves, we have a black-eyed wench reeking of garlic and hanging out her 
tattered linen, as she tries to catch the soft whisperings of two rustic lovers 
behind the boxwood hedge below. Another eavesdropper has planted 
herself behind the same hedge. 

Into both pieces Velazquez has introduced statues, the study of which 
had been one of his objects in choosing this residence on Monte Pincio. 
The charm of these figures depends altogether on the surroundings — a weed- 
grown garden, a dazzling white architectural structure, reverting as it were 
to a state of Nature, a few rustic clowns and* some marble figures, half 
antique, half modernized by bold and ignorant restorations. But remove 
these statues to the safety of museums, or clear away the ruins, and all the 
charm is gone, and one begins to wonder how such blocks could have ever 
evoked the poet's fancy. 

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The Arch of Titus. 167 

Triumphal Arch of Titus. 

In the view of the Arch of Titus Velazquez has left us a third memento 
of those first months passed in Rome. But this picture can scarcely have 
been finished on the spot, or altogether by the master's hand. Under a 
Roman sky it could hardly have assumed such a dull tone as this — a tone, 
however, which recurs in the landscapes of his pupil, Mazo. 

Of the monument itself nothing was at that time visible except the arch 
with the two composite pillars and the frieze with the inscription, the whole 
shut in by the remains of the mediaeval castle for which the Frangipan 


family had utilized the surrounding ruins ; in fact the Arch served as the 
gateway to that castle. But in 1822 the whole monument was disencum- 
bered of the contiguous structures, and the damaged sides restored with 
travertine stone. The painter took his stand opposite the front facing 
the Colosseum in the line of the Via Sacra running through from that 
direction. To the left we still see the projecting gable of the Turris CariU" 
laria, which has long been demolished ; to the right is a mediaeval wall in a 
line with the Convent of Sta. Francesca Romana, and connecting that buildmg 
with the/afeidfe of the church, which was built by Lambardo in the year 1615. 
On the other side, where nothing had remainied except a narrow remnant of 

Digitized by 


1 68 Velazquez. 

a wall or buttress, we look right through to the eastern enclosure of the 
Famese Gardens. The dense masses of poplars, laurels and cypresses, 
appearing above this enclosure, awaken in that dusty waste a pleasant sense 
of refreshing park-lands, rural seclusion, still or running waters, and glorious 
memories of the past. In the foreground to the left the slender stem of a 
birch tree, branchless to the crown of tufted foliage, but ivy-clad, has been 
introduced in the bright space between the monument and neighbouring walls. 
On a huge block of marble in the opposite corner to the right is seated a 
youth in a slouched hat piping to a few sheep and goats. 

There is a narrow dark bit of foreground shut off by the monument^ 
through which the open arch above affords a vista in the luminous distance. 
Here to the left we see strongly foreshortened the north side of the Farnese 
Gardens with Vignola's fronton, beyond which appear two of the three 
columns of the temple of Castor and Pollux, and lastly the shimmering white 
houses of the approach to the Capitol (via del Campidoglio)^ and the corner 
of the Tabularium. 

Before the Arch stand two cavaliers, who are contemplating those singu- 
larly lifelike and authentic reliefs of one of the greatest catastrophes in the 
world's history. The sketch itself we probably owe to this association of 

It gives a glimpse of the old Campo Vaccino^ which has long vanished. 
Down to the present century this grandest field of Italic ruins and memories 
also presented an incomparable suburban landscaj^e. The revolutions of the 
times had brought back the primeval pastoral scenery, such as we may ima- 
gine it at the very dawn of Roman history. Thousands have here pondered 
over Tasso's musings on fallen states (cadono le citta)^ on past glories, on 
the irony of the fates, on human destinies and landscape painting. Meantime 
the antlike zeal of recent antiquarian explorers has laid bare the bleached 
bones of this crumbling skeleton and provided it with a fresh certificate of 
baptism. But in doing so they have also unfortunately let loose the hitherto 
pent-up sources of exhalations deadly to the living generations. 

The Forge of Vulcan. 

During this Roman interlude Velazquez never forgot his official position 
as Court painter to Philip IV. for whom he brought back two large works, 
the Forge of Vulcan and Joseph's Many-coloured Coat. They seem to be 
pendent pieces, one depicting detected, the other successful, fraud ; and 
moreover the same models have for the most part served for both. One 
approaches these compositions not without some curiosity, for surely we 

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The Forge of Vulcan. 


shall here discover Italian and Roman influence ! And in fact the first 
and chief piece really does handle a Homeric subject, in which if the most 
"aristocratic" of the gods is not the central figure, he is at least the 
spokesman. Here the laurel-crowned and halo-encircled Apollo presents 
himself in a flowing gold-coloured robe, his shaded vanishing profile standing 
out against the bright luminous ground. Thus he enters the smithy and 
with a mysterious warning gesture reveals to the lame Vulcan the domestic 
trouble which his all-seeing eye has detected. Both the raised and lowered 
hands pointing with the index fingers in different directions seem to say : 


*' He came this way, she that way." No previous announcement had been 
made, so that he plunges at once in medias res, as shown by the attitude 
of Vulcan still holding the tongs in his left and the hammer in his right 
hand ; he has had time only to turn his head to the speaker eagerly to devour 
the news with upraised staring eyes. So indiscreet has Apollo been in his 
eagerness to communicate it that it has reached the ears of the four assistants, 
even the bellows-blower in the background ; for these also have been suddenly 
arrested in the midst of their deafening work, all their eight eyes converging 
towards the golden-haired narrator, and all betraying the interest menials will 
take in the affairs of the mistress of the household. The artist has thus 
seized the critical turning-point between two actions ; for we exoect the next 

Digitized by 


170 ' Velazquez. 

ntoment to see the hammer with a thundering oath come down upon the anvil, 
in lieu of the head of the absent traitor. At least this gaunt angular head 
with its hard cheek-bones and black goggle eyes is scarcely suggestive of the 
characteristically Greek revenge taken by the Homeric Vulcan. 

Such a situation occurs nowhere else. How did Velazquez come upon it ? 
Philip) who was so enraptured with the Bacchus may have exclaimed with 
Theseus, or rather with Bottom, in the ** Midsummer Night's Dream : " " Let 
him roar again I " And as Velazquez had no second Bacchus he may have 
bethought him of one of the wine-god's near relations. The plan of the com- 
position is the same, an open semi-circle of figures on the right, confronted by 
a leading character to the left, the motive being even of a more delicately 
comic nature. A pilgrim to Rome might also be expected to exhibit more 
diversified studies of the nude, and for this very purpose artists had already 
long had recourse to the forge of Cyclops. Velazquez was perhaps familiar 
with Titian's work in Brescia preserved in Cornelius Cort's engraving, and 
with Caravaggio's in the De Reynst Cabinet, which has been engraved by 
Jeremias Falck. He might have even brought the sketch with him from 

To Velazquez as a painter the specially attractive elements in this subject 
were naturally the varied aspects of the nude. The carefiil execution shows 
unmistakably that it was his intention, here in the freedom and leisure of 
Rome and under the influence of Michael Angelo's work in the Sixtine Chapel, 
for once to indulge in the full representation of the human body. Later he 
scarcely again found any opportunities for such studies. His models are 
common brawny workmen, all about the same size, proportions and bodily 
constitution, but differing in age, attitudes and expression, with delicate grad- 
ing in the tone of the carnations and luminosity. Apollo has the more refined 
and youthful forms, Vulcan those of a haggard old man. The blacksmith with 
his back to the observer has been apparently picked up in a happy-go-lucky 
sort of way. The lower extremities are badly disposed, the centre of gravity 
in the right leg being shifted too far to the left 

Altogether it is a picture after the artist's own heart, a picture such as he 
delights in when he wishes once in a way to breathe freely, and to practise 
his Art for its own sake. The real and the ideal, knowledge of muscular 
action and truth of outwajd form, are all studied with equal care. Here 
the line of truth to Nature lies between the learnedly plastic or anatomical 
hardness of a Michael Angelo, and the soft picturesque vagueness of the 
Venetians. Those who take Velazquez for a bravura painter should study 
this delicately softened diligent execution, where the touch of the pencil 
remains nowhere perceptible. 

Digitized by 


The Forge of Vulcan. 171 . 

A new feature, which he has obviously acquired in Italy, is his renuncia- 
tion of the chiaroscuro peculiar to the naturalists. The deep, sharply 
contrasted shadows have vanished ; yet such a cavern scene with its blazing 
fire, red-hot iron, and radiant nimbus seemed specially suited for a sumptuous 
work in the Caravaggio style. Hence the tendency to model in the fullest 
possible light here grapples with a somewhat unpromising subject, yet with 
complete success. The group of figures stands out with startling clearness 
from the light grey walls, and is distributed in the perspective depth. For this 
purpose the artist has recourse to several sources of light. The direct and 
chief light, as shown by the projected shadows, falls from the front towards 
the left, presumably through an open doqr. The wide window on the oppo- 
site side gives a light from the north, as apparently indicated by the deep blue 
which has now almost assumed the darkness of night. Lastly we- have 
Apollo's nimbus, the most luminous part in the whole scene being the god's 
uplifted arm. Both Vulcan and his assistants receive more or less light from 
this direct source, which is strong enough to throw a reflected light into the 
farthest corners of the smithy, while at the same time more or less illuming 
the shaded sides of the figures. In the case of Vulcan the chiaroscuro is 
subdued to allow the piercing eyes, flashing with anger, to penetrate through 
the gloom. Thus each figure has its special note in light and shade. 

Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan, the god of light in the blacksmith's 
cave! Have we not here, as suggested by Emil Hiibner, the symbol of 
the triumph of daylight over the artificial light of studios and taverns, over 
the brown and black nocturnal apparitions of the tenebrosi and of the 
Bolognese academicians? 

His models were evidently not Italians, but, to judge from the faces, 
Spaniards, probably from the ambassador's household. Even the style of 
hair with its little curly locks hanging over the temples is Spanish. The 
faces are in some cases ugly enough ; but the bodies have something of the 
nervous, elastic build of the torero. Athletic force is often displayed in this 
race under slenderer and even more supple forms than average strength 
amongst northern peoples. Here we see those natives of the Biscayan and 
Asturian highlands, who so often astonish the stranger by their surprising 
feats of tenacious endurance, agility and carrying power, out of all proportion 
to their small figures. 

Lastly, a peculiarity of our master is his repugnance to realistic minutef- 
ness of detail. Here his sense of form is quite different from that of his 
friend Ribera, another excellent painter of the nude. The latter was also 
one of those who are perpetually hankering after the anatomical studies of 
their 'prentice days. For Velazquez, on the contrary, the all-important point 

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172 Velazquez. 

was the truth of the broad surfaces, " where all is and nothing seems/* as 
Winckelmann remarks. Thus he would prefer giving the general contour 
of hands and feet, merely suggesting the parting lines of the fingers and 
toes, and without indicating the joints. Still less does he attend to the 
wrinkles and callosities of these parts, or to the nuances of the brown and 
white carnations according as they are exposed to, or protected from, the 

Besides these strictly professional features, the subject had a special 
interest for the general public in its domestic motive — jealousy, that inex- 
haustible theme of the Spanish society of those times. On this topic a bulky 
volume might be written from the works of the playwrights alone. The 
instantaneous effect produced by the picture depends on the unequalled 
expression of surprise, on the prompt grasp of the critical moment — what 
Leonardo da Vinci calls the ** prontitudine." These attitudes are those of no 
mere paid models, but of human beings who, as Leonardo required, are taken 
unawares, or are not conscious of being observed. Here the master seizes 
the momentary suspension from the combined hot work caused by the instan- 
taneous absorption of the physical energy in mental surprise ; the moment of 
arrested attention before the outburst of overwhelming wrath. This situation, 
somewhat analogous to a stroke of paralysis, is expressed in the figures 
standing motionless, their hands shackled by heavy implements, without the 
least exhibition of any stored-up gestures. What tact the artist showed in 
introducing this romantic element may be seen by comparing this with other 
analogous works, such as those of Titian and Caravaggio, which give the 
impression of being mere artificial groups prepared as studies for schools of 

The dramatic theme contains at the same time a comic touch. Velazquez 
treats the Homeric gods as Shakespeare does the Trojan heroes in " Troilus 
and Cressida;"* he interprets the myth in the most farcical style of the- 
national comedy. He uses his models not merely as studies for the 
purpose of infusing a breath of Nature into the conventional forms of the 
schools. He transfers their very commonplace portraits in the most natural 
way to the canvas. 

Thus was produced the comic contrast between high-sounding classic 
names and the familiarity of an actual scene of the humblest order. At the 
same time nothing was probably farther from the artist's intention than to 
produce a parody, such as occasionally served as a reaction against a pre- 

' The explanation of this puzzling play is perhaps to be sought in the personal rela- 
tions between Shakespeare and Chapman, whose Homer seems to have appeared a short 
time before the Troilus and Cressida. — Translator. 

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The Forge of Vulcan. 173 

tentious but hollow pompous style. As in the Bacchus, he again took the 
myth at its word. He had read of a luminary whose daily business it was 
to perambulate the firmament escorted by dancing nymphs ; hence he must 
fain represent him as a dancer, as, for instance, in the mythologies of the 
Corral del princtpe. In the same way he found it impossible to depict the 
god of the iron industry except as a blacksmith. An operatic ballet of 
smiths and Cyclops, according to academic laws of nicely balanced contrasts, 
was not at all to his taste. He seems to have even deliberately looked up 
a lame model, with a slight curvature of the spinal column. 

But strangers, who have made the round of the Roman Art world from 
the Apollo in Guido's Aurora to that of the Belvedere in the Vatican, feel 
personally offended at such '* a common-place youngster," as Stirling-Maxwell 
calls our master's sun-god, wondering how under the shadow of the Vatican, 
with the models by Phidias and Raphael at hand, Velazquez could have 
painted "such an ignoble Apollo" (Annals ii., 118). Richard Ford also 
suggests '* that the Spaniard, to prove his independence, had lowered his 
lowest transcript of Nature to brave the ideal and divine under the shadow of 
Raphael himself" {Penny Cyclopcedici), It might be added that in this very 
year 1630 the haughty Spagnoletto himself painted an Apollo with Marsyas, a 
superb figure in his shimmering, luminous colouring, which shows that even 
a naturalist knows how to utilize the choicest forms of the antique, for this 
Apollo takes the Belvedere as its model. Yet even in Rome there are many 
statues of this god worse than that of our master, as for instance two in the 
Villa Ludovisi, which look like old eunuchs repulsive to all healthy-minded 
persons. Thus so far as Apollos are concerned ancient and modern Art 
have no right to throw stones. 

But in any case these priests of good taste may be satisfied that Velazquez 
also appreciated the beautiful forms of antique Art, to study which he in fact 
took up his residence in the Villa Medici. Had he chosen, he could also have 
drawn Greek profiles quite as accurately as many others, whose names are 
unknown to fame. Nor do we suppose that the Romans themselves ever 
judged this work from such a narrow pedantic standpoint. Richard Cumber- 
land, although writing in the period of the sham neo-classic revival, clearly 
saw as a true painter that this subject had given Velazquez an opportunity 
of displaying his Art to its fullest extent. 

Mention first occurs of the Forge of Vulcan in the inventory of Buen 
Retiro, drawn up after the death of Charles II. It passed thence to the 
new palace, and was valued in 1789 at eighty thousand reals. Size 2*23 x 
2 90 metres. 

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174 Velazquez. 

Joseph's Coat. 

The • second work brought by Velazquez from Rome, and entitled 
Joseph's Many-coloured Coat, is of the same size as the Vulcan, has the 
same number of figures, and the same plan of Composition, and is for 
the most part executed from the same models. Two only of the figures 
are in the nude, and the thoroughness of their modelling was early a sub- 
ject of remark.* The scene is placed in an airy and quite empty hall, with 
marble floor of the chess-board pattern, and two large windows overlooking 
the blue-green shrubbery of a garden. Here on a low bench is spread 
a sumptuous carpet, while the aged Jacob is seated, listening to the report, 
in a chair, under a curtain in the cool shade, illumined by a strong reflected 
light. This figure is new — an old Jewish head with small eyes and long 
nose, stretching high his arms with the gesture of sudden horror at the 
sight of the blood, which leaves no room for any doubtful thoughts. Here, 
therefore, we have again a chief figure towards which the others are 
turned, only this time he is not the speaker but the hearer, the victim 
in fact of the fraud. 

Although the same models have served for the secondary figures, their 
expression is more debased. Two, probably the most shameless, have 
been put forward as spokesmen with the shirt and the party-coloured smock. 
They are the most vulgar figures ever painted by Velazquez — two fool- 
hardy sneaks, both together addressing the old man in a loud voice, yet 
in their glance and attitude a mixed feeling of impudence, fear of detection, 
and of would-be compassion. At the same time it is quite possible that 
these may after all be the shepherds who, according to the text, were sent 
forward with "the coat of many colours." But the others must in any 
case be Joseph's brethren, as stated by Velazquez himself.* Two stand 
somewhat back, in the shade, one looking askance with a sly and timid 
glance, the other embarrassed and biting his nails. The man in the comer 
to the left (Reuben ?) is tearing his hair ; but the artist has spared us 
his face, this most advanced figure turning from the observer, like the 
corresponding figure in the Vulcan. 

In its drastic effect this work fully rivals the pendent piece. Beckford 
even looked on it as a picture of the deepest pathos ; the most convincing 
proof of extraordinary gifts in Velazquez. He bestows equal care on its 

*Thus F. de los Santos: Las muestra desnudas, con tal arte y disposidon, que 
puede ser exemplar Para la Notomia. 
• Ibid. : Le oyeron dezir al Autor. • 

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Naples. 175 

technique and execution, though it lacks the rich details of the smithy; 
he has not even taken the trouble to paint the tunic "of many colours." 
The work stands on the level of the " ragamuffin pieces " of a Monsu 
Valentin, only without the decided colours. 

In the luminosity it also forms a companion piece to the Vulcan. The 
light, which in the smithy came from the front and left, here falls from 
behind and from the right. It is more sunny and warmer, although more 
play is also given to the dark shadows; the figures are distributed in the 
light and shade, and these shadows have now become heavy and deadened. 
Recently the work has suffered from restoration. 

Naples : Mary of Hungary. 

At the beginning of winter in 1630, as the time of departure drew 
near, Velazquez received from Madrid an order to bring i>ack for the 
king a portrait of his sister, the Infanta Maria, now Consort of Ferdinand 
King of Hungary. The marriage had been solemnized in Madrid on 
April 5, 1629 ; but the preparations for the journey had occupied the whole 
year. Owing to the plague in North Italy, the queen took the round- 
about route of Naples, where she remained four months, from August 13 
to December 18, 1630. 

Maria Anna de Austria, bom in 1606 at Valladolid, was the younger 
sister of the Infanta Anna, eldest of the family, who had married Louis XIII. 
in 161 5, and since the*n had been alienated from her kinsfolk. Both sisters 
are described by contemporaries as attractive blondes with very fair 
complexions. Anna, however, far surpassed Maria in beauty, showing 
scarcely anything of the Habsburg type of the period, which was so strongly 
stamped on the younger sister. On the other hand Maria was of a more 
lively temperament and more ready-witted, with "a will of her own." 

The Tuscan envoy Baglioni thus describes her appearance in a letter 
to Ferdinand II. dei Medici: "She received me standing at the wall near 
the window. . . . She wore a gold embroidered black velvet gown ; the 
head-dress was prettier than the robe. She has an angers face, one of 
the loveliest women I have ever seen, with very white skin, light hair 
inclining more to white than gold, a right royal bearing, the chin rather 
projecting. . . She listened attentively . . , and replied in a friendly tone, 
but so softly that I had the greatest difficulty in catching a few words." 

Seven years before, when Charles Stuart made his romantic expedition 
to Madrid, and actually signed the marriage contract (Gardiner, v., 92), 
she was doubtless still more attractive. Buckingham wrote at the time 

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mas^^-^s^sm^ v"^ 

to King James : " Without flattery I believe there is no sweeter creature 
in the world." Yet these Englishmen had never seen her to such advan- 
tage as when she took part in private family festivities, as, for instance, 
on her brother's birthday in the spring of 1622 at Aranjuez with mas- 
querades and theatricals, when the Italian Giulio Cesare Fontana devised 

the scenery and Juande Tassis 
composed his romantic fiesta, 
"Gloria de Niquea*' for the occa- 
sion. A few years later she had 
already the reputation of enjoying 
much influence with the diplo- 
matists, and Olivares wanted to 
get rid of her by marrying her off, 
for she was ' for her age [sixteen] 
very shrewd and was thought 
much of by the king.' " 

She was a daring huntress, 
and Gdngora sings in one of his 
canzonif of the boar which this 
Spanish Cynthia brought down 
with her gun. During the stormy 
landing at Genoa, she gave an 
example of coolness to all, and 
was not the least "nervous." At 
her first meeting with the Prince 
of Wales in the Prado, in reply 
to some of the king's badinage 
she dryly remarked on hearing 
that he was not a Catholic : " I 
will never marry a heretic ; I 
would rather take the veil in the 
Discalceate Nunnery to protect your Majesty's interests." Baglioni describes 
her daily life in Barcelona — visits to the church on the indulgence days, 
feeding poor women on the fast days, washing the feet of a boy, ascent 
of Monserrat afoot and on the abbot's donkey ; private bull-fights with 
burlesque costumes ; rehearsals of the ballets brought from Madrid ; 
punctilious to the utmost. 

Coming now to Velazquez' commission, it had occurred to the king, when 
his sister was leaving the kingdom possibly for ever, that he had no good 
portrait of her, and that the Court painter's presence in Italy was a good 


Digitized by 


Queen Mary of Hungary. 177 

opportunity of procuring one. We do not know by whom the portrait 
was executed which Olivares had in 1625 already sent to the Archduke 
Ferdinand. Another by Rubens had been sent to Brussels, while two 
others, in the Pardo and in the Alcazar, had both been taken in her 
childhood. But after Velazquez' death " a portrait of the Infanta Queen of 
Hungary " ^ was found in the apartments of the palace occupied by him. 

The work executed in Naples might be one of two pictures — a bust, but 
no sketch, in the Prado Museum (No. 1074), and the full-length figure in the 
Berlin Gallery. The Salamanca collection contained a reduced copy of the 
bust. TTie Berlin work was also said to come originally from the royal palace ; 
in the inventory it was numbered 471, and was transferred in 185 1, to the 
Suermondt collection, passing with it in 1872 to Berlin ; till then it had borne 
the title of Isabella of Bourbon. It is not quite such an important work as 
has been represented by the writers who wrote for Suermondt. In the first 
Catalogue (1828, No. 262), the Madrid bust was still described as the "portrait 
of an unknown lady in Velazquez' first manner ; " later, as in the 1 845 Cata- 
logue, No 135, it was entered as Queen Isabella. The subsequent "re-christen- 
ing," adopted by the Berlin Catalogue, was based on the discrepancy between it 
and the genuine equestrian portrait of Isabella (Prado, 1067), on the strong 
family likeness with her brothers, and on the agreement in point of time. 

To complete the identification there was still lackmg a comparison with 
some authentic picture of the infanta herself. Such a picture seemed lately 
to have come to light in a miniature, presumably by Balthasar Gerbier,* 
which Buckingham had brought from Spain. But this miniature is the 
feeble botchwork of a dilettante, if not painted from memory. 

Numerous copperplate engravings of the infanta are extant; that by 
J. Louys after Soutman's drawing is apparently based on Rubens' work ; 
Wolfgang Kilian's seems to be still a portrait of her youth, perhaps after that 
by Gonzalez ; that of Cornelius Galle after Van Dyck, who however never 
saw her, represents her as an empress and aged. All differ considerably 
from each other, though still not at variance at least with our portrait, w^th 
which that by Merian in the Theatrum Europaeum harmonizes best. 

The two works, those of Berlin and the Prado, agree so closely that it 

* Documentos ineditos^ Iv., 422. 

» Photograph in Lord R. Govver's Historical Galleries of England. In the upper corner 
it is stated that : " This is the picture of the Infanta of Spain that was brought over by the 
Duke of Bucks. She was to have married King Charles 1." A fine engraving prepared by 
one of the De Passe family at the time of the negotiations for the marriage in London, 
represents her on horseback : '• A portraiture of the most excellent Princess Maria of 
Austria." Under which follows a list of the Anglo-Spanish marriages since the Conquest, 
(British Museum). Size of the Prado bust, 0-58 X 0*44 m- i of the Berlin figure, 2 X ro6 m. 


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178 Velazquez. 

is hard to say which is the original. Still the circumstances of Velazquez* 
short visit to Naples, when the Court was already breaking up, would scarcely 
have afforded time for the execution of a full-length figure. Hence he more 
probably painted the bust only on that occasion, and merely made a sketch of 
the full figure, which he afterwards finished in Madrid, perhaps not till the 
death of the empress in 1646, an event by which her brother was so pro- 
foundly affected. Hence it might be conjectured that the work found in the 
painter's residence in 1 660 was this full-length likeness, which may never 
have been exhibited, and may even have been completed only a short time 

It is a pale, intelligent, cold face, in which expression and bearing agree 
with the traditional character of a resolute, proud and bigoted person, capable 
however of being at times gracious and affectionate. This latter trait would 
have been more accentuated, had not the painter spread over her features that 
icy chillness of ceremonious composure, and indicated with dry sharpness 
certain otherwise characteristic forms of the nose and mouth. He had an 
unfortunate eye, the ladies would probably say, for such tricks of plastic 
nature, points in which he was more interested than in the subtle harmonies 
of the beautiful. This under-lip in connection with the shadow under the 
nose — the only shadow on the face — imparts a not altogether agreeable touch 
of scorn to the expression. 

On the other hand, the features gain by the style of the hair, the only not 
absolutely tasteless contemporary fashion. The light hair, frizzled in a hun- 
dred little curls, is brushed off" the forehead, and gathered up above the crown 
under a small black lace veil, but brushed forward on the sides of the face, 
which thus seems almost enclosed in a square frame ; angular lines were 
at that time much in vogue. 

Owing to the extraordinary costume of the period face and hands alone 
remain visible ; but even here the artist is saved the effort to give expression 
to the hands, thanks to the conventional use made of the armchair and 
pocket-handkerchief, the latter a costly article probably worth a few 
hundred ducats. Thus the face, as in mediaeval effigies of the saints, 
appears as the only animated point amid uncongenial surroundings. 

But while the costume is that of the year 1630, the general treatment 
betrays touches acquired by the artist in later years. The execution is broad 
and easy, while the hand holding the pocket-handkerchief is not unlike those 
surprisingly sketchy hands of the princesses of the following generation. The 
fiery scarlet red of the curtain occurs in no other work by the master, who for 
such accessories always uses a more or less sombre purple, inclining to violet. 
Equally rare is the fiery red of the priming, which reveals itself here and there 

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RiBERA. 1 79 

in slight cracks, but which is most visible under the white kerchief. In order 
effectively to conceal this real ground, as has here been successfully accom- 
plished, the colours had to be applied very solidly, and, as usual, the most 
diverse parts are treated with one and the same colour, a yellow brown with 
a dash of green. Even the chair, elsewhere covered with red, has here 
a warm leather tone. The general effect is a metallic tone, which, com- 
bined with the stiff style of the costume, tends to deprive the picture of 
the warmth of life. 


During this first stay in Naples Velazquez also visited Ribera, who 
for the last ten years had held the distinguished position of Court painter 
to the viceroy, and was then residing in a spacious mansion over against 
the Church of St. Francis Xavier (now St. Ferdinand). 

This visit is certainly not referred to by Pacheco, and in fact is first 
mentioned by Bermudez, who gives no authority for his statement. But 
even supposing Velazquez had no desire to make the acquaintance of 
the most famous Spanish painter of the period, he could have scarcely 
avoided meeting him. Ribera had been entrusted by Osuna with the 
general management of all artistic work in the Palazzo Reale, where 
Queen Mary was then residing. Foreign painters, Sandrart for instance, 
. were in the habit of visiting him, and in Rome Diego must often have 
heard of Ribera, who had shortly before (probably in 1628) been elected 
a member of the Academy of St. Luke. The competition for the painting 
of the Chapel del Tesoro in the Cathedral, which had for eighteen years 
kept the painters' guilds of both cities in a state of excitement, had just 
then entered on an acute phase ; for almost simultaneously with our 
master, Domenichino had at last arrived in Naples. He was soon followed 
by Lanfranco, who was to execute the fresco-painting of the Cupola of 
the Gesii. 

But apart from these considerations, there was scarcely another man 
in Italy with whom Velazquez was probably more eager to discuss Art 
questions. By this time he had entirely got rid of the dark manner of 
his early years. Yet that very manner was closely related to the style 
of Ribera, whom he had even imitated. Pacheco, after mentioning Ribera, 
wrote so late as in 1648: "And my son-in-law follows the same path" 
(il, 16). 

Unfortunately no information is extant regarding the interview of the 
two artists. But fresh light has lately been thrown on Ribera's personal 

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i8o Velazquez. 

views by the thoroughly trustworthy report of a contemporary writer.^ 
These authentic statements, together with a more careful study of his 
works, are quite at variance with the traditional notions regarding this 
artist, who is described as a crude naturalist who despised his great 
precursors, and who, worse still, was a conceited, ambitious, and envious 
intriguer, plotting at the head of a violent cabal against his colleagues. 

But Ribera appears to have been treated by tradition in a more than 
usually "stepmotherly" fashion. This artist, who never condescended to 
pander to the coarse sensuality of the age, had hitherto been known 
to posterity only through the hostile and utterly untrustworthy accounts 
of the Neapolitans. Nor is this all. His own artistic records have been, 
as it were, to the utmost extent interpolated. Our galleries are flooded 
with the works of pupils and imitations, while the little that is genuine 
forms the least valuable part of his work. Germany, for instance, possesses 
only two of his better productions, so that it is not surprising that 
no one has hitherto been tempted to "rehabilitate," or even to trouble 
himself at all about him. 

It was in 1625 that the painter Jusepe Martinez of Saragossa made 
Ribera's acquaintance in Naples. As men like Ribera are not usually 
overburdened with ideas, we may presume that he spoke to Velazquez 
much to the same purpose as he did to Martinez. " I received from him," 
says this writer, " much civility ; he showed me some cabinets and 
galleries in the great palaces ; I w^as immensely pleased with everything, 
although coming from Rome all seemed petty; for in this city [Naples] 
everything turns more on the military and cavalry than on things con- 
nected with the Art of design. So I remarked to my fellow-countryman, 
who agreed with me." Ribera showed himself equally polite to Sandrart, 
who expressly calls him "courteous" {hdJJich\ and who w^as introduced 
by him to the Cavaliere Massimo, an artist who, to believe the scandalous 
chronicles of the times, must have been regarded by the Spaniard as a 
detested rival. 

No less at variance are his sentiments with the local reports, repre- 
senting him as a sort of naturalistic know-nothing. " I asked him," 
continues the Saragossa painter, "whether he felt no desire to revisit 
Rome in order again to see the original pictures of his early studies. Then 
he heaved a deep sigh and said : ' Not only do I yearn again to see them, 
but again to study them ; for these are w orks which should be very 
often studied and pondered over. No doubt people now paint from another 

* Jusepe Martinez : Discursos practicables del nobilisimo arte de la pintura, edited 
by Don Valentin Carderera (Madrid : 1866), p. 33 et seq. 

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RiBERA. l8l 

Standpoint^ and another practice. Nevertheless if we do not build on 
this foundation of study, we may easily come to a bad end, especially in 
the historical subjects, which are the polar-star of perfection ; and herein 
we are guided by the histories painted by the immortal Raphael in the 
holy palace; whoever studies these works will make himself a true and 
finished historical painter.' " * 

'* These words," adds Martinez, ** showed me how little to the point 
was that report, according to which this great painter boasted that none 
of the old or new masters had equalled his unsurpassable works." 

Jusepe Ribera had developed his Art under an Italian sky, and, like 
so many other foreign painters, under the shifting influences of a free 
wandering life. He had probably been directed towards the Lombard 
School by the teachings and accounts of his master Ribalta in Valencia. 
His steps were first turned towards Parma, where he became so imbued 
with the spirit of Correggio, that a chapel painted by him in that place 
was by contemporary travellers often taken for a work of this master. 
Thus began the career of Spagnoletto, as Ribera was called in Italy. 

But in Italy itself since the time of Correggio taste had undergone 
a profound change. The public now demanded " stronger meat " than the 
poetry of light, genial unrestrained re-interpretations of the ecclesiasti- 
cal legends with exclusive regard to the free canons of beauty and bodily 
charm. The new Art of Caravaggio, another Lombard, produced even in 
the centre of the school of Bologna a stronger impression than the sublime 
examples of the older masters preserved in that place. Both Guido and 
Guercino adopted the plastic, solid manner. 

The founder of naturalism doubtless himself preferred those unpre- 
tentious, genuinely pictorial motives of the Dutch type taken from every- 
day life, and he was certainly fortunate in his choice of fresh, pretty, 
youthful models. But most patrons of Art wanted realities of quite a 
different order, and the technique of the torture-chamber was a prevailing 
feature of the times. Agostino Caracci had depicted the flaying of St. 
Bartholomew with the indifference of an anatomical demonstrator ; Poussin 
had taken the prize for ghastliness and bad taste by his skilful manipula- 
tion of the entrails of St. Erasmus; in his Crucifixion of Peter, Guido 
had produced a. masterpiece of gibbet scenes ; lastly in his St. Jerome 
receiving the Viaticum Domenichino thought it incumbent upon him to 
figure the venerable doctor of the Church as an embodiment of senility 
in its most repulsive aspect 

* Rumbo : lit. " point of the compass." 

* Op. cit, p. 35. 

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1 82 Velazquez. 

Ribera, who had at first yielded only to the promptings of his artistic 
feelings, and had consequently been reduced to penury, now learnt that the 
man who would control the times must learn to serve them. He studied 
Caravaggio, and without having known him personally, became his most 
inspired pupil. Being, as a Spaniard, himself of a realistic and gloomy devo- 
tional turn, he soon outstripped all contemporaries in the department of 
ascetic naturalism. To his martyr scenes he gave such a local tone of the 
gallows, to his heads and figures such a vigour of relief and learned 
modelling, to his attitudes such characteristic energy and often such a deep 
pathos, that many declared that where all others had failed success had 
here been achieved. 

But so great was the demand for these works that Ribera had first 
recourse to the burin to multiply them, and then called in the aid of pupils. 
These furnished most of the works passing under his name ; but if they 
brought him fame and a brilliant income they have also seriously impaired 
him in the eyes of posterity by throwing into the shade the better works of 
his first and brighter manner. This manner, however, he never quite laid 
aside; we meet it in the middle, and quite at the close, as well as at the outset 
of his career. His Conception in the Monterey Convent, Salamanca (1635) 
surpasses all that Guido and Murillo achieved in the interpretation of this 
mystery. His masterpiece, the Last Supper, in San Martino (165 1) was 
one of the most deeply afiecting religious creations of the century. 

In Naples Ribera took Velazquez to the large new church of Sta. Trinita 
Maggiore in order to show him the first public work entrusted to him on 
emerging from obscurity. For this commission — three scenes from the life of 
St. Ignatius Loyola — he was indebted to his first patron and " discoverer," 
Osuna, or rather to this nobleman's confessor. Here we see the former 
hidalgOf the fiery and phantastic Basque, who began life as a soldier, 
and then suddenly turned monk, but who still demeans himself with a 
somewhat awkward impetuosity. In one scene he kneels with wide out- 
stretched arms in almost frantic resolution, while the monogram of Jesus 
the Saviour * is shown him in a radiant sun ; in another he turns amazed, 
ehraptured, almost embarrassed, towards the vision of the Virgin, who 
surprises him with the roll on which are inscribed the constitutions of the 
Order ; in a third he does homage to the Vicar of Christ jointly with his 
companions who are drawn up in military subordination. 

Here we see how fresh still were Ribera's reminiscences of Parma. 

^ This monogram was composed of the three letters I.H.S. : Jesus Hominum Satvator, 
whence the motto and the name of the Order of Jesus (Jesuits) founded by Loyola.— 

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RiBERA. 183 

Titian's famous portrait of Paul III. in the Palazzo Famese has been 
introduced into the picture. Thus historical colour and truth of repre- 
sentation* left nothing to be desired. But all that would little interest 
Velazquez in the presence of this light blue sky with the golden cloudlets 
of approaching sunset, these fair-haired, florid, wild children of Nature, 
and this youthful Madonna fondling her Son with a motherly, loving 
expression, as He turns inquiringly towards the ecstatic figure of Ignatius. 
That " colouring of Titian," the study of which had been prescribed by the 
Caracci, but which no one seemed any longer to understand, is here once 
more revived. In these three pictures nothing was dark except the eyes 
and robe of the Saint ; Velazquez had in Italy seen no production of the 
century more glowing or painted with a finer harmony of colours. 

The studio at the entrance of the Strada di Toledo was the resort of a 
strange company. The Court painter was at that time kept very busy by the 
Duke of AlcaU; and as he dated nearly all his works, the inventory for almost 
every year can be accurately determined. In 1630 it illustrated the "two 
souls " that dwelt within his breast ; for then appeared the Apollo with 
Marsyas, a study of youthful manhood, where the silvery glow of the com- 
plexion, the greenish half-tones, the golden hair were blended in a rare 
harmony on the ground of the shimmering purple mantle.* On the other 
hand the Shepherds, a night scene, was a reminiscence of St. Prospero in 
Reggio ; here the Madonna bends smilingly over her child. 

Contrasting with these was a physiological curiosity, the portrait of a 
bearded woman from the Ahruzzi — Maddalena Ventura with husband and 
child, painted for the Viceroy in 1 63 1 and now in the Academy of San 
Fernando (No. 140). For the same learned patron Ribera had executed 
pictures of mendicant philosophers, and an "Archimedes" which looked 
like a caricature by Michael Angelo (Prado lOio). For some time back he 
had taken to a perfectly hideous model, a gigantic figure with broad massive 
skull, bushy black eyebrows, cunning eyes and depressed nose, a fellow 
whom Lavater would have sent to the gallows without more ado. This 
monster is best preserved in the St Rocco painted in 1631 and now in 
the Prado (No. 1000) ; but he was also utilized for the Jacob's Dream of 
1626 (Prado, No. 982), and can again be recognized in the Elias of the 
Carthusian Monastery of San Martino painted in 1638. 

Unless we are much mistaken, Velazquez brought back with him to Madrid 
a correct and favourable impression of Ribera. The very large number of 
his works which during the following decades gravitated towards the Alcazar 

* Paul III., who confirmed the Order, was a Farnese (Alessandro Farnese). — Trans. 

* In 1874 sold in Paris for 2,000 francs. 

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184 Velazquez. 

and the Escorial, and which were mostly placed in inhabited apartments, show 
how popular he had become there. The Prado Museum alone still preserves 
fifty-eight, the Escorial sixteen, although many of the most interesting, dealing 
with mythological and Biblical subjects, have disappeared. Amongst the more 
choice masterpieces in the royal palace were the Jael and Sisera, and the 
Delilah and Samson. With what originality and true feeling he could treat 
mythological tragedies is seen in his Death of Adonis, which was formerly in 
the Alcazar, and perhaps passed thence to the Corsini Gallery, Rome. 

Velazquez probably sailed from Naples direct for Spain. "After an 
absence of eighteen months," writes Pacheco, ** he returned and reached 
Madrid in the beginning of the year 1 631. He was very well received by 
the Count-Duke, at whose request he at once paid his respects to his 
Majesty, and warmly thanked him that he had had himself painted by no 
other painter" [that is, during Velazquez' absence]. " His Majesty was 
much pleased at his return." 

Velazquez also appears to have purchased some paintings for the king ; 
at least in a receipt dated 1634, besides the Vulcan and Joseph's Coat, 
mention also occurs of a Danae by Titian, a Susanna by Cambiasi, and a 

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163 1— 1648. 


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Official Duties. 

FOR eighteen years Velazquez now resided without further interruption 
. at the Court of Philip IV., and this period covered the prime of his 
manhood. After his first studies, the tentative efforts of his early years, the 
contests and laurels of his opening career, this Italian interlude of change 
rather than repose had intervened, although for the more highly gifted 
minds true repose still consists, not in absolute rest, but in change of scene 
and work. In the Art-world of Italy he had breathed freely, had become 
fully conscious of his own powers, and acquired a renewed stimulus to 
create by his wanderings amid " fresh fields and pastures new." 

These eighteen years coincide with the second half of the great war, in 
which Spain also put forth her last reserve of strength, and after which she 
ceased to be numbered amongst the Great Powers. At Court little was 
noticed of this steady decline, except in the financial straits, which, however, 
were here a chronic disease. Men, says a comic poet, are ever wont to be 
most merry when they have entered on the high road to ruin. 

In Madrid the disastrous war made itself chiefly felt in the public 
celebration of victories, on which occasions luxury and display vied with each 
other in extravagance. The long-expected birth of an heir had at last 
brought life and rejoicings to the royal household, and with this last scion of 
the Habsburgs grew up a charming princess, destined one day to cement an 
alliance either with the Imperial or the French reigning family. A country 
seat and a hunting-box sprang up and caused a flutter of excitement in the 
widest Art circles, attracting all the talent that still sur\'ived in the Peninsula, 
in Flanders and Italy. The first half especially of this period, from 1631 to 
1639, was probably the happiest experienced both by Philip and Velazquez. 
The Court painter stood in the forefront of a host of varied talents, enjoying 
the ear of the monarch, but exempt from the rivalries to which prominent 
officials of that class are usually exposed. Standing in no man's way, and 

Digitized by 


1 88 Velazquez. 

exclusively engaged in turning- everything to the best account, he must have 
felt that his lines at this time had surely fallen in pleasant places. 

But p)erhaps for that very reason this period of his life affords little scope 
to the biographer. Besides the marriage of his daughter, the records speak 
only of official appointments, increase of stipends, payment of arrears and 
journeys in the suite of the Court. But for artists and friends of Art, the life 
of a painter lies in his work, in the development and changes that take place 
in his style of treatment and technique. What a book we should have were 
we acquainted with the history of each portrait, its origin, the sittings, the 
judgments, the approvals, the heart-burnings ! Each would then be a little 
novel in itself; but unfortunately we are ignorant even of their very dates. 

Besides his appointment as Court painter, during this period Velazquez 
gradually acquired several other offices. Of these the majority were purely 
Court or honorary positions, a small number only being of strictly adminis- 
trative character. Their functions were concerned with the daily service of 
their Majesties, and the palace ceremonies. They were thus the most con- 
venient form under which increase of income could be secured, together 
with titles of distinction, which are indispensable to the courtier to 
strengthen and advance his social position. In this connection one remem- 
bers that Jan van Eyck, for instance, had been varkt de chambre to Philip 
the Good. At that time the painter Juan van der Hamen was archero, 
that is, enrolled in the Burgundian bodyguard. And Palomino tells 
us that the Florentine sculptor Rutilio Gaxi was one of the twenty acrqys, 
or gentilhombres de la casa, who attended the king to church and on State 

The extant documents connected with these appointments and with our 
artist's pecuniary relations afford an insight into the financial condition of the 
Spanish Court, about which however there was never any great mystery, 
// re non paga nessuno (" The king pays nobody "), bluntly wrote Baglioni 
in November 1630. According to Giustiniani's report for 1649 the royal 
palace was such an insatiable maw, that the annual revenues of the American 
goldmines would not have sufficed to punctually pay up all claims of the 
household. The liveries alone came to a hundred and thirty thousand ducats, 
and the king's private purse to two thousand ducats monthly, although he 
was by no means generous. All the revenues were pledged to the Genoese ; 
and Alvise Corner wrote in 1624 : "There is no post, no rank, no privileged 
person that can get punctually paid ; even the pay of the king's guard, who 
are always on duty, is three years in arrear. As a special favour creditors 
may procure an order on one of the Government mints, distant perhaps a 
hundred miles from Madrid. But there nothing is coined except copper, and 

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BuEN Retiro. 189 

when you arrive there is no supply even of that metal, all the money having 
been sent as soon as coined to Madrid to meet the requirements of the royal 
household ; besides a hundred orders are waiting their turn. Hence people 
readily dispose of their credit even at a loss ! " 

In the case of persons who, like our painter, stood in high favour, the 
administration occasionally came to terms ; his stipend would then be 
increased, he would declare himself satisfied, his balance would be wiped 
out, and he would waive all claim to future honoraria. 

BuEN Retiro. 

From about the year 1632 you can scarcely take up a history of Spain 

without running against the name of Buen Retiro. The Court and city 

chronicles, the works of poets and painters are intimately associated with this 

" Castle of Indolence." When Calderon produced on the feast of St. John in 

1636 the great comedy with the description of the three continents, Philip lent 

for the occasion the Cross of the Order of Santiago, ** with the unanimous 

approval of the citizens." Here a stage in harmony with the altered manners 

had been created by the Hispano-Burgundian Court, at whose head stood a 

prince needing distraction, but whose minister would give him no peace. The 

fancy of Tuscan engineers, the innovations of Italian musicians, the genius of 

the Spanish dramatists, the skill of the Madrid painters, here transformed to 

decorators, lastly Nature itself reduced to a piece of artificial work, all jointly 

conspired to produce ephemeral creations, which entranced the senses but acted 

banefuUy on the several Arts. Besides the professional actors. Majesty itself 

and its courtiers, councillors and secretaries of State, at times took part in the 

performances. The historical painters also had been called in to co-operate in 

decorating the apartments. Their works, which like those of the poetic muse 

were the least recompensed, were like them also the only productions of high 

value — almost all in fact that Buen Retiro has bequeathed to posterity. 

Down to the close of the last century Buen Retiro still preserved works 
from every period of our artist's career — the Water-Carrier of Seville; the 
Forge of Vulcan ; the large equestrian portraits of the king and his father 
with their queens, and that of the crown prince ; the Surrender of Breda ; 
and from his last years the queenly figures which shed a charm over the 
Court of the failing monarch. 

Since Madrid had become the royal residence its most favourite 
promenade lay on the east side. In the present Salon del Prado^ where, 
during the summer evenings, thousands of all classes are bathed in the 
after-glows of the enchanting *' nights of Madrid^' Perez de Messa, writing 

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J90 Velazquez. 

in 1595, tells us that even in Philip II.'s time the people enjoyed *'the sun 
in winter, the cool air in summer." Along this spacious avenue, two thousand 
feet in length and one hundred and twenty broad, the seiloras in their stiflF 
attire drove slowly up and down, escorted by the cavaliers on their prancing 
Andalusian steeds. Under the three rows of poplars, festooned vrith flower- 
ing rose-branches, music was played of an evening, while the air was 
refreshed and the dust laid by the sparkling waters of four fountains. On 
the sward in the shade of the trees the people feasted and loved, for even 
under that severe rule the Prado had already become a temple of Venus, 

The promenade was overlooked by the Convent of St. Ger6nimo with its 
Gothic church, spacious garden and olive grove crowning the eminence over 
against the city. This monastery, founded elsewhere by Henry IV., but 
removed hither under Isabella, had been from the first closely connected with 
the Court. In 1 5 10 the Castilian Cortes assembled in the church, and here 
the lieges did homage to the heir-apparent. Near the church stood a royal 
residence, the Cuarto Viejo^ or Reiiro de Si. Cerdnimo, whence the kings and 
queens with their princely guests and envoys entered the city, and whither 
the royal family withdrew during periods of Court mourning and in Holy 
Week. Philip II. had the Retiro rebuilt by Juan Bautista Toledo, adding 
thirty rooms for himself and the queen, with galleries, towers, pleasure- 
grounds, and moats on the model, as was said, of a country seat which he 
had occupied with Queen Mary during his stay in England. Foreign visitors 
were also at times entertained here. 

Under Philip's successors another centre of attraction sprang up in 
this district — the palace, garden, and p/aza of the Duke of Lerma, which 
for public festivities Philip III. preferred to the Plaza mayor, Quevedo 
thought this ducal residence more charming in its later decadence than 
in its heyday. 

True to the new spirit of economy, the present favourite, Olivares, had, 
much to the disgust of the jaded courtiers, discontinued his "magnificent" 
predecessor's practice of entertaining the king in his own villas and palaces. 
But now, after a lapse of ten years, he found himself compelled to return to 
the old custom. Philip had to be enticed from the gloomy old Alcazar which 
fostered his disposition to give way to melancholy broodings. Olivares' 
wife's family owned a garden near the Prado, and he himself had here laid 
out a little park, where he found some relief from the worries of public 
affairs in the company of his pet birds — pheasants, swans, and fancy poultry. 
This place commanded a fine view of the city, and it occurred to him that 
his preserves might be enlarged and converted into a rustic retreat for the 
king under the very walls of the capital. He purchased the surrounding 

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BuEN Retiro. 191 

grounds, cut oflF a slice from the convent olive grove^ induced the municipality 
to grant him certain other lands until he got together a tract about a mile in 
circumference. It formed the rising ground which skirted the Prado in its 
entire length from the Alcaic highway to the Atocha Church and eastwards 
to the Valnegral rivulet. 

Olivares kept his plans a profound secret, so that nobody knew how he 
came by that prop)erty, or what he was doing with all those builders, 
gardeners, and " navvies." " When I was there the first time," wrote the 
Venetian Corner in 1633, ""^ ^^^ had any idea of this building, and within 
two years all is now finished." People fancied it was only to be a garden, 
and now it appeared that he aimed at a second Aranjuez, with its palace, 
theatre, plaza^ preserves, and park. On January 9, 1633, the oratory of a 
make-believe hermitage was consecrated by three bishops, for the chapel had 
always been the first place fitted up by the Spanish kings in their mansions. 
And so, on December i, the king presented himself with the whole Court to 
^' inaugurate " the new villa by a grand tournament on the square facing the 
theatre. Mounted on an Andalusian palfrey he ran a tilt with Olivares, 
arrayed in an embroided nut-brown velvet robe (a gift from the queen), with 
blue-white plume (the Infanta Isabella's colours), a red scarf, large shield and 
be-pennoned lance. " Buen Retiro," wrote Serrano at the time, " will become 
what Monte Cavallo is in relation to St. Peter's." 

Since the military occupation of the Retiro during the wars of the present 
century, little now remains of this creation of the count-duke. 

St. Ger6nimo alone, with its dilapidated cloisters, although the oldest 
monument in the district, has outlived all storms, and towards the north 
still towers the remarkable Puerta del Angelc, now removed to the new 
entrance to the park. The monks were often invited to the theatricals 
in the hermitage, and they returned the compliment by throwing open 
their doors to those needing "absolution" for the peccadilloes committed 
amid the temptations of the Retiro. " For here," again writes Serrano, 
" it is a perpetual round of ceremonies, audiences, etiquette, with devo- 
tional exercises and 'discipline,' one following the other like sleep and 

The new palace was contiguous north-eastwards with the convent, and 
more immediately with the quarters of Philip II., who had here built a large 
quadrangle a hundred and twenty feet square, with thirteen windows and 
balconies on the first story, five-and-twenty on the second, and four towers 
at the corners. 

Buen Retiro itself was neither elegant nor substantial, built of the 
flimsiest materials, with small un-ornamental windows and long narrow 

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192 Velazquez. 

rooms, which seemed more suited for a monastery than for a temple of 
gaiety. It was still in the jejune cinquecento style, and the whole thing 
was said to have driven a nail in the coffin of the architect Crescenzi, 
compelled under protest to carry out Olivares' instructions. 

In the waste ground is still seen a fragment of the quadrangle, the 
north wing with its comer . tower forming the present Artillery Museum. 
This was the Salon de los Reinos with mirrored vaulted ceiling, gilded 
arabesques and abundant light from both sides. Here were held the last 
Cortes of 1789, which proclaimed the abolition of the Salic law. Northwards 
stretched the great plaza, or square, where were held the grand tournaments 
and bull-fights. But even this did not suffice, and for the festivities in honour 
of the king's son-in-law (Ferdinard III.), elected to the imperial throne in 
1637, '^^re was laid out the so-called "Great Theatre," or circus, a space of 
two hundred and thirty paces long by a hundred an(J ninety broad A hill 
had to be levelled, and the best woodlands of the neighbourhood encroached 
upon to make room for the seats and stands, with the double row of balconies 
shimmering in silver and gold, hung with tapestries, and at night lit up with 
thousands of wax candles in glass lanterns. 

This group of structures lay open towards the Prado and the Capital, 
but was closed in by the park on all other sides. Eastwards stood the 
great cross-way, where covered passages converged on an octagonal space, 
the OchavadOf and chiefly on the verge of the park were scattered the ennitas, 
or " hermitages," those of SS. Ines and Magdalen at the north end, elsewhere 
those of SS. Bruno and John the Baptist, where Olivares resided and sought 
with the Alchemist Vincenzo Massimi the secret of gold-making. These 
hermitages were little villas, with shrines, watchtowers and aviaries, mazes 
grottoes, fishponds and other rural fancies. The most remarkable was 
that of St. Anthony in the south-east, in a lakelet, where is now the FuenU 
de la China, 

Besides numerous flower-gardens, some in the open, some enclosed 
within the courts, there were seven or eight ponds on terraces, connected 
by broad and deep canals, on which the gondolas plied. Of these water- 
works there still survives the great basin {estanque grande), one thousand 
and six feet by four hundred and forty-three feet, where water-nymphs and 
tritons were occasionally seen disporting themselves round about Galatea. 

But the glory of Buen Retiro was its theatre, where all the mar\'els 
of fancy seemed each in its turn to become realities. The fates had 
placed at Olivares' disposal not only poets of undying fame, but also 
masters of scenic decoration unrivalled in Europe, and musicians who had 
been formed in Florence, birthplace of Italian Opera. From the etchings 

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BuEN Retiro. 193 

of Callot and Israel Silvestre some idea may still be had of the spectacles 
exhibited in this place. 

In 1628 Cosimo Lotti, a pupil of Bartolotti, the inventor of theatrical 
shifting scenery, had arrived in Madrid accompanied by Pier Francesco 
Candolfi, as '* master carpenter," and two gardeners from the Boboli 
Gardens. Lotti planned the theatre with the apparatus for opening the 
stage towards the park, where was seen a vista of flower-gardens and 
grottos illumined by artificial light, pageants, triumphal chariots and 
masquerades, perspectives of hovering groups as in the comedies of 
Daphne and Circe, and so forth. In Calderon's Circe (August 1635) the 
islet in the great basin was transformed to a fairy-scene of groves with 
fountains and volcanoes, animals and shades of Avernus, where Circe 
on the dolphin-chariot rushed through the water to break the spell. 
Lotti also supplied the apparatus for the Maundy Thursday service and 
the " Forty Hours' Devotion." * 

After his death Ferdinand II. sent (1651) in his place the painter 
Baccio del Bianco (1604-56) a pupil of Galileo, who had formerly 
resided in Prague in the suite of Wallenstein. Baccio surpassed his 
predecessor in the boldness and never-failing success of his magic trans- 
formation scenes. Probably his greatest triumph was Calderon's Perseus, 
where were conjured up marine views and shipwrecks, earthquakes, 
metamorphoses of women into statues and vice^versd, flying amortni, 
Vulcan's smithy with Cyclop)ean hammers beating time to music, visions 
of Olympus and the like. At the sight of these marvellous stage efiects 
Calderon himself was struck dumb, and hastening in alarm to the king 
suggested that his Majesty had better bring " bed and board " to the 
show, which must surely last eight days. But everything was got through 
in a few hours without a single hitch. The Perseus had " a run " of thirty- 
six nights and attracted " pilgrims " from a distance of two hundred miles. 

Now came the problem of fitting up these hastily executed structures 
in a manner worthy of a King of Spain, and of such a spoilt king as 
Philip. But although this second half of the task seemed more arduous 
than the first, Olivares was fully equal to the occasion. First of all the 
king was persuaded to lay his own residences under contribution ; only he 
would allow nothing to be brought from the palaces of the Capital and the 
Pardo. But everything that was portable was removed from the palace and 
grounds of Valladolid, from Aranjuez, and even all the way from Lisbon. 

» This devotion of the Quaranf Ore, or " Forty Hours," u'as a special worship paid 
to the Host, or •' Blessed Sacrament," exhibited to public adoration for that period. — 


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194 Velazquez.. 

Although Philip II. had once promised that nothing should be taken from 
the palace in the Portuguese capitel its rich tapestries were now spirited 
away, " those hangings which that kingdom preserved in its pride and 
in memory of the greatness of its ancient princes, and which were the 
best things they had there." * 

In 1634 they brought from Aranjuez Leone Leoni's famous bronze 
statue of "Charles V. with Heresy at his Feet" and its removable 
armour; also those of his Queen Isabella, of Philip II. and his aunt 
Mary of Hungary, and in 1638 the antique busts. Now also the nobles, 
the farmers of the public revenues (mostly Genoese), the courtiers were 
invited to sell, or better still to present, their best artistic possessions. 
As Olivares personally accepted no gifts, we may readily imagine how 
relieved many must have been at this indirect way of obliging him ! 
The Hercules on whose bra^^^ly shoulders rested the burden of public 
affairs now listened more eagerly to reports about feasts of St. John 
or the Carnival, about costly cabinets, Florentine mosaic tables, and old 
tapestries than about business matters, any reference to which put him out 
of sorts. People beheld with amazement this stern, gloomy minister 
associating with buffoons and comedians. 

But many still trembled. The Auditor Tejeda had copies made of 
his best paintings, and really deceived the constable, although the fraud 
was discovered in the palace. The richest of these private collections 
was that of Legan^s, whose treasures had been brought from Flanders, 
Germany, Italy — in fact from all quarters. These were now saved by 
his wife, who declared they were all a part of her dowry and her personal 
property ; so Legan^s got off by the offer of a valuable piece of tapestry. 
The chapel was fitted up by the President of Castile. Don Fadrique of 
Toledo received nineteen thousand crowns for the porcelain furniture of an 
apartment, and twenty-five thousand for a carpet, but before parting he 
took care that the money was paid up. 

As luck would have it some good paintings came in just then, 
including some pickings from the twelve cartloads brought by Monterey 
from Naples (1633). The king's brother Cardinal Ferdinand sent, in 
1637, seven lifesize bronze statues symbolizing the seven planets, which 
had been taken during the French wars in Li^ge ; lastly, in the spring 
of 1638, the ayuda de cdtnara arrived with a waggon-load of a hundred 
and twelve paintings— mythologies, landscapes and genre piecesT-which had 
been collected or executed for Buen Retiro. 

Then the native artists were engaged to paint large and small pictures. 
* Documentos in^ditos, Ixix. 283. The allusion is probably to the " Spheres." 

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BuEN Retiro. 195 

Olivares had discovered that the landscapes of Orrente, in the taste of Bassano, 
at that time so popular in Madrid, were well suited for the new palace, and 
accordingly got together as many as twenty, the best representing scenes from 
the Old Testament. The Madrid artist, Juan de la Corte (1597 — 1660), 
painted numerous mythological and biblical pieces as landscapes with figures 
as accessories, and some of these may still be seen in the retreat of Riofrio 
at San Ildefonso. But Juan was surpassed by CoU^ntes, to judge at least 
from his Vision of Ezekiel with the Resurrection of the Dead in a landscape 
with ruins (1630) and his Burning of Troy now in the Granada Museum. 

A still more important commission for the Madrid artists was the illus- 
tration of the national triumphs during the great wars, in the midst of which 
these arts of peace were being fostered. The large historical works intended 
for the Sa/a del Reino comprised twelve battles and landings, sieges raised 
and strongholds stormed. Seven painters were here at work, celebrating 
the great deeds of nine living captains, whose glory, however, was concen- 
trated on the head of the count-duke, who had been chiefly instrumental 
in inducing the king to undertake these wars. Here were depicted vic- 
tories over the Dutch and English, over Protestant leagues and Italian 
confederacies, in the old and new world. And it was certainly remarkable 
that amid so much maladministration so many military successes could 
still be achieved. 

The selection of subjects had naturally been made by Olivares himself, 
while the artists were probably chosen by Velazquez and the king's old 
drawing-master, Juan Bautista Maino. But for the earliest account of the 
undertaking we are indebted to the Florentine envoy Serrano (April 28, 
^635), whose report here and there supplies data omitted by the inven- 
tory and by the description left us by Ponz (vi., 1 1 5). One piece, how- 
.ever, is omitted in Serrano's list — the Raising of the Siege of Valenza on 
the Po by Coloma. When the news of these successes arrived his report 
had already been made. 

The most remarkable of these works was Eugenio Caxesi's Repulse of 
the English at Cadiz by Don Fernando Giron in 1625, now in the Prado (697). 
But in all of them the influence of Velazquez seems unmistakable, and here 
the success of his Moriscos had no doubt taught th^ painters a good lesson. 
He himself could scarcely have depicted Don Fernando Giron more to the 
life, while his palette is even suggested by Jos^ Leonardo's two pieces — the 
Surrender of Breda (1625), and the Capture of Acqui (1626). The head of 
Don Carlos Coloma in the Siege of Valenza had been painted by Velazquez 
himself. Later he treated one of the subjects (the Breda piece) again, doubt- 
less because he was dissatisfied with Leonardo's work, by the side of which 

Digitized by 


196 Velazquez. 

he exhibited his own. And thus it happened that Olivares' undertaking 
gave the impulse to the best historical and military piece produced by 
the Spanish school. 

These twelve triumphs seemed to the controller of Spanish politics merely 
the preliminary to events of a far different character. In the very year 
in which we receive the first account of the undertaking war was declared 
against France. Yet even this struggle, which was destined for ever to 
break the power of Spain, was still attended by a few brilliant victories, 
which did but tend to strengthen Olivares* faith in his luck-star ; for had not 
the Parisians in 1636 witnessed from the heights of Montmartre the smoke 
of the burning villages in Picardy, which proclaimed the approach of the 
cardinal-prince and of Thomas of Savoy? And had not Conde's forces 
been driven in headlong flight to their ships after they had effected a 
landing on Spanish soil in 1638 ? 

Such festivities as were now celebrated at Buen Retiro for national successes 
had never before been witnessed in Spain. In order to distract a moody 
prince, hundreds of thousands were often squandered on a single evening, 
while the troops were starving in Flanders, '* the cockpit of Europe," and on 
the plains of Lombardy ; and while commanders were obliged to give up their 
plans of campaign for lack of support from Madrid. Dazzled by this glit- 
tering "insubstantial pageant," the good Madrilenos fancied the times of 
Charles V. had come back, and been even eclipsed. The year 1638 was 
vaunted as the most glorious of the present reign, and the close of this 
annus mirabiiis was commemorated by the performance of a play entitled 
Las victorias del atio 1638 ! Yet the very next year this Feast of Belshazzar 
was suddenly lit up by the lurid flame of the writing on the wall, which 
in the loss of Portugal and the revolt in Catalonia announced the rupture 
of the empire bequeathed by Philip II. to his feeble posterity. 

Park Views. 

Some contemporary paintings are still extant which give views of various 
points in the gardens of Buen Retiro as well as of the older parks. A few of 
those in the former Salamanca collection had at least the merit of correct 
prospects. If the style of gardening were somewhat formal, no '' fashionable 
ennui ^* prevailed amongst the general public. Amid the fountains, bowers 
and classical temples the tame deer moved fearlessly about; on the grassy 
carpets sat the ladies plucking flowers and wreathing chaplets, or 
thrumming on their guitars as they lent an ear to the highflown gallantries 
of demonstrative cavaliers. 

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Park Views. 


The more open and picturesque prospects are by the inventories attributed 
to Velazquez. Although mostly of a very sketchy nature and also darkened, 
they still suffice to reveal what hovered before the painter's eye, and even yet 
awaken memories of all the charms of southern garden scenery. They show 
a marked falling off from the large, clear, bright landscapes of the equestrian 
pictures, in the dull brown tone especially of the foliage. The blurred and 
roughly suggested figures also contrast unfavourably with those more 
delicately drawn in the hunting-pieces. They betray a resemblance to 


landscapes by Mazo, from which, however, they are distinguished by their 
less studied beautiful invention. 

Two badly preserved sketches (Nos. 1 1 1 1 and 1 1 12) are supposed to refer 
to Buen Retiro. Behind a balustrade, on the middle of which a peacock is 
perched, the large basin is displayed, the margins distinctly mirrored in its 
still surface. At the bank is moored a boat with red-capped rowers ; to the 
left stands a cavalier, towards whom a lady extends her hand from underneath 
her mantle, while over against them a white marble statue looks down from 
its p)edestal. 

The pendent piece gives a view from the terrace of a white palace with two 

Digitized by 


198 Velazquez. 

wings. In the foreground is Jupiter with the thunderbolt, a couple are 
leaning against the balustrade of the terrace ; in the foreground to the left a 
woman in a slashed dress is seated on the grass with a child and basket of 
roses in front. 

Two other much larger and more fully worked-out park views transport 
us to the islet at Aranjuez, that oasis in the Castilian wilderness which had 
been created by Philip II. 

No. 1 109 gives a view of the famous Fountain of the Tritons, which in its 
dilapidated state has now been set up near the palace in the Jardin del Moro, 
A cluster of slender white alders twined round and round with ivy and 
forming a kind of trellis, through which streams the light blue and the golden 
sunset of a clear sky, encircles and beshadows a large square basin. A 
triangular socle in the centre supports a gigantic shell, from which boldly 
springs a white marble fountain, which at the time was fed by water from 
the Tagus. Groups of columns encircled by nymphs as Caryatides bear two 
conchs, the lower with a relief of swimming sirens clinging to dolphins. At 
the summit a marble figure ejects the jet of water which falls back into the 
topmost basin, and thence overflows in silvery threads into the lower shell ; 
from this the water again streams into voluted conchs, which are borne 
on the shoulders of three tritons, their right arms leaning on shields. 
Four other smaller jets of water spurt up from the four comers of the 
square basin. 

From the inscription on the pediment it appears that this Fountain of the 
Tritons was here erected by the king in the year 1657. 

On the moss-grown roots of the tree in the foreground is seated a lady, 
to whom her cavalier is presenting a wreath of roses. Two others, who also 
proudly display their bare necks, are seated on the grass busy with a large 
flower-basket — perhaps nymphs of Flora, " who here holds sway and strews all 
her treasures about." So we know it is springtide, for the flowers soon 
perish in the glowing summer sun. From the fountain approaches a maiden 
with roses in her frock, while to the right a Franciscan friar stands convers- 
ing with a gentleman in a black mantle. Here the birds trill so loudly that 
the speakers need fear no eavesdroppers. 

Quite inexplicable is the proportion between fountain and figures, for 
those in the foreground are smaller than the scarcely lifesize statues farther 
back. This circumstance, as well as the dull tone, might suggest that 
Mazo, with his artless disregard for perspective, may have had a hand in 
the work. 

The second picture (No. 1 1 10) brings us to the entrance to the Calle de 
la Reina^ or '* Queen's Walk," a perfectly straight avenue twenty-two feet 

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The Surrender of Breda. 199 

broad and a good mile long, lined all the way by mighty elms " much higher," 
says Gramont, " than any I ever saw in the Netherlands." They meet over- 
head, forming a tunnel impenetrable to the sun's rays ; but at one end the 
gloom is pierced t>jr a single sunny beam. Contemporary travellers tell us 
that it was impossible to see right through, and Boisel riding along came to a 
spot where you could not see to the end either way. The avenue begins at 
the palace gate, and is twice crossed by the Tagus before mei^ng in the 
thicket, " where noble elms and weeping willows bend over the still surface 
of the water." This is the point with the stream glittering to the left 
that our artist has seized. Three " sixes-in-hand " between a double line 
of cavaliers are about to pass the barriers drawn aside by park rangers. 
But the picture has become quite darkened.* 

Two small pictures which Consul Meade is said to have brought with 
others from Spain (Curtis, p. 63), and which I saw in Sir W. Stirling-Maxweirs 
residence in London, are apparently studies of figures for such park views. 
They were thought much of by Thor^, who praises the rareie exquise, puis^ 
sance de ton, the fragrance as of a tropical flowering plant, the human interest 
of the scene — two ladies seated on the grass in conversation with a cavalier, 
a lady and a gentleman seated facing each other, and a second lady turning 
her back on them: quite a little romance! To me, however, they seemed 
broader, darker and duller than similar groups of the master. 

The Surrender of Breda. 


(E/ Cuadro de las>Lanzas,) 

Amongst the few large compositions by our master this work unquestion- 
ably takes the foremost place for the interest of the subject, although the 
connoisseur may be more captivated by the delicate pictorial effect of others. 
In this work also the human soul in the artist appeals to us more sympatheti- 
cally than elsewhere. On the time of its production accurate information is 
still lacking, and it is introduced in this place chiefly on account of the 
subject, for it was one of the military pieces in the Salon de los Reinos in 
Buen Retiro. 

The siege of Breda was regarded as the most brilliant strategic event of 
the period, a chapter in the history of siege tactics comparable to the 
investment and capture of Ostend — hitherto the greatest achievement of 
the kind by the same famous captain. For the renewed aggressive policy 
against the States-General it was a first success of the highest promise. 

* Size of No. nil, 147 x 114 m.; of 1112, 148 x iii m. ; of 1109, 1*48 x 2-23111 ; of 
mo, 245 X 2-02 m. 

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Breda, in North Brabant — near the frontier of Holland proper, and looked 
on as ** the right eye of the Netherlands " — had been occupied in 1 567 by 
Alba, ten years afterwards recovered by Holach, and again seized by Haute- 
f)enne. But in 1590 this ''bulwark of Flanders/' as the Spaniards called it, 
had fallen by treachery into the power of the Orange party, in whose hands 
it had become a thorn in their side, the ** refuge of conspirators/' an 
advanced post against Brabant, and a menace to Antwerp. 


Breda was the seat of the Orange family, who here owned a fine strongly 
fortified castle with a well-kept park, which Maurice called his "Vale of 
Tempe." In the church was a sumptuous monument to the memory of 
Engelbert II., general of Charles V.; and here William of Orange had 
received Prince Philip on the occasion of his visit to Flanders in 1552. 
Naturally a .strong position, it had in recent years been made a model 
fortress, held by a garrison of veterans and containing a military academy 
frequented by English, French and German students. 

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The Surrender of Breda. 201 

In 1624 the Spanish party clearly saw that something must be done ; and 
just then the opportune suspension of hostilities in Germany enabled them to 
concentrate their forces in this direction. At the same time the idea of attack- 
ing a fortress supposed to be impregnable met with almost universal opposition 
in military circles. But Spinola — who was said to have received the laconic 
message from Madrid : " Marques, sumais Breda, Yo el Rey^ — first made a 
feint movement against Grave, and then suddenly surprised his officers by 
ordering a forced march on Breda. 

For a time the enterprise gave rise to feelings of contempt, for Spinola 
found himself simultaneously confronted by the army of Maurice of Nassau 
and the garrison which never missed a shot. A ball struck his tent, another 
carried away some portions of his charger's bridle, while the work of 
procuring provisions for the camp presented enormous difficulties. His 
power of endurance was almost superhuman, and after all was over he 
himself attributed his success solely to his watchfulness {vtgilantia). 
Maurice died before the end of the siege, his last anxipus thoughts given 
to Breda, In May, when the supplies were running short, his successor, 
Henry Frederick, made an attempt to relieve the besieged, but had to 
retire after a sanguinary combat. 

The eyes of the world were directed to this point, where were engaged 
Italians, Germans, and French, as well as Netherlanders and Spaniards ; 
where the prize of victory seemed to be a kingdom rather than a strong- 
hold. And when the place at last yielded, Spinola recognized the valour and 
endurance of his opponents by granting the most honourable terms ever yet 
conceded to a captured garrison. The aged governor, Justin of Nassau, with 
all his officers and men, " as became a brave foe, were allowed to march 
out with all arms and in good order, the infantry with flags flying and 
drums beating, guns loaded to the muzzle with lighted fuse; cavalry with 
flying streamers, trumpets blowing, armed and mounted as in the field." 
Other concessions were four guns, two mortars, all the movable effects 
of the Orange family, a general amnesty for the citizens, and so forth. 

This capitulation was signed on June 2, 1625, and the evacuation and 
delivery of the keys took place three days afterwards. The garrison, with 
the governor on horseback, marched out through the Hertogenbosch Gate, 
the procession being headed and closed by the cavalry, which however had 
lost nearly all its mounts. In other respects the troops were in excellent 
condition, presenting even a better figure than the besieging army. The 
march took the direction of the Baron de Balan9on's quarters, where 
Spinola awaited the governor surrounded by princes, nobles, and mounted 
officers, and where the ceremony took place as depicted in this painting. 

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202 Velazquez. 

The tidings which reached Madrid on June 15, gave rise to such an out- 
burst of jubilation as had not been witnessed since the victory of Lepanto. 
The Te Deum was sung in all the churches ; Spinola received the Castilian 
Commandery of the Order of St James ; but the .Spaniards ascribed the 
results to their ** invincible power," and Olivares exclaimed, with a side glance 
at the Venetian envoy : ** This success has been achieved in the teeth of the 
whole world ;" a sentiment which pervades the historical drama produced 'by 
Calderon on this occasion. The Spanish captains and their men, their 
wild bellicose spirit, their scorn of other nations and hatred of heretics, their 
humour proof against every trial, could be adequately described only by a 
true poet who had himself made the campaign. 

About the year 1 630 the palace already possessed two large representations 
of the event, but somewhat of a topographic character, like Jacque Callot's 
large etching based on the sketches which he took in the camp soon after 
the surrender of the fortress. One of the Alcazar pieces represented 
the Marquis de Legan^s holding a document describing the event ; the other 
showed in the foreground the Infanta Isabella after the surrender, being a 
companion piece to the Siege of Ostend, now in the Prado (1675). Mention 
also occurs of a smaller representation, and the Prado still possesses two 
similar works (167 1 and 1675a), belonging to a series of Dutch siege-pieces 
by the painter Peeter Snayers. One gives a military perspective of Breda 
and neighbourhood ; the other, in which the heads of the historical figures 
have been touched up by some one personally acquainted with them, passes 
for the work mentioned in the inventory of 1636. 

But a pictorial record by Madrid talent was not undertaken for Buen 
Retiro * till ten years after the event. This was by the Aragonese, Jos^ 
Leonardo, a pupil of Eugenio Caxesi, whose co-operation may perhaps be 
taken for granted, Jos^ being at the time only nineteen years old. 

Here the figures of Spinola, Leganes, Justin of Nassau, and the inevitable 
bufibon, are all excellent studies; but the scattered composition lacks the 
dignity and solemnity one expects to find in the treatment of such a subject. 
The two commanders meet as if casually, still the governor kneels as a 
suppliant whose fate hangs on the favour of the conqueror. 

According to the statement made by eye-witnesses both had dismounted, 
and Spinola awaited the arrival of Justin surrounded by a *' crown " of princes 
and officers of high birth. The governor then presented himself with his 
family, kinsfolk and distinguished students of the military academy, who had 
been shut up in the place during the siege. Spinola greeted and embraced his 
vanquished opponent with a kindly expression and still more kindly words, in 
which he praised the courage and endurance of the protracted defence. 

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The Surrender of Breda. 203 

But the objections, that were doubtless made to the manner in which the 
subject had hitherto been treated, would probably have produced no better 
edition of the Surrender of Breda, but for the stimulus of special personal 
intervention. During the voyage from Barcelona to Genoa, in 1629, Velaz- 
quez and Spinola had been thrown closely together. The artist must also 
have been more deeply affected than others by the tragic result of the siege of 
Casale, which occurred soon after the voyage, and in describing which even 
indifferent contemporary writers tell us in feeling terms how Spinola was 
shamefully sacrificed ; and how, mortified at the slur cast on his military 
honour, he soon after sank with gloomy thoughts into the grave. With true 
poetic feeling is couched Quevedo's sonnet on the catastrophe : — 

En Flandes dijo tu valor tu ausencia, 

En Italia tu muerte ; y nos dejaste, Spinola, 

Dolor sin resistencia. * 

Our painter also desired in his modest way to raise a monument to one 
of the most humane captains of the day, by giving permanence to his true 
figure in a manner of which he alone had the secret. He had perhaps taken 
a sketch of the general on board the ship, although he had certainly not yet 
contemplated a work of this sort, for he would otherwise surely have offered 
to co-operate in the execution of those military pieces for Buen Retiro. 
Now, however, he probably wished to show how such a subject should be 
pictorially treated. 

Here we have no longer the somewhat narrow delicate head of the 
Ostend period, nor his aspect in the prime of life with the air of calm in- 
telligence seen in Mierevelt's picture. It is rather the grey-haired head with 
high forehead, with which the beautiful portraits by Rubens, and especially 
by Van Dyck, have made us familiar.* In Madrid he had had frequent attacks 
of fever, from which he only slowly recovered. But Velazquez knew how 
to breathe into the features that inner life also which reveals itself to the 
artist only during the closest intimacy. 

The composition also is determined by that principle of unity, that 
simplicity which lay in the very nature of the man. He gives us nothing 
but the central movement of the delivery of the keys, and the accessories 
immediately associated with that action ; even the fortress is banished from 
the scene, all but a suggestion on the left side of the canvas. On the other 

1 " In Flanders thy absence, in Italy thy death, proclaimed thy worth ; and grief 
overwhelming, Spinola, to us thou bequeath'dst." 

* Spinola was several times painted by Van Dyck. The specimen from the Balbi 
Palace in Genoa and some others are now in England, and were seen at the Van Dyck 
Exhibition of 1887. The engraving in the Iconography is by Lucas Vorsterman. 

Digitized by 


204 Velazquez, 

hand the two commanders are conspicuous, both with a crowded following, 
which, in the observer's imagination, stretch away in thousands beyond the 
frame of the picture; for the space is so filled as to give the impression 
of multitudes, without, however, detracting from the significance of the 

The governor, at the head of the infantry, which formed the centre ot 
the march out, had reached the quarters at Tetteringen, where Spinola was 
expecting him. Here both dismount, and the throng stands back, silently 
doffing their hats. The gesture of the Fleming standing in the light, to 
whom a comrade whispers something, seems to impose silence. Justin 
approaches, but Spinola advances to meet him, bending forward and laying 
his hand on the shoulder of the governor, who addresses him and holds 
out the keys. 

In Spinola*s expression and gesture are blended an aristocratic elegance 
and natural kindliness with Italian refinement. The victorious captain has 
a fellow-feeling for the brave man wh6 is reduced to this sad extremity, and 
endeavours to remove the bitterness of the situation. Even those ignorant 
of the circumstances will gather from the picture itself a record of the event. 
The head of the marquis, says Inibert, has a character of graciousness and 
urbanity almost enough to wish one might lose a citadel for the pleasure of 
handing him its keys.* The words uttered on the occasion have not been 
recorded, but Calderon's verses may well be based on correct report. Justin 
of Nassau, says the poet, spoke of the pain of the incident, without denying 
that in such an issue he saw nothing but all-ruling fate, which overthrows 
the proudest monarchies. Then Spinola praised his valour, adding, that in 
the courage of the vanquished lies the fame of the victor. And here the 
governor looks up attentively, and as if surprised, at his generous conqueror. 
The figure, however, can hardly be intended for a portrait of Justin, who 
was at that time an old man insigni canitie venerabilis (Hugo). 

The choice of a purely human and noble sentiment, as the most 
prominent motive, is a feature which would not have occurred to everybody. 
In the same way in Alexander's Victory, which resembles this work in more 
points than the lances and horses, the Greek painter raises the prostrate 
Darius, who forgets his own distress in that of the vassal sacrificing 
himself for his sovereign. 

The names of those in the immediate vicinity of the general may 

perhaps be identified from the records and some otherwise known 

likenesses. They were: Prince Wolfgang von Neuburg, Don Gonzalo 

of Cordova, Count Salazar, Count Henry van den Bergh (Vargas) and two 

' LEspagne (Paris : 1875), p. 212. 

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The Surrender of Breda. 205 

Saxon princes ; after whom came thirty superior officers. Here, however, 
the painter might allow himself a certain latitude, without too much regard 
for historic accuracy. The old man on the left, resting with both hands 
on a stick, is perhaps the officer in command where the transaction takes 
place, Albert Arenbergh, Baron of Balan9on, commander of the Flemish 
cavalry. The second, in armour, might from the features be Wolfgang, 
although in his portrait by Van Dyck the forehead is not yet so bald. 
The old man with the long head behind him reminds one of Don Carlos 
Coloma, head of the infantry, who had risen from the ranks, but whose 
name does not occur in this connection. The young man on the right 
of the horse is certainly not Velazquez himself. The fact that he keeps 
his hat on shows that he is excluded from the inner circle. 

The governor's suite was naturally somewhat less brilliant. He was 
accompanied by Charles Philip le Comte, his wife, sons and nephews, 
and a son of Prince Emmanuel of Portugal. Owing to the diagonal lie 
of the axis this group is brought into a position turned from the spectator. 
The artist necessarily placed the Dutch party on this side, because here 
he had scarcely any but troopers for his models. 

The effects of a twelve-months' siege are little apparent in these Dutch 
soldiers, to whom their opponents paid an open tribute of admiration. 

An ordinary artist would have made the eyes of the assistants converge 
on the two central figures, adding perhaps the language of some trite 
oratorical gestures. But here, apart from the groom turning eagerly 
round, there is nothing , of this sort in the Spanish group, except the 
aged officer pointing with his stick to the governor. He naturally wants 
for once to have a good look at the fine fellows who have shot away 
his leg. All the others are looking in various directions, and this is 
what Passavant calls a "scattered composition." But where the ear is so 
greatly interested, the glance is turned aside, lest the concentrated psychic 
effort to catch the words be distracted by the eye. 

The Spaniards, with their characteristic phlegm, scarcely betray any 
inward emotion in their outward bearing, whereas the attitude of the 
Netherlanders is more animated. 

It need scarcely be pointed out how horses, costumes, and arms are 
reproduced in colour and texture with the unerring touch of the expert. 
The wide loose Dutch fashion could hardly have been hit off better by 
Franz Hals himself. How suggestive, for instance, are the boots of Justin 
contrasted with those of Spinola ! Every historical painter must envy 
Velazquez such a costume, or at least the inestimable advantage of ob- 
serving people moving about in this attire. Nowadays nothing is left the 

Digitized by 


2o6 Velazquez. 

artist except the choice between archaeological puppets and unpicturesque 
fashions, which in a few years become ridiculous. 

Passing from this inner and central group, the observer notices behind 
the Spaniards a line of lance-bearers together with ensigns and flute- 
players. Not being within hearing, they turn their back on the scene 
and look on at those marching past. A somewhat peculiar effect is 
produced by the twenty-nine almost vertical ashwood lances, which give 
an alternative name to the picture, and which cut off" over a third of sky 
and landscape. They have been considered in bad taste ; but at sight 
of them every Spanish heart was thrilled. Their rigid symmetry was 
the symbol of that discipline which had so long made the Spanish 
infantry the terror of Europe. Not many years had elapsed since the 
exhibition of Jos(! Leonardo's first painting (1626), when this "iron 
cornfield," to use Calderon's metaphor, was mowed down by Cond^ at the 
battle of Rockroy (1643), never to rise again. 

Notwithstanding the fulness of the foreground, the artist has contrived 
to make room for a far-reaching perspective, and this background is one 
of the features of the work that have been most admired. In the space 
opening between the two groups we behold the garrison marching by 
in the bright light of this morning in June, and closed in behind by the 
serried ranks of the Spanish lance-bearers. The middle distance is cut 
off" by a redoubt of the inner lines; on the left, thick volumes of smoke 
roll up from a great bonfire where banners are fluttering and figures 
moving about. 

The distant objects somewhat clouded in the misty atmosphere of these 
watery lowlands are disposed with topographical accuracy, just as on the 
large canvas by Snayers. The point in the middle is Paul Baglioni's 
headquarters, and the water on the left with the intersecting dyke (the 
''black dam"), is a part of the artificial inundation, by which Spinola 
hoped to ward off" the attacks of the relieving forces. On the plain 
behind we see the silvery streak of the Merk, which after its confluence 
with the rivulet Aa at Breda winds away north and west to the Maas 
estuary ; but the open sea, over forty miles distant, lies of course beyond 
the horizon. 

All is as if Nature herself breathed again a new life, wafting a promise 
of peace and hope on the morning breeze. 

Touching the artistic merits of the work, Mengs remarks that it 
"contains all the perfection of which the subject was capable, and all 
is expressed with the highest mastery," from which encomium he excepts 
the lances alone. The impression of a great multitude is produced with 

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The Surrender of Breda. 207 

few figures, and that of a boundless expanse is realized on a very narrow 
surface. In this respect the genial colourist has contributed as much as 
the skilful draughtsman. The composition combines a transparency of 
narrative clear as crystal with all the properties of pictorial grouping — 
balance of the masses, where uniformity is relieved by the diagonal 
disposition, concentration of the interest in the chief persons accompanied 
by gradual subordination of all the others. 

The system of colouring is analogous to that of the equestrian 
portraits. Sky and distant prospect with their broad, cool green-blue 
surfaces, permeated by the white shimmer of water and powdery vapour, 
form a background for the warm figures of the foreground saturated 
with colour, and toned with red-brown shadows away to the powerful 
charger in the corner to the right. Here also provision is made for 
light patches — in the prince with his white sunlit doublet, recalling 
Rembrandt's '* Night Watch ; " in the glitter of armour and the sheen of 
gold-embroidered silk; in the white mantle of the figure closing the group 
on the right; in the white and light-blue checkered banner. The strongest 
luminous opening is relegated to the central middle distance where the 
troops are filing past, and this gives at the same time the light background 
for the two chief figures. The light comes from the left, consequently 
from the south-east (for the surrender took place about ten o'clock in 
the morning), and thus falls on the face of the Spaniards, the brightest 
p)oint being Spinola's forehead. All is bathed in a breezy circumambient 

It is a military ceremony, the closing scene of a long series of 
struggles, in which two mighty antagonists contended with each other, 
putting forth the full strength of human will and wit combined with all 
the resources of Nature. All is here centred in this supremely pathetic 
incident, all that these strong, skilful, brave men have achieved, with 
yonder stronghold as the prize of victory. 

But the ever-widening circle of thoughts suggested by the event 
expands far into the past and future. Velazquez' figures, here more 
than elsewhere representative, throw a flash of light across the whole 
picture of that mighty struggle of two peoples and. two religions for the 
empire of the world. Here was solemnized by the hand of a Spanish 
Court painter a Spanish success gained by the combined efforts of four 
nations under the leadership of a Genoese captain. This Spanish 
generalissimo pays a compliment to the gallantry of a Dutch commander, 
that is, in the eyes of his State, a champion of heresy and revolt. The 
grandson of that Philip, who armed the hand of the assassin to strike down 

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2o8 Velazquez. 

the great William of Orange (William the Silent), had now commissioned 
his Court painter to execute this work, in which a successor of the san- 
guinary Alva greets and flatters a scion of the House of Orange. Was 
it Velazquez' intention thus to give expression to the already dawning 
sentiment that was soon realized by the recognition of the sovereignty 
of the United Provinces? 

But be that as it may, it is strange that Waagen should venture 
to assert, after visiting the Madrid Museum, that Velazquez " was alt<^ther 
wanting in those qualities required for the execution of works coming 
within the province of the higher intellectual sphere of Art," as shown in 
his religious and mythological paintings. 

Now what is meant by this " higher intellectual sphere of Art ? " Is 
it that fanciful and ostentatious style as flaunted on the ceiling of that 
gold-bedizened apartment in the Palazzo Serra at Genoa, where Ambrosius 
Spinola, like a second Elias, soars heavenward between allegorical '* ladies ? " 
And should Velazquez in the same way have introduced, say, Minerva 
with the Cock, Hercules with a spade, or the river-god Merka? 

But although it contains nothing of this, few other historical paintings 
display more mind, few give more food for thought, still fewer reveal 
more manifestly the artist of truly noble spirit. 

It happens somewhat exceptionally that several sketches for individual 
figures are still extant. In the collection of the National Library there 
is a crayon on white paper, where the outlines are rather vaguely essayed 
than drawn in decided lines. The chief figure is the groom behind 
Spinola's horse, and near him to the right, but only half the size, the 
young man listening, who here raises two fingers. On the reverse of 
the same sheet is Spinola himself, but much smaller, in quite faint, 
blurred contour. 

On the other hand the drawing in the Louvre from Mariette's collection 
is in clean, firm outline, and may have been the first study. Here we 
may see the horse and the chief group with the Spanish gentleman, but 
without the Dutch half. The so-called coloured sketch, known from 
Th^ophile Gautier's spirited description, is only one of those copies which 
so often turn up, as indeed may be gathered from the description itself. 
But those who delight in discoveries of this sort may be recommended 
to look at the sketch in the Belvedere (1163) representing the meeting of 
the Cardinal- Prince Ferdinand with his namesake and relative, the King 
of Hungary, on the eve of the battle of NOrdlingen (September 2, 1634). 
Here we have the same diagonal disposition, the two chief figures bending 
forward, the groups of officers, the horse with the groom on the right. 

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The Surrender of Breda. 209 

The original was a decorative piece sketched by Rubens, on the occasion 
of the cardinal's entry into Antwerp in May 1635, and the cardinal 
may have had a copy made and brought to Madrid, where Velazquez 
would have seen it. But on the other hand, how easily such a simple 
form of composition might independently suggest itself, as we see even in 
Benjamin West's Landing of Charles II. at Dover. 

Mention first occurs of the Surrender of Breda in the inventory of 
Buen Retiro for 1702, where it is valued at five hundred doubloons; after 
1772 it appears in the new palace — the name of Legands, however, being 
substituted for that of Spinola; and in the inventory for 1789 it is taxed 
at one hundred and twenty thousand reals. But hitherto no records 
have been discovered that might throw some light on the origin of the 
work, the date 1647 being purely conjectural. 

This question of date is not so readily answered. Judging from the 
nature of the subject, its second treatment after Jos^ Leonardo's essay, 
would seem best to suit the warlike and hopeful spirit prevailing during 
the fourth decade of the century. But the style points apparently 
to a later period, the breadth and freedom of touch proclaiming our 
master's third manner. Yet that signed and dated portrait of Adnural 
Pulido, which is given by Palomino as an example of his free and bold 
manner {Valentia), and in which the impression of distance is produced by 
long strokes of a bristly brush, was already executed in the year 1639. 

When we cast about for works painted after the same system, the 
eye is naturally arrested by the equestrian pieces, and of these the only 
work bearing a certain date is that of Prince Balthasar, produced so early 
as 1635. Olivares' equestrian portrait must have been executed some five 
years before his fall (January 1643), while that of Philip IV. most nearly 
resembling it can scarcely be later than 1638, although on mistaken 
grounds referred to the next decade. 

The year 1647, assigned to the Breda picture, consequently seems 
much too late. To turn out such a complex piece of work, as it were, 
at one cast, the artist would necessarily have recourse to a more resolute, 
a more vigorous and solid treatment than was his wont. It has been 
remarked that here he works with exclusively local colours, at once 
deep, mellow, delicate and limpid ; scarcely two faces can be found 
painted with the same tint. 

Hunting and Hunting-pieces. 

About the same time that Olivares had planned and executed the 
Villa of Buen Retiro for his sovereign, Philip himself had devised a little 


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2IO Velazquez. 

retreat according to his own taste, which differed greatly from his 
minister's creation. It was of modest proportions, cost little, lay in 
a secluded part of the woodlands, was accessible only to his most 
intimate associates, and was to be enriched with a grand series of new- 
paintings by a few of the best artists, and dealing with subjects also of 
his own suggestion. 

In the extensive deer-park of El Pardo, ^ there stood a very old hunting- 
seat, which had been rebuilt by Charles V. It took the form of a little 
square fortress with towers at the four comers, while its ivy-clad walls 
and the broad moat laid out with flower-beds gave it an aspect more in 
harmony with its destination. Here was once the incomparable portrait 
gallery of Philip Il.'s contemporaries; but since the destructive fire of 1608 
nothing of the old paintings remains, except a few frescoes by Becerra and 
his associates. 

Half a mile to the east of this place the Emperor had erected a tower, 
the so-called Torre dc la Parada, as a resting-place on his excursions 
to the forests of Balsain high up in the Sierra. This tower Philip now 
enclosed with a two-storied structure, which appears to have been 
planned about the year 1635. 

Both retreats, as well as Cardinal Ferdinand's Zarzneia, which gave 
its name to a new style of musical drama, stood in the heart of a primexal 
hunting-ground much frequented by the early Kings of Castile and Leon. 
Here were still held in Philip IV.'s time the three grand royal hunts, 
which lasted eight days, and which cost altogether eighty thousand 

The scenes painted by Velazquez are amongst the most trustworthy 
and clearest records of the old Spanish hunting-parties, the accounts 
of which read otherwise like ancient texts needing copious explanator>' 
notes and commentaries. 

The Spaniards prided themselves on the courage and skill displayed 
in these national sports, in which all the nobles and even the ladies took 
an active part. Portraits are extant of royal princesses with battues 
filling Up the background. When bears were reported in the Manzanares 
preserves, Isabella the Catholic and Ferdinand turned out, equipped with 
spears and darts; Isabella and Catalina, daughters of Philip II., slew 
with ashen clubs the wolves, which, however, were first safely ensnared 

' Not to be confused, as is so often done, with the Prado of Madrid. The \dllage 
of £1 Pardo stood, and still stands, on the left bank of the Manzanares, nearly due 
north of, and about six miles from, the Capital. The district was formerly remark- 
able for its sylvan beauty, but most of the timber has long disappeared. — Translator. 

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Hunting-pieces. 2 1 1 

in nets. But the ladies usually preferred rabbit-shooting with spaniels 
and matchlocks. 

But although the love of sport was universal, the royal parties were 
reserved for the more intimate Court circles, even foreign guests at Buen 
Retiro or elsewhere being seldom invited. An exception, however, was 
made in the case of the hunts got up at El Pardo, to which crowds 
flocked from the neighbouring capital. The chief royal hunting-grounds 
at that time were the Escorial, Balsain (later St. Ildefonso), Escalona, 
Ventosilla del Tago, Toledo, and especially Aranjuez, where fallow-deer, 
black game, and partridges were so superabundant that for a circuit of 
twenty-five or thirty miles the country " looked like a zoological garden." 
Philip IV. was the most energetic and reckless hunter of the period, 
and in this department even an innovator. While a mere stripling thirteen 
years old, mounted on his favourite Guijarrillo, he had speared a wild boar, 
and in advanced years he again earned the thundering applause of the 
company by repeating the exploit in El Pardo. One famous crack shot 
at a bull-fight in Madrid formed the subject of a special memoir, and 
according to a good authority writing in 1644, he had at that time already 
knocked over more than four hundred wolves, six hundred stags, besides 
fallow-deer, and one hundred and fifty wild boar, completely beating all 
previous records of Spanish sport. 

Another writer relates that the king introduced a new and bold method 
of " pig-sticking," against the advice of everybody ; while the most daring 
hunters at that time followed with a pack of twenty bloodhounds and two 
or three greyhounds, he dispensed with the latter, and retained but few 
of the former. 

Hunting had its records of heroic deeds, its trophies, and stirring 
adventures, which the pictorial Art had always been regarded as the most 
effective means of chronicling. Hence works of this sort belonged to that 
branch of secular painting which had from early times been sedulously 
cultivated in Spain, and which found its proper home in the royal hunting 
castles. But these Spanish compositions should evidently be distinguished 
from those hunting scenes of artists like Paul de Vos, Rubens, or 
Snyders conceived from the purely pictorial standpoint, to which they 
bear somewhat the same relation that chronicles do to historical novels. 

In the inventories of the old Pardo collection are entered wolf, bear, 
lion, tiger, ibex, and buffalo hunts, netting winged game, and lastly rabbit- 
shooting — to this day the most popular of all. There are also tapestries 
representing similar scenes. But the most important of the historical 
pieces were the two large royal hunts by Lucas Cranach, which, in 1544, the 

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2 1 2 Velazquez. 

Elector John Frederick of Saxony, had arranged in the park at Morizbui^ 
in honour of the emperor and other princes of the empire. These are. 
now in the Prado Museum (1304 and 1305), and replicas in the Castle 
of Morizburg. 

None of the emperor's successors employed artists to illustrate their 
hunting experiences so frequently as Philip IV. These were in fact the 
great events of his existence, and were duly described by the envoys 
in their despatches. At the end of a boar-hunt in the Pardo, where the 
animal " had defended himself like a lion and ripped up all the horses," the 
king, who had splintered a lance in its body, remarked to the attendant nobles : 
** This is one of the most memorable days in the annals of the chase." 

A proof of the reputation enjoyed by the Flemish painters is the fact 
that they were also commissioned to execute some of these commemorative 
scenes, the indispensable details being furnished from Madrid. Thus the 
Cardinal-Prince Ferdinand engaged Pieter Snayers to paint such subjects 
in Antwerp (1637), remarking in a letter to the king that Velada had the 
greatest difficulty in making the rough sketches intelligible to the painter. 
In one of these the hunters are introduced merely as accessories in an 
inviting bluish-wooded landscape, which presents more of a Flemish than 
a Castilian aspect. 

Velazquez also had occasionally to paint the remarkable antlers of 
stags ''bagged" by the king. The inventories of 1636 and 1686 
mention a cuema de venado ("deer-horns"), painted in oil, with a ticket: 
"This was killed by our Lord Philip IV." Godoy, the "Prince of Peace," 
had in his collection " an old shepherd with a dead vixen at his feet," 
presumably by Velazquez. 

The Boar-hunt. 

To the more formal hunting parties connected with Court festivities 
distinguished foreign guests were usually invited, as, for instance, tl\e 
Duchess of Chevreuse in January 1638, and the Princess of Carignan 
in 1640.* The latter is described in great detail by the Tuscan envoy, 
and these were the only two of the grand entertainments that genuine 
artists were called upon to represent. 

For the execution of such royal hunting scenes the aid of Flemish 
artists had to be dispensed with. The peculiar usages, the multitude of 
living persons who had to be introduced, required a special knowledge 
of the national sport as well as the surety of touch of a great portrait painter, 
combined with the genius of a Callot for the proper distribution of hun- 

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The Boar-iiunt. 213 

dreds of figures on a greatly reduced scale. Few works probably cost 
our master so much trouble as paintings of this class. For no others 
do we find so many preliminary studies, especially for the groups of 
onlookers, which have occasionally been taken for and described as 
independent compositions. The royal bespeaker would insist upon an 
exact picture, like an instantaneous photograph, and this is precisely what 
they look like. But a man like Velazquez was no mere illustrator of 
official *' gazettes," and painters alone can appreciate how much concealed 
Art and calculation are contained in these studies. Some of the figures 
might serve equally well as sketches for large portraits. 

The royal collections formerly contained several large boar-hunts, 
amongst them two at least which were assigned to Velazquez. But the 
origin and vicissitudes of the few still extant can no longer be determined 
with certainty. As might be expected, all have gravitated to England, 
the present classic land of sport. Such a work is probably the large 
painting for the Torre de la Parada, to which he alludes in a petition 
for payment of arrears, dated October 16, 1636, and pleading mucha 

*' Boar-hunting," writes the Cardinal-Prince Ferdinand, *' is the greatest 
of all" (1638). Long and comprehensive preparations were required for 
the proper organization of such an event, a monteria de jabali en tela cerrada^ 
as it was called. A portion of the preserve was enclosed with canvas fencing, 
" as with a wall," and the game decoyed by food or bait placed at some 
convenient spot. Such telas (" cloths ") Charles V. had already introduced 
from Germany, and with them this method of hunting— a costly pastime 
which royalty alone could afford to indulge in. The strips, thirty-six to forty 
paces long, were joined together by wooden buttons, and suspended by rings 
to deal stakes with hooks, the lower edge being buried in the ground. As 
many as twelve, and later twenty, waggon-loads of canvas were needed, 
which OHvares imported from Flanders. 

An entrance two hundred paces wide was left open, and when a sufficient 
number of animals were secured, carefully closed. In 1638 forty were thus 
allured, and of these the eight strongest selected. Then within the outer 
enclosure a kind of central arena a hundred paces in diameter was prepared, 
without any openings and if possible swampy, and this coniratela or serraglio^ 
as the Italians called it, was fitted with a double canvas three ells high 
The oak trees were lopped to give the horses and riders head room. 

Such a contratela is seen on the picture disposed like a crater round an 

^ "-^ boar-hunt in canvas enclosure^ 

* That is, literally, a " lock-up," from serra^ sl bolt or bar. — Translator. 

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214 Velazquez. 

amphitheatrical glen or depression. On the opposite side rises the steep 
slope, rent with gorges and overgrown with gloomy oaks ; here and there the 
sunlight is reflected by the exposed patches of yellow sand ; in the centre 
the clear space opens out, where several groups of mounted hunters have 
room to gallop about, stirring up clouds of dust ; in front is a narrow strip 
of foreground with a motley fringe of rangers on the watch, and groups of 
distinguished spectators; above the whole a canopy of blue sky, with 
dazzling white cloudlets. 

At the time of Philip U. the nobles appeared in the arena armed with 
tucks or rapiers to do battle with the boar. But in our representation they 
have exchanged this weapon for the horquilla or tnedia luna, a kind of pitchfork 
with pine shaft and short prongs, like the garrochon of the bull-fighters — that 
of the king being gilded. With this implement the animal was turned aside 
from the horses, perhaps to prolong the sport, and give an opportunity for 
the display of skill and strength. They were thus driven up and down, 
pursued, turned aside, wounded, until they became too exhausted to make 
any further resistance. Then huntsmen appeared on foot with the whole 
pack of alanoSf or mastiffs, and other hounds, and despatched the game ; in 
the evening hunters and pack all assembled under the king's windows to 
receive the offal. Thus the chase is a kind of battue, just as in bull-fights 
the picadores and banderillas precede the espada^ only here the matador is 
the chief figure. 

In our picture the king has just thrust his horquilla into the flank of a 
boar tearing furiously by. When the shaft broke the master of the hounds 
(the Constable of Castile) handed him another, and at the hunt given in 
honour of the Duchess of Chevreuse he used up a dozen. Here the heroes 
of the day are very slightly sketched, but we at once recognize Philip IV. 
from the few touches suggesting his face ; he keeps to the right owing to thd 
proximity of the ladies, and by him stands Olivares as equerry-in-chief. 
Behind follows Mateos, the royal huntsman. If this work really represents 
the hunt held in 1638, the mounted figure behind the minister cannot be 
Cardinal Ferdinand, who was then in Flanders. But the bare-headed person 
on the quiet horse in the second group on the left of the king may be Don 
Luis de Haro, who was present with his father, the Marquis del Carpio. At 
the other end five riders ar^ grouped round a boar that two mastiffs have 
seized by the ear. Their horses are inferior to the splendid animals of the 
equestrian portraits, which were too valuable to be sacrificed at this sport. 

Besides the hunters we also notice in the arena a few large dark blue 
coaches with wide low glass windows in front and doors at the sides; 
between the red curtains we recognize ladies, and in the second carriage 

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The Boar-hunt. 


Queen Isabella. The mules have of course been unharnessed and removed, 
for the ladies would doubtless have been deeply offended, had they been 
assigned a safe place outside the ring. Occasionally the boars made 
tremendous leaps; hence these dames are also provided with pitchforks to 
turn them aside. Moreover, two huntsmen with spears keep watch by the 
queen's coach. 

In the museum of the Instituto Asturiano at Gijon there is a drawing of 
such a coach by Velazquez, which has also been published. 

Although no mention has yet been discovered of this hunting-piece in 


contemporary records, it can safely be referred to the present period, and 
with probability to the close of the fourth decade. The statement of the 
Madrid Catalogue (p. 642), assigning it to the time posterior to the second 
Italian journey, is at once refuted by the presence of Olivares. Works 
commemorating such festive scenes are required immediately after the event, 
and hunts with figures of persons long and gladly forgotten, are not painted 
ten years after they have taken place. 

In these pieces the audience is, from the pictorial standpoint, strictly 
speaking of more importance than the players. Their respective parts are in 

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2i6 Velazquez. 

a way exchanged. Royalty and grandees are hard at work in the dust, while 
their subjects with the rangers enjoy the spectacle, at times scarcely even 
thinking it worth while to turn round and see what is going on. They make 
themselves comfortable on the grass, or else turn their backs on the noble 
gladiators to indulge in a little quiet Court gossip. 

From such materials a fine scrajvbook might be made of ** Court Types," 
or " Castilian Types of the Seventeenth Century." Under yonder tree on 
the right you notice a peasant resting with elbows and chest on the patient 
back of his beloved ass — verily another Sancho Panza ! And those two 
rogues on the grass, one holding the water-jug to his mouth, look like a sketch 
by Murillo. The mendicant again in the brown cloak, both hands resting on 
his stick, is sui^ly a privileged speculator, who solemnly invites the rich folk 
to increase their stock in the next world by entrusting their investments to 
him. Elsewhere a rider slashing at the hard flanks of his obstinate mule, 
while his escudero shoves from behind ; or two cavaliers paying each other 
formal compliments ; or a group of experts in " dog-flesh " near the master 
of the hounds, thronging round the fine boar hound, who has been ripped 
up by the quarry. They don't seem very numerous altogether, as they are 
scattered about, without a trace of conventional grouping or of " padding " 
to fill up the space. Yet, even deducting the heads that are merely 
suggested, there are over a hundred figures, some sixty outside and fifty 
within the central enclosure. 

By the play of light, colouring, and isolated position special prominence is 
given to the group of two or three cavaliers in grey and scarlet cloaks with 
the clergyman, perhaps the " chaplain to the hunt." They stand apart from 
the scene, they have some more weighty matters on hand, they are miles 
away from the people within their very hearing. Altogether the contrast 
could scarcely be greater between these rational and dignified groups from all 
social classes and the scenes nowadays witnessed oil the turf with its betting 
and welching and hysterical excitement. 

Sir Edwin Landseer declared that he had never seen " so much large Art 
on so small a scale." * In these few touches we have more studies of costume 
and character, more types of rank and profession, more motives for pictorial 
disposition, than in whole series by popular genre painters, who, knowing 
their public well, are always setting the same marionettes dancing. 

After Goya had taken a copy (Prado, Iii6) Ferdinand VII. presented 

the original to the English ambassador, Sir Henry Wellesley (i 8 10-13), 

later Lord Cowley, who sold it in 1846 to the National Gallery for £2,200, 

It had suffered much probably in the fire at the palace, and had to be 

* Stirling-Maxwell : Annals, 1873. 

Digitized by 


The Boar-hunt. 217 

thoroughly restored, that is, repainted in damaged parts, relined and pressed. 
The conflicting opinions regarding the value of the work gave rise to a 
parliamentary enquiry, when the artist, Mr. George Lance, gave the com- 
mittee a fantastic and exaggerated account of the state of the picture when 
placed in his hands to repair, and of the extent of the restoration effected by 
him during the six weeks he was occupied with it. But when confronted 
with the work, he was obliged to acknowledge that most of the restorations 
which he claimed to have made had disappeared. Soon after a tracing of 
Goya's copy, procured by Mr. William Stirling from Madrid, showed in fact 
that the restored work differed but slightly from that copy ; consequently Mr. 
Lance's work of reparation could not have been bo important or so extensive 
as he had asserted before the committee and afterwards reiterated in the 
public Press.^ The present app)earance of the canvas will satisfy anyone that 
there can be no question of such a repainting as was described by Lance ; 
the paint however is much cracked, many figures have been cleaned away to 
mere shadows, and the foliage darkened. 

An idea of its original condition may be had from a reduced replica, or 
possibly a first sketch, about twenty-four by forty-two inches, which was 
purchased for £32$ lOs. at Lord Northwick's sale by the Marquis of Hert- 
ford, who bequeathed it to Sir Richard Wallace. Here the ladies' coaches are 
wanting, as well as the less important section of groups of onlookers ; the 
other section agrees in all details, and the whole is fresher, more coloured 
and decided. 

The chief group must have represented well-known and distinguished 
persons ; it was made the subject of a separate picture, which was brought to 
England by Lord Grantham, ambassador in Madrid from 177I to 1783. In 
this work, which was copied by Gainsborough and is now owned by Lord 
Cowper, the figures are one-third larger and stand quite apart, like con- 
spirators, under an arched space opening towards a hilly landscape. The 
trees show the school, but the colours are heavy and dull. 

Amongst the studies connected with large hunting-pieces were also 
probably two little works of the same school, broadly and sketchily painted, 
which passed from Lord Cowley's collection to that of Herr Wesendonk in 
Berlin. One represents a hunting breakfast in the woods ; some gentlemen 
on the grass with a cloth, knives and forks, and some grey-haired mendicants 
attracted with the unerring instinct of the vulture, made happy with the 
spare scraps and even the generous wine from the goblets of the company. 

» AthencBum, April 7, 1855. It may be added that according to Mr. Lance the damage 
was due to a Mr. Thane, who had been engaged by Lord Cowley about 1833 to clean the 
work, but who had blistered it with hot irons and then asked Lance to repair the mischief. 

Digitized by 


2i8 Velazquez. 

Others are seated peering into the distant space. The second piece depicts 
an old huntsman seated on the ground holding back a couple of impatient 
hounds, whom a dwarf in black Court dress is trying to quiet. 

The spot where the boar-hunt takes place is usually indicated as the 
so-called hoyo, or pit, in the Pardo. In the inventories for this place for 
1772 and 1789 mention is made of two hunting-pieces by Velazquez, the 
Caza llafuada del hoyo^ and the Torre de la Parada contained the same 
subject painted by Cornelius van V^os on a canvas seven ells long. But these 
were much larger than our works, while their descriptive titles denote a very 
different kind of chase from the above-described royal hunts in canvas en- 
closures. According to Martinez the Monteria or Caza del hoyo involved the 
wholesale slaughter of game, in which the poor inhabitants of the districts 
bordering on the large preserves sometimes took part. They were not so 
much pleasure parties as regular battues, organized for the practical purpose 
of saving themselves and their crops from the superabundant large game and 
rapacious animals. On these occasions a pit or ditch was dug eighteen feet 
deep and wide and approached by a track three hundred paces long enclosed 
between walls of closely woven branches. This track broadened out towards 
the heart of the hunting-ground, and at last terminated in living walls of 
peasants. The quarry was then gradually allured within the enclosure, and 
driven forward until at last it rushed headlong into the pit. Although not a 
very noble sport, it was still entertaining enough to watch the behaviour 
of the different animals — wolves, deer, boars and foxes — when they found 
themselves entrapped within the ever narrowing space without any prospect 
of escape. The Court sometimes assisted at the spectacle in Aranjuez, 
Valvelada and Real de Manzanares, the king and queen seated on chairs, 
the ladies on carpets spread on the ground. 

The Stag-hunt. 

This work has more the character of a spectacle, even of a combat, than 
the Boar-hunt ; as a picture it is altogether more animated, richer in figures 
and colours. The landscape also is more inviting than that deep and gloomy 
arena. The scene is the verge of a park commanding an extensive prospect 
across the open plain, the magnificent timber suggesting Aranjuez, where 
the grand deer-hunts were held in the month of May. 

On the left dense clumps of trees project forwards, the afternoon sun 
shining through their dark foliage ; farther on cypresses rise above the 
thicket, cutting off the nearly cloudless sky, while a chapel, pond and pavilion 
occupy the intervening space. Then on the right, the plain lit up in the 
centre by a ray of sunshine, low flat hills bounding the distant horizon. 

Digitized by 


The Stag-hunt. 219 

This scene also deviates considerably from the usual monterias de venados 
C deer-hunts ") as described by Argote de Molina. The unsuspicious game 
had been cautiously beguiled within a circuit of about a mile, and the canvas 
wall then gradually narrowed until all were brought within a space about 
as large as a toril, or bull-enclosure.* This space opened into a cart-era^ 
or course, forty paces wide and four hundred long, which was also confined 
by canvas walls, and through which the animals were driven by the grey- 
hounds to an enramada, or embowered raised platform, where the spectators 
of rank were seated. 

At an early period the pack was here let loose upon the game. But in 
this picture is shown the innovation which had now been introduced, and 
which, as described by Martinez de Espinar (p. 133), consisted in the change 
of parts, the princes and nobles being no longer spectators but matadors y 
and leaving the enjoyment of the sight to the ladies. They have taken up 
their position immediately below the platform, and are engaged with hunters' 
knives striking down the stags as they arrive. 

Thus the foreground is obliquely intersected lengthwise by the two 
white canvas strips of the enclosure into which mounted beaters have 
driven the deer. At its extremity stands the tabladilloy or platform, 
decked with red cloth, and occupied by twelve ladies, amongst them 
three in the convent habit ; the others wear low-cut gowns, each of a 
different colour. The central figure in front on a red cushion with 
averted face, in a yellow dress with a white bow on her head, is 
probably Isabella of Bourbon. Below the platform four cavaliers — the 
king, his two brothers and Olivares — have entered the lists, his Majesty 
in front followed by the inevitable Olivares. These two brandish their 
knives with a backward thrust, while the two behind stretch forward, 
as if taking aim. 

Here was needed the highest degree of agihty and coolness; 
they might try to kill the stag by a well-planted thrust as the 
animal rushed forward, but had often to think themselves lucky if they 
succeeded in .hamstringing them ; frequently the deer cleared the cavaliers 
at a bound, and then it was seldom possible to bring them to bay. The 
course runs under the ladies' platform ; beneath and behind which any 
that happened to break through were arrested and despatched. Three 
dogs have seized a stag by the antlers, and others are prevented with 
sticks from falling on the dead quarry stretched on the ground. We see 

' The toril is the place where the bulls are confined until they are led into the 
arena. — Translator. 

Digitized by 


2 20 Velazquez. 

how the ladies enjoy the fresh fragrance of the warm reeking blood — 
as at Hurlingham. 

This kind of carrera de gamos (*' deer-hunting") was a very rare 
royal sport, hence all the more prized and attractive. 

The course is lined by a numerous and animated throng from every 
rank of life, nobles, sportsmen, serfs, worthy burgesses and peasants from 
round about, lackeys, retainers and " costermongers." In front are about 
eighty figures, besides the mounted beaters, who have pulled up outside 
along the track, looking on hat in hand ; one however has "come to grief," 
and his horse is running off. 

The most distinguished personage in the foreground is a young 
well-grown man with a red and white plume, in somewhat foreshortened 
profile, wide embroidered collar and yellow top-boots — perhaps some royal 
guest. Before him stands a black curly pate, bareheaded with strongly 
marked round features, close by a red carriage with black roof. A 
cavalier mounted on a light bay horse has been taken for our Martinez 
de Espinar. Here also, as in the Boar-hunt, the groups of "swells" 
have turned their backs upon the spectacle, leaving open-mouthed 
surprise, applause and loyal demonstrations to the common folk. 

Both outward and intrinsic reasons render a due estimate of this 
work somewhat difficult. It comes undoubtedly from Velazquez' studio, 
although his hand is less evident than in the Boar-hunt. To me 
the figures seemed more thoroughly treated, the brown shadows rather 
more prevalent, though the general impression is fresher and brighter. 
Assuredly such a difficult and masterly composition could have been 
constructed only by Velazquez. But it occurs for the first time under 
his name in a very late inventory, that of the Palace for the year 1772. 
On the other hand a hunting-piece in the Torre de la Parada (1714), 
described in like terms, bears the name of Seniers [Snayers], and a third 
in the Old Palace (1686) that of his pupil Juan B. del Mazo. Joseph 
Bonaparte brought it with him from Madrid and sold it to Mr. Baring. 
It is still in the possession of Lord Ashburton in Bath House. 

In the inventory of the Alcazar for 1686, a large Wolf-hunt of like 
description is also ascribed to Velazquez, and valued at the same price 
(one hundred and fifty doubloons) as the Stag-hunt. 

The Three Royal Sportsmen. 

In the Torre de la Parada and in the same apartment containing the 
series of large hunting-pieces there hung three figures, the king, his 

Digitized by 


The Three Royal Sportsmen. 


brother Don Ferdinand (the cardinal) and his little son Balthasar, in 
hunting costume and with dogs. After the fire they passed to the Bourbon 
Palace, Madrid, and are now in the Prado (Nos. 1074, 1075, 1076). But 
the palace inventory itself for 1686 — that is, for the same period — men- 
tions two hunting portraits of the king in the apartment of the tower 
facing the park, which was also set apart for hunting-pieces. Replicas must 
consequently have existed of both, 
possibly of all three, and in fact, 
such replicas are still extant. 

Although the three portraits are 
exactly the same height (I'Qi 
metre), agree somewhat closely in 
arrangement, costume and scenery, 
and seem to supplement each other 
in various details, yet they cannot 
all have been produced simulta- 
neously. According to his stated 
age {anno cetatis suce vi.) the young 
prince was taken in 1635, and his 
father about the same year, that 
is, long after Ferdinand had left 
Spain (1632). Judging from his 
very juvenile features Velazquez 
must have painted him even before 
the first Italian journey. This 
passionate lover of sport, archbishop 
and primate while yet in his teens, 
had probably been anxious for once 
to see himself in the garb of a 
hunter. Then during his long 
absence abroad, this portrait may 
have suggested to the king to 

have himself painted in like costume, as a pendent piece, in memory of 
the happy days they had both spent together in the hunting grounds of 
El Pardo. 

This is the only known portrait of Prince Ferdinand by our master; 
all others, and they are numerous enough, were executed during the last 
years that he spent in Flanders (1636-41) by such famous Flemish 
artists as Rubens, Van Dyck, and Caspar van Crayer. Ferdinand, third 
son of Philip III., was bom in 1609, and in his ninth year received the 


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222 Velazquez. 

archbishopric of Toledo, and two years later (1620) the red hat He 
was thus one of the eight who were made cardinals before their 
fourteenth year, and who, all but one, flourished in the first half of the 
sixteenth century. 

On the death of Albert (1621) the intention was entertained of sending 
one of Philip IV/s younger brothers, at first Carlos, to be brought up 
in Flanders, and in due course succeed the Infanta Isabella as Stadtholder 
of the Low Countries. In 1623 Ferdinand was designated, but owing 
to Olivares* intrigues, the matter was postponed for years. At last 
Isabella, who felt her end approaching (she died in 1633), wrote that 
unless he be sent at once Flanders would be lost to Spain. He accord- 
ingly started for Barcelona in 1632, in order to prepare himself by a year's 
administration of Catalonia, and then left Spain for ever. 

He was the handsomest and the most richly endowed of the three 
brothers, without a trace of that indolence which, since the death of 
Philip II., seemed to have clung to the family. His activity in business 
and in the field was amazing; he shared with the king his passion for 
sport, and in 1639 slew a wild boar in the Brussels woods, which had 
killed eight dogs, wounded four, and ripped up two horses. Those in his 
immediate intimacy called him " the kindliest and most courteous prince 
that Heaven has sent us for centuries." 

In our portrait, however, not much more than the head belongs to 
the likeness taken in 1628. Here he appears as a slim, beardless youth, 
whose pale face is relieved by narrow shadows accentuated especially 
by the strongly curved nose, while the cap projects on the forehead 
a shadow which is lightened by reflected light. The hair, which later 
in life fell in light gold waves on the shoulders, is here cropped short, and 
a touch of languor, caused by fever, lies on the lai^e bright eyes and on 
the features, which are more intellectual than those of his brother. Although 
he seems' physically more delicate than the king, he still betrays more 
of the stuff* of a ruler in his resolute intelligent expression. 

The rest of the figure bears the stamp of a later period. Thus, the 
golilla^ or horizontal collar, has supplanted the wide pointed valona^ 
which had been covered over. The landscape in a cool light blue-grey tone, 
is treated with great breadth and freedom, but the effect is such that we 
fancy we can breathe the very atmosphere of yonder hills. The thick 
application of colours with abundant mixture of white was probably 
employed in order judiciously to conceal older pigments. 

The question suggests itself whether the two other portraits may not 
also have assumed their present condition at some time posterior to 1635. 

Digitized by 


The Three Royal Sportsmen. 223 

In that of the king there are not lacking traces of repainting and revision. 
The left leg had originally been brought more forward ; the fowling-piece 
was longer ; the trunk-hose fuller. Under the left hand planted on the 
hip there peeps out what looks like a large hunting-bag. Lastly, the 
picture of the young prince, compared with the equestrian portrait of 
nearly the same age, is considerably more free and solid, like a rapid 
recast executed more from pure fancy than after Nature. 

Both figures and surroundings look as if they had been brought 
more in harmony with the repainted portrait of Ferdinand. All stand 
under an oak tree, the weather is fine, and the dogs are in attitudes of 
rest, awaiting the shot. Ferdinand's is a powerful cinnamon-coloured 
animal of that formidable breed which is the terror of tramps and loafers 
about the Andalusian farmsteads. The king has a magnificent mastiff, 
and the prince an Italian greyhound and a beautiful setter stretched 
out for a sleep. Judging from these specimens it would be difficult to 
name a painter with a more thorough knowledge and observation of 
sporting dogs. 

All the costumes are also the same, even to slight details — hunting-caps 
showing one ear pressed back or turned up; vest of dark figured silk 
under a leather jerkin or short cloak with false sleeves, long leather 
gloves, white knee-breeches, miUtary boots. The prince rests his little gun 
jauntily on the sward ; the king's long heavy piece is held under the 
left arm hanging by his side ; Ferdinand holds his in both hands ready 
to take aim. 

The scene lies amid the hills, perhaps in the neighbourhood of the 
Escorial, the sierra showing in the distance. The view is most open 
in Don Balthasar's picture, where we see in the middle distance a hill 
with a castle and thin undergrowth of oak, beyond it a stretch of level 
ground with a little tower close to the foot of the range. Everywhere 
harmony between figure and environment, in the distribution of forms 
and high lights. The glimpses of sunshine flashing in the clouds and 
piercing through the foliage stand in nicely calculated relation to the high 
lights on the faces, and the white spots and bright patches on the trusty 
companions at the feet of the sportsmen. 

The replica of the king's portrait in the Louvre (No. 552) is interesting 
because in its almost monochrome character it illustrates the condition 
of the brown ground; in the landscap)e we detect a slight tendency 
fowards local tints. The king* has removed his hat and the face is 
completed, but in a soft, monotonous yellowish flesh-tint, quite different 
from the plastic, very fresh, healthy and florid head of the Prado work. 

Digitized by 




The shortcomings of this life-breathing high tone, even more than the 
touch, reveal the work of a pupil or copyist. 

The Master or the Hounds. 

Portraits are still extant of Mateos and Martinez, two masters of the 
hounds, who doubtless played the chief part in organizing the grand hunting 
parties, and whose works have been so valuable to us in our description of 
these royal pastimes. The older, which has been finely engraved by Pedro 
Perete, stands as a medallion an inch and a half in diameter on the title- 
page of the Origin and Dignity of the Chase , 1634.* The other is a full- 
length figure, facing the preface of the Arte de BalUstria^ 1644, and has 

been engraved by Juan de Noort 
(01 7 X 0*13 metre). The legend 
runs : Alonso Martinez de Espinar, 
que da el arcabuz a su Magestad, y 
Aiuda de Camera del Principe Nuestro 
SeHor, de su edad de 50 AHos, 

Both are extremely earnest men, 
with a strong military look. Juan 
Mateos is an elderly gentleman, the 
thin hair brushed over the nearly 
bald forehead, wrinkled face, rather 
heavy eyelids imparting a somewhat 
deadened look, mustachios and 
pointed imperial, short neck and 
stout figure. Alonso Martinez is 
an angular, hard featured head 
(gens dura lbera\ with short, 
narrow and strongly receding fore- 
head, flat crown, prominent cheek-bone, high arched eyebrows, sunken 
eyes with eager side-glance, broad hooked nose — a man inured to the 
hardships of Castilian hunting grounds. 

This head Carderera fancied he recognized in the portrait No. IIOS in 
the museum, in which however there is nothing beyond a certain general 
resemblance. And if the identity is doubtful, Velazquez' authorship is 
highly improbable, for although this bust is painted with a firm hand it 
shows none of our master's special characteristics. 

* In his 'notice of the engraver Cean Bermudez unaccountably calls it the head of 


Digitized by 


Juan Mateos. 225 

On the other hand a painting in the Dresden Gallery is an undoubted 
Velazquez, although the likeness to our Juan Mateos may not be entirely 
convincing. I refer to the unknown man in black (No. 697), which of the 
three portraits from Modena bearing Velazquez' name is alone unanimously 
accepted as genuine. 

This first-class portrait represents a man of stem aspect and rigid 
bearing, a figure one does not easily forget. The thin closely cut hair is 
slightly curled, the eyes are overshadowed by bushy almost scowling brows, 
the skin on the forehead is contracted so as to form a deep horizontal wrinkle 
separating frontal and nasal bones. These furrows look like the traces of 
authority habitually exercised for some thirty years, while the somewhat 
downcast side-glance of the dark lustreless eyes seems to be taking the 
measure of some one held rather in contempt. The moustache under the 
upturned nose is already gray ; a soured expression plays about the mouth, 
where the broad compressed underlip arrests attention. Lastly, the bilious 
hue (even the lips are pale) completes the impression of a man who was the 
scourge of the district, perhaps of himself, and who only with reluctance 
consented to give the painter a sitting. 

The head is painted with few colours and vigorous brush on a white 
ground, which shows through at the golilla^ the imperial and the right 
sleeve. The warm deep brown of the eye is also utilized for the narrow 
shadows of the corners of the orbits, nose, wrinkled neck and foreshortened 
side-face indicated by a few broad firm touches ; lastly by its means depth is 
given to the left side of the background, where however the colour has 
cracked. With such simple means the yellow, wrinkled head standing out 
from the dark ground has been modelled in a way that Velazquez himself 
has never surpassed. 

No one who has seen this Dresden head will open the title-page of that 
work on the chase by Juan Mateos without remembering it. The figure, the 
features, the soured look, the costume all agree ; only in the medallion the 
face is older, more feeble, and the grim furrows between the eyes are 
missing. But this will scarcely tell against the theory of identity when 
we bear in mind the frequently arbitrary treatment by engravers. The 
painting must naturally be dated back several years before 1634. 

In parting with these hunting-pieces it may be mentioned that the glory 
of the Torre de la Parada, for which so many of them were executed, was 
even more transitory than that of Buen Retiro. During the war of succes- 
sion the place was wasted and plundered (17 10), when some of the works 
perished, and most of the others were removed to Buen Retiro. At present 
it is occupied as a residence by the park rangers. Its very name would be 


Digitized by 


2 26 Velazquez. 

forgotten, were it not indelibly recorded in the biography of Rubens and in 
connection with the numerous paintings, which have helped to enrich the 
Prado collection. 

Alonso Cano in Madrid. 


The building and decoration of Buen Retiro gave a fresh stimulus to 
Art circles in Spain, and from time to time attracted to the Court many of our 
master's old Sevillan friends. Amongst them were Herrera, Zurbaran and 
his schoolfellow Alonso Cano, the latter of whom had been obliged to quit 
the Andalusian capital in 1637 owing to a brawl, which had unfortunately 
ended fatally. In Madrid he was well received by Velazquez, who recom- 
mended him to Olivares, and procured him commissions for the palace and 
the Church of St. Isidro erected by Philip IV. In due course he became a 
Court painter and even drawing-master to the crown prince. At the Court 
his reputation stood high, and Madrid became the second, as Seville had 
been the first, and Granada was destined to become the third, scene of his 

None of his contemporaries felt more thoroughly at home in the capital, 
where alone he found elbow-room for his wayward habits and for the 
constant excitement needed by his restless spirit. Alonso seemed the 
embodiment of one of those cloak and dagger pieces, the counterfeit 
presentments of those swashing cavaliers, who have to make their wills 
every time they venture abroad. At the same time he was very devout, 
and was soon found figuring as major-domo to the Brotherhood of Our Lady 
of Sorrows. When he came upon a penitcnciado * of the Holy Inquisition 
he shrank from the contact, and threw his mantle away should it happen 
to be polluted by the touch of such impious heretics. 

His professional pride alone set limits to his devotion; he was fined 
a hundred ducats, because he refused to join in the procession of Holy 
Week, at which the painters had to walk with the alguaziles de Corte 
("Court bailiffs"). He was withal very gallant, and displayed boundless 
graciousness towards friends and pupils, to whom he occasionally handed 
over his rough draughts^ and now and then completed their works. 

Nor did this mirror of chivalry lack a touch of the indolence charac- 
teristic of the Spanish aristocracy. Had he possessed a moderate 

* Failing to distinguish between passive and active, M. Charles Blanc in his Histoire 
des Peintres confuses the penitenciado^ or inctim^ with the penitenciario, or minister of 
the Holy Office, and thus represents Cano as a violent opponent of the Inquisition, 
much to the edification of his readers. 

Digitized by 


Alonso Cano. 227 

independent income he would have become a mere dilettante. As it was, 
he painted, continued his old carvings, supplied fantastic designs for the 
monument of the Passion in St. Giles' and for the triumphal arch at the 
Guadalajara gate for the entry of Queen Mariana in 1649. But he 
preferred sketching, his dainty little drawings of this class being outlined 
on white paper with the pen and shaded with sepia or Indian ink; he 
thus drew several pen and ink designs of everything he painted, and 
of much that he never painted. Such trifles he would dash off for impor- 
tunate beggars, and send them to some acquaintances, who would buy 
the sketches. 

But his most favourite participation in Art-work was the inspection 
of copper-plates and other curios ; he was always ready to throw up his 
own pursuits whenever he heard anything of the kind was to be seen. 
Then the sight of these things would stimulate him to imitate, for pure 
invention he found too laborious. Although the utilization of foreign 
copper-plates was at the time common enough, still it caused surprise 
in the case of a person of his reputation. He even turned to account 
the vignettes on the fly-sheets of the street ballads, remarking that he 
had no objection to others doing likewise with him. Hence it is that 
Cano's painting is as difficult to characterize as that of the eclectic 

His St. John in Patmos (Prado) is executed after Ribera's St. Jerome ; 
his Soledad is a transcript of Becerra's Estofado statue in Madrid, though 
otherwise remarkable for its expression of disconsolate grief; the Noli 
me tangere in the Esterhazy Gallery is a free copy after the Correggio 
in Madrid, which is again recalled by Cano's penitent Magdalen in St. 
Michael's Chap)el, Granada, as well as by many gestures, foreshortenings, 
and gambols of his little cherubs. Our Lady of the Rosary in Malaga 
was apparently inspired by Titian's famous St. Sebastian now in 
the Vatican ; the Angel with the Dead Christ in the Prado is a free 
imitation of Paolo Veronese's masterpiece in the Hermitage ; in his St. 
John the Baptist and St. Paul he assimilated the powerful forms and 
animated flaming contours of Rubens. 

No other painter has aimed more at simplifying and cutting short the 
details and accessories of painting; hence it is impossible to imagine 
anything more simple than the composition of Cano*s works. Most of 
those at that time produced in Madrid are solitary figures, incidents, Christ 
at the Pillar, Christ bearing the Cross, Christ on the Cross, Mary reposing 
with her Child, Joseph with the Child and the like. Favourite subjects, 
such as the Immaculate Conception, he repeats like reprints in sculpture 

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228 Velazquez. 

and painting ; he borrows not only from others, but from himself. In 
visions such as those of St John the Evangelist, St. Benedict, or St. 
Bernard, the heavenly apparitions are like little porcelain figures 
hovering aloft in the clouds, or statuettes fastened to the wall. In those 
large figures of the Passion he simplifies the face by shadows and fore- 
shortenings, and in groups by the expedient of the vanishing profile, 
leaving the surroundings as empty as possible. As regards the technique, 
he uses a reddish ochre ground for the shadows, applying the lights 
with cold, chalky white. This style of technique he introduced into 

A result of this facile manner is that no other Spanish painter of 
celebrity has left behind him so much that is empty, lifeless, paltry, 
even tasteless and absolutely abortive. Some of his Madonnas are utterly 
deficient in beauty and expression, in life and grace, and this deficiency 
is not even made good by a realism of an inferior order. A wooden 
figure, the upper part stuck in a heavy blue mantle as in a cask ; a head 
with rounded parietal bones and high skull ; sleepy eyes vrith a vacant 
stare ; a flat nose ; cheeks puffed out below ; sour mouth. Remarkable 
with him, as with Moretto, is the frequent recurrence of eyes with a 
sideward leer. These are defects which are scarcely balanced by the fine, 
beautifully drawn hands. Nor will this judgment be easily regarded as 
too severe even in the case of his chief work of this class, the Conception 
in the Sacristy of Sl Isidro, where, probably at Velazquez' suggestion, 
he essays the effect of pure light but fails. 

Now, should anyone wish to convince himself with his own eyes of 
the greatness of "this solitary ideal painter of the Spanish School/* 
to use an expression which has passed into an article of faith, he may 
find himself somewhat in the position of a suppliant at Court "without 
pelf or patron." He may wander in hope from Madrid to Seville, from 
Seville to Granada, and thence to Malaga, until losing all patience he 
may pronounce this Cano of Art histories to be a pure myth, pos- 
sibly even forgetting that he had at all events occasional flashes of 

To these inspired moments we are indebted for some few more 
deeply attractive pieces. Amongst them are the Madonna in the Cathedral 
of Seville with downcast glance and shading eyelashes; the Christ 
with the Angel of Death now in the Prado ; the Saviour on the Rock 
of Calvary glancing sadly over his shoulder, in St. Gink's. The figures 
of the Redeemer at any rate betray the artist's plastic studies of the nude 
and his knowledge of noble forms; they are delicately and correctly 

Digitized by 


Alonso Cano. 229 

modelled without any anatomical display. Thus we see that draughtsman- 
ship, pathos, colour, and grace stood at his command when he chose; 
only his rich faculties remained mostly dormant, thanks to that national 
trait — indolence. 

And here it should be remarked that many who have passed 
more favourable judgments on Cano, especially on his ideal tendency, 
had before their eyes works never painted by him. Such, for instance, 
are the Holy Family resting on the flight to Egypt, in the Carthusian 
Convent near Granada, and the enchanting Madonna in the lower chapel 
of the sacristy at Cordova. These lovely figures, in form and sentiment 
genuinely Andalusian, are by Fray Atanasio, called Bocanegra. 

In the year 1644 occurred an event which has not yet been quite 
cleared up, but which at the time cast a shadow on Cano's life, and 
obliged him to leave Madrid. His wife was found one morning in bed 
done to death by numerous stabs of a knife. Suspicion fell at first on 
his model, an Italian, but afterwards on himself. He had been unfaithful 
to her, and wanted to marry the other, as was said. Warned in time 
he fled to Valencia, but returned and lived some time in concealment. 
At last, however, he fell into the hands of justice, and bravely stood the 
examination under torture without uttering a cry. His right hand was 
spared by order of Philip IV. 

The shock of this terrible experience, the yearning for rest and 
safety may have induced him to apply for a radon (prebend) from the 
cathedral of his native place. He represented to the chapter that 
amongst so many musicians a painter also might be of service to the 
Church. Henceforth he was known as the racionero (prebendary), 
but under the ecclesiastical habit the old leaven still persisted, and he 
was constantly involved in lawsuits with the chapter. Yet the works 
here produced were amongst his best. The paintings in the choir with 
their thin, reddish half-tones nearly equal the finest productions of the 
Bolognese school ; amongst others the Assumption has reminded partial 
admirers of Guido. Here he died in 1667. 

MuRiLLO IN Madrid. 

Amongst the new faces that at that time presented themselves to 
Velazquez was a poor youth who, trusting to his star, had probably made 
the journey from Seville to the capital in company with mule-drivers. He 
came, however, not like others to make his fortune at Court, but to learn, 
although in some respects, if not in years, already nearly too old for that. 

Digitized by 


230 Velazquez. 

He had been ''painting for the million/' but in him the impulse towards 
higher things had become irresistible. 

In order to understand what Velazquez was to Bartolom^ Murillo, let us 
see how this rising genius had hitherto fared. 

Thanks to the indications of natural gifts, he had been early placed with 
Juan del Castillo (born 1584), a good painter, who had also been Alonso 
Cano's master. Juan was one of the last surviving mannerists, an artist 
without virtues or vices, who turned out indifferent studio heads, and did not 
lack skill in composition and in light and aerial effects. Such he shows 
himself in the paintings now in the Seville Museum, and in his chief work, 
the altar-pieces in the Church of St. Juan de Alfarache, but which formerly 
belonged to that of St Juan de la Palma. 

When Castillo removed in 1639 to Cadiz, Murillo, who would appear to have 
hitherto been employed by him, is said to have now found himself quite 
destitute. So in order to keep the wolf from the door he took to working for 
the booths and stalls at the local fairs. 

His biographers tell us nothing of his manner at that time. Works of 
this description vanish like drops in the sands of the unknown. On some 
rare occasions he may have been honoured with a commission for the comer 
of some cloister, which might be done cheaply. Three such works were 
shown to Ponz and to Cean Bermudez, and one of these, which stood in the 
Dominican College of Regina Coelorum, was in the possession of Mr. 
Joseph Prior, Tutor of Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1879. 

This production shows no resemblance to any of his authentic later 
works. It is painted in a clear faint tone, a thing done to order, with 
sentences transcribed in colours. To a certain Fray Lauterio troubled by a 
qualm of theological doubt the patroness of the convent appears between 
St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi, and takes the opportunity 
to pay a special compliment to the Doctor Angelicus. " Crede hut'c, quia ejus 
doctrina non deficiet in aternum^^^ says Francis to the friar, who thereupon 
opens the Summa Theologice, and finds his doubts solved. The blonde, mild 
Madonna with crown, blue mantle and rich clasp corresponds to the fancy 
picture of a devout friar, while the angels are pretty children after Nature- 
The hands also show that he had some taste. 

But the hour of awakening, as the *' revivalists " say, came at last for 
Murillo. Pedro de Moya, a foryner schoolfellow, back from the wars in 

> " Believe him, for his doctrine shall not fail for ever." Here Jtuic of course refers to 
St. Thomas, author of the Summa Theologice, the standard work on questions of dogma in 
mediaeval times, and still held in the highest esteem by Roman Catholic theologians.— 

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Flanders, told him of the northern painters, whose works he had seen during 
the leisure of his winter-quarters. Amongst them a certain Van Dyck had 
made such an impression on him that he had resolved to follow him to 
England, but unfortunately arrived somewhat too late, the artist having died 
six months afterwards. With Andalusian figures of speech Pedro described 
to Murillo, who had hitherto trod such obscure paths, the honour he had 
received even in the eleventh hour from his association with the knighted 
artist, the intimate friend of the princes and lords of England. He also 
spoke of the splendour, the fire, the tumultuous life of Rubens' canvases. 
But Pedro can scarcely have brought back any originals by Van Dyck, nor 
were his own essays calculated to convey any very clear conception of them 
to his inquisitive friend. But he may assuredly have shown him many 
beautiful prints by Paul Pontius or Schelte van Bolswert. 

Anyhow his visit set the stone rolling, and Murillo, after much inward 
struggling, at last made up his mind to break from his Sevillan associations 
and get somehow to Madrid. And now his facile brush stood him in good 
stead. Buying a large strip of canvas and stretching it on a frame, he filled 
it with numerous small devotional subjects, which he disposed of to the 
shippers for the Indies. He thus contributed to the edification of the faithful 
in Peru and Mexico, while procuring for himself the means of undertaking 
the journey. 

Thus Murillo, now in his twenty-fourth year, presented himself one day at 
the Alcazar, thoroughly sunburnt by his long ride, and looking like a gipsy 
with his thick unkempt black hair, mantle and hat somewhat the worse for 
wear. And now the situation took a certain dramatic interest. Had his 
Majesty's Court painter been one of those great men, in whose presence 
young aspirants to fame are apt to receive a first rude shock of disappoint- 
ment, he would doubtless have looked the young traveller up and down, and 
and put him off with some frivolous excuse. Or if he did condescend to 
listen to the young man's appeal, he might have wound up the interview by 
the encouraging remark: "Yes, my fine fellow; I plainly see that you lack 
all training, and what you have hitherto done is worse than nothing; and 
considering your age and your circumstances, I should advise you seriously 
to think over the matter before committing yourself to this career." 

But not so our Court painter, who had detected in the young man 
something exceptional, and feelings of jealousy were too alien from his nature 
not to be rejoiced at the discovery. He gave him the best he had to give, 
advice based on careful personal inquiry, hints that contained the secret 
of his own success as an artist. He moreover gave him free access to 
the palaces, where, thanks to the frequent and prolonged absence of the 

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232 Velazquez. 

king in Saragossa, opportunities for study were at that time much better 
than usual. 

Velazquez could easily understand the position of his fellow-country- 
man, whose teacher was a painter of about the same stamp as his own 
father-in-law. He himself had endeavoured to strike out a path for him- 
self independently of the school, and that was just about the time Murillo 
was bom. And what was wanting here ? Of talent, facility, taste, devotion, 
will, opportunity, there was assuredly no lack. Consequently he needed not 
wings but lead, as Bacon says — that is, the subjection of the spirit to 
the realities. 

Velazquez accordingly explained to him his own earlier methods, showed 
him the Water-Carrier of Seville, preached to him the gospel of Nature, 
in whose book even the blessed in heaven and the miracles of the saints 
lay concealed ; only one must know how to interpret it. But the miracle 
of painting, thought the old masters, was relief, whereas his figures were 
only many-coloured shadows. He must therefore study relief at all 
cost, and at first with the simplest and most effective means— black and 
white. And if he also wished to understand how one may become a really 
Catholic painter in the Spanish sense, he should study Spagnoletto. 

That his advice ran somewhat in this direction was shown by the result 
The first work undertaken by Murillo immediately after his return was the 
series from the lives of the Minorites in the small court of the cloisters 
in St. Francisco, including the miracles of St. Diego of Alcaic, who had 
been canonized at the instance of Philip II. In these eleven pictures, 
now scattered to the four quarters of the globe, the mendicants and 
mendicant friars, the "street arabs," the dons and clerics of^ Seville 
were depicted direct from Nature without the intervention of any foreign 
spectacles. Here we have the ecstasy of a saint composed from the 
materials of a kitchen-piece; a throng of beggars of the type of Ribera's 
lazzaroni serve as the models for the scene where St. Diego blesses the 
pot of soup before distributing it to the famished crowd ; the ragged 
urchin ridding himself of vermin (Louvre, No. 547) might be assigned 
to Velazquez had the figure been painted a little thinner; in the 
Adoration of the Shepherds Ribera's influence is evident. 

And when the cycle was completed we read how "his neighbours 
wondered where he had acquired this new, masterly and unknown manner." 
For Murillo had kept his trip to Madrid a secret, so that they never 
suspected he had visited a. northern academy. "They fancied he had 
shut himself up for two long years studying from the life, and had 
thus acquired this skill." Such was the opinion even of the older writers 

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who, like Palomino, had seen if not conversed with him. Palomino tells 
us that Murillo studied Nature in Madrid, and mentions him with 
Caravaggio as an instance of how one may become a great painter 
without distinguished teachers or exemplars, by the study of Nature, 
aided however by genius and natural taste. He adds that Murillo 
had to thank others only for a few slight elements and for what the 
eye can of itself extract from the works of the old masters.* 

Were v:e unaware of this visit to Madrid we should unhesitatingly 
conclude that Murillo's prototype was Zurbaran, who was his senior by 
twenty years, and who in this very way had arrived at similar results. 
Certain now unknown circumstances must have prevented these two 
men from coming into contact. During the thirteen years from 1625 to 
1638 Zurbaran had, especially considering his painfully laborious system, 
displayed amazing productive power, filling the convents and churches 
of Andalusia and Estremadura with whole cycles of great paintings. 
But after that period there is a gap in his chronology. We read how 
he returned to his native town, Fuente de Cantos, and we know that 
in 1644 he executed a retabh for the church of Zafra a few miles from 
that place. 

If one might hazard a suggestion, we should say that nothing short 
of Velazquez' great reputation at that time would have sufficed to 
break down Murillo's prejudices against naturalism. The Court painter's 
works produced the impression that he was here in the presence of the 
foremost national painter, and this enabled him to get rid of that vapid 
devotional manner, to which he had hitherto been thoroughly enslaved. 
In Carducho's and Pacheco's books we read of the offence given by the 
new method. 

But once convinced by facts and reasons he gave himself up heart 
and soul to this new manner. He now comes forward as a ienebrosOf. 
with darkened shadows, dull yellow lights, tints from the cold section 
of the spectrum, with types of a home-bred character and sobriety of 
expression, compared with which Spagnoletto appears noble and elevated. 

Now it became evident that after all he possessed a good stock of 
Spanish phlegm and of Spanish positivism. His street urchins, with 
their unconstrained naturalness, laugh to scorn everything of the kind 
ever before or since produced, although fashioned and coloured in the 
atmosphere and sunshine of Andalusia, and unapproached in their natural,^ 
one might say their animal, charm. From these melons, grapes, pots 
and cans, every painter of still life may learn something ; for here 

* Museo picidrico, ii., 62. 

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234 Velazquez. 

Murillo's brush seems plunged in the same dough, from which Nature has 
kneaded these things. 

Doubtless the wiseacres of the last century sing quite a different 
song. According to them Murillo is an instance of how one may 
become a great painter in picture galleries. He "read up" his style 
in the apartments of the Alcazar and Escorial and in the halls of the 
great, where, as Palomino tells us, he copied many of Titian's, Van 
Dyck*s and Rubens' works, without neglecting to draw after the stucco 
casts from the antique, and the example of the grand manner and 
accuracy of Velazquez (Mi4seo, iii., 420). 

Thus from these six elements (Spagnoletto being thrown in with the 
rest) we should have a mixture which is called the Murillo style. No- 
body will doubt that he made a thorough examination of these masters, 
that he grovelled in the dust before them, that he studied them brush 
and palette in hand. But had he aimed at building up his style on 
them, as Mengs did a hundred years later, he would merely have added 
to the number of the Carduchos, Carreftos or Cerezos, who really became 
what they are in the royal galleries, and who in colour and touch often 
tread closely on the heels of their prototypes. 

Those critics fancied they had solved the "unknown quantity" of 
a truly artistic character by formulating an equation, whose value was 
made up of at least some half-dozen names of the past. At present 
this eclecticism is discredited to the utmost ; but the theory of influences 
is held in all the greater favour that your mechanical minds are unable 
to conceive the growth of genius, except as a process analogous to the 
functional system of their own brain. 

In point of fact, if the works be placed side by side, it would be 
an endless task to show the various features in which they do not 
resemble each other. How widely Murillo's glow of light and colour from 
above differs from the cool silver tone of his adviser and guide! How 
little akin are his hazy chiaroscuro, his clear open animation to the grim, 
subdued impulsiveness of the Valencian with his formal contrasts, or 
to the dejected wobegone sentiment of a Van Dyck I How different his 
fine southern sense of form and mass from Rubens' extravagances in 
form, gesture, and colour! 

Thus we see that from these two supplementary years of study in 
the capital, Murillo brought away precisely the very opposite of what 
was otherwise usual— the rejection of all conventionalism. The visit 
acted on him as a purgative of bad habits. Hence the success of 
those scenes in the Franciscan Convent, which even now might claim 

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to be thoroughly indigenous to the soil. What struck the Sevillans 
as remarkable in them was the absolutely novel unreserve with which 
figures and features familiar to all were introduced into the legends, 
the freedom of hand with which these monkish chronicles were tran- 
scribed, and which made the impossible, or what no one had ever seen, 
look as probable as everyday occurrences. They frankly admitted that 
no one in Seville knew till then what painting was. 

Later Murillo certainly tuned his instrument to somewhat higher 
melodies. Then the spirit of light fell upon him, dissipating the vapours 
of his gloomy manner. Still for his special charm, for the triumph 
of his most renowned creations in after years he remained indebted to 
that critical turning-point in Madrid, when Velazquez's guiding spirit 
introduced him to naturalism. 

Let us consider further that, although written in Greek, there was a 
time when the Gospel did not sound as Greek to its readers. So Murillo, 
like Rembrandt, mingling with the populace, amongst whom these 
miraculous events had also taken place, translated the Bible and the 
Acts of the Saints into the popular dialect. The leading characters in 
the New Testament were no gods or heroes ; and Murillo discovered that 
the daughters of the Spanish peasantry could personate the Queen of 
Heaven in the Mystery of the Conception, or in the Auio better than 
famed Italian actresses. 

We read, though not in the old biographies, that he also desired to 
visit Italy, and that Velazquez had offered to assist him in the project. 
Nor would it apparently have been anything so very extraordinary for 
Murillo to venture on such a journey. What were Civita Vecchia and 
Naples compared to the remote regions between which and Seville the 
*' Indiamen " were constantly plying ? But having been compelled early 
in life to work for his bread he was unable to lay aside his brush 
except for short intervals of relaxation or studies. For two years he 
had suspended work in the capital, but after that first and last journey 
he had immediately returned to his native place for good. 

Critics holding Mengs' views used to say that he only lacked this 
visit to Italy to become the Spanish Raphael. But history suggests 
another story. Those Vargas and Cdspedes, who had brought from Italy 
their cosmopolitan style, never succeeded in obtaining cosmopolitan 
recognition. But Murillo, who was at home only in his native land, 
who worked only for his neighbours, who took his ideals from them, 
who assimilated least of foreign elements, Murillo has become the most 
international of all Spanish painters. 

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236 Velazquez. 

This is the painter who, well nigh two hundred ' years ago, burst 
through the gloomy enclosures and dim-lit colonnades of church and 
convent, on his triumphal procession round the globe. For he at least 
possessed the art of winning the favour of all, the gift of a language 
intelligible to all times and peoples, to all classes and even to aliens to 
his faith. He first discovered in the forms of his fellow-countrymen that 
" touch of Nature " which " makes the whole world kin." He relieved 
miracles of the unnatural and ecstasy of all morbid sentiment ; under his 
charming touch visions, mysticism and monkish tales assumed a genially 
human complexion. In an epoch of shams and falsehood he still was 
true ; in an age of depraved taste he created pure forms of undistorted 
Nature, dwellers in happy Arcadian fields, who give us a picture of 
his native land very different from that of the sad records of its later 

The Crucifixion in San Placido. 

Since his removal to the capital Velazquez had given up religious 
painting, probably through lack of time and commissions as well as of 
inclination. Some special circumstances may have induced him again 
to take up such subjects after an inter\'al of some fifteen years. But 
whereas in the clerico-monastic surroundings of Seville, with great exemplars 
before him, he had produced nothing but indifferent works of this class, 
with little originality and even cold and repulsive, he now surprises us, in 
this mundane and spiritless Court atmosphere, with productions remarkable 
not only for novelty of conception, but also for their undoubtedly effective 

Two such paintings are extant, one long known, the other recently 
brought to light. The former, Christ on the Cross, was till lately 
regarded as exceptional. Count de Ris remarking that, " had he not p)ainted 
this Crucifixion, people would believe he did violence to his genius when 
he treated religious subjects." Thord found a Shakespearean element in 
it, and called it " terrible." Stirling-Maxwell also declared that " this great 
Agony" had never before been more powerfully represented, although 
it is no agony but death. Cumberland considered that this figure alone 
would have sufficed to render him immortal, while others, probably with- 
out wishing to be taken seriously, spoke of "elevation to the loftiest 
heights of idealism." 

Velazquez adopted the representation of the Saviour in absolute isolation 
which was at that time in favour with the great Italians and Flemings. 

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The Crucifixion. 


Probably the first masterly example of this treatment, which was unknown 
to mediaeval Art, was Diirer's small Crucifixion in the Dresden Gallery. 

But between the lines of all this warm admiration one may still read 

that the writers were at the same time at least somewhat perplexed at 

Velazquez' performance. A Crucifixion in the Shakespearean spirit would 

seem to suggest something different — a night-piece, for instance, the heavens 

overcast with heavy clouds, through which a gloomy ray struggles 

to reach the moribund features; in the witching hour of night plains 

stretching away in the background 

as if under the curse of the wrong 

just consummated ; a thunderstorm 

in the middle distance; a picture such 

as hovered before the imagination 

of Van Dyck and of his lugubrious 

Spanish imitator, Mateo Cerezo ; a 

work such as Murillo's St. Francis in 

the presence of his crucified Saviour. 

But here we have a work in 

which all this is swept aside. The 

figure on the cross is depicted in 

the emptiness of an almost black 

space, 'Mike an ivory carving on a 

black velvet shroud." 

Nor in the symmetrical and still 
I youthful body can one detect any 
attempt to express the effects either 
of the agonizing position or of the 
death-struggle — the suspension, the 
strain and wrench of limbs and 
muscles, the last convulsive vital movements, as is usual with other painters. 
The legs rest on the supporting block, the arms are merely attached, not 
weighted. Of death there is nothing but the marble rigidity, * and even 
this has to be, strictly speaking, supplied in thought, for the artist 
obviously painted with a living model before his eyes, a model to which 
he scrupulously adhered. The figure in fact is in the very position that 
would be taken by a model, or by the actor in the Ober-Ammergau 
Passion Play, except that in the latter case the unendurable position 
would be betrayed by the symptoms of unrest. 

' C'est correct, serr^, solide^ comme un marbre. — Thor]£. Serre de dessin comme un 
Holbein — Imbert. 


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238 Vklazquez. 

Add to all this the most symmetrical proportions; no oblique position 
of the Cross, as is usual in the Rubens school; scarcely an inclination of 
the head to the shoulder ; altogether a rigid equilibrium completed by the 
juxtaposition of the feet with the two nails. 

The figure is in fact conceived more in the plastic than the pictorial 
spirit; more plastic even than similar paintings by the sculptor, Alonso 
Cano. Bearing in mind the just-mentioned works, with their undulating 
forms, the deep brown shadows varied by luminous beams and red 
reflected lights, we shall be still more struck by the quiet, soft, yellowish 
tone of this delicately and clearly modelled figure. 

Yet the composition shows in other respects no imitation of sculpture. 
Beul^, outdoing Stirling-Maxweirs comparison, misses the mark when he 
calls it the copy of an ivory piece. Musso was precisely struck by the 
fact that the black ground produced no harsh effect. Still less can 
I detect any reminiscence of Cellini's Crucifix. The side-light, so 
advantageous for plastic effect, has not been employed, and Velazquez 
has attached more importance to the truth of a soft youthful surface, 
to imperceptible transitions, than to prominence of bone and muscular 

On the other hand the inanimate outward details are very carefully 
treated, though without triviality. The grain of the well-planed shafts 
the knots and the very resin that has oozed out of the pinewood, the 
few drops of blood that have trickled down, the crown of thorns, the 
tablet with the trilingual inscription, all are reproduced with the fidelity 
of a pre-Raphaelite. 

Are we then to conclude ihat the work is merely a study? Did 
the subject interest our artist, like so many before him, only so far as 
it gave him an opportunity of studying the nude? 

But if so, whence the deep impression produced on so many observers? 
This impression is said to be caused by a single trait, the only touch 
by which the severe symmetry of the composition is broken. The only 
dark part is the face, which, in the sudden relaxation of death, has 
sunk on the breast; but here the artist was not satisfied with shade 
alone. When the head sank the long brown locks on the right side 
were thrown forward, and falling over the brow half-way down the 
breast, covered as with a heavy black veil the eye and right side 
of the face. The effect of this half veiling, although rather unconsciously 
felt than understood, is irresistible. This is the one weird-like trait which 
has fallen, as by accident, from the artist's brush, conjured up from 
the unknown, the unconscious dimness of his creative fancy. 

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The Crucifixion. 239 

We are told that this touch is not the artist's property, but borrowed 
from a small picture by Luis Tristan, which was formerly to be seen 
in the Vista Alegre Gallery, Salamanca, and the drawing for which is 
still said to be in the hands of a Parisian collector. If this Crucifixion 
is ascribed to Tristan on no better ground than the painting in the 
Madrid Museum, one need scarcely regret not having seen it. As in a 
hundred similar cases, it is probably a small copy after Velazquez, such 
as are so often imposed upon the public as original sketches. In order 
to make it something better than a copy, somebody assigned it to the 
Toledan artist who had been so praised by Velazquez. 

In this connection Thor6 remarks : " In order to recognize Velazquez 
in this exceptional and sublime work, one must be thoroughly at home in 
the chronology of his talent ; we shall then know that his Christ is 
derived from Tristan." The Parisian critic was unaware that Velazquez 
never diverged more from this chiaroscurist than in the Crucifixion. It is 
very solidly painted, in a clear, unsurpassingly true flesh tone, which in the 
lower half is softened by a delicate shading of gray. 

Velazquez, than whom no one understood better what was needed 
even to paint the simplest object well, that is, to come near to Nature, 
could scarcely have seriously undertaken to represent a Christ crucified 
true to Nature, or with verisimilitude. Still less did he trust himself to 
seize with the brush the expression of the dying God. He trusted 
that aid would here be found in the artistic feeling, which often discovers 
more in suggestion than in actual expression. Hence the shadow, the 
foreshortening of the face, the veil. He had recourse to the same 
expedient as the Greek artist, who had to depict the grief of Agamemnon 
at the sacrifice of Iphigenia. 

For the rest he was contented to place in the traditional position 
a well-shaped male model, without those haggard, slender, noble forms 
usually selected even by Montanes, Cano and Murillo. If I mistake not, 
the effect of the picture depends partly on this reserve of the artist, who 
in treating such a subject felt that he was not merely an artist. Devotion 
is little concerned with an artistically successful interpretation, but 
it values literal accuracy, authentic adjuncts; hence the veneration 
entertained for relics, memorials, and the like. He possibly felt that 
such a subject is most . effective when treated in the simplest outward, 
but authentic, way ; that all accessories of the sentimental artist, the 
accompaniment of unconscious Nature herself, tend but to impair this effect. 
In a somewhat similar spirit a preacher of the Passion Sermon on Good 
Friday began by remarking that he would have preferred on such an 

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240 Velazquez. 

occasion setting up the crucified Redeemer in the chancel, and retiring 
from the pulpit. 

A sculptor at first sight of this work took it for a devotional piece 
suited for some pilgrims' shrine. And this brings us to an archaeological 
point. V'elazquez' erudite father-in-law had considered that one of his 
missions in life was to revive the belief regarding the four nails, and 
. to establish this doctrine against the tradition of the three nails, which had 
prevailed since the beginning of the thirteenth century. Apart from the 
works of St. Luke and Nicodemus, he appealed to a bronze by Franconi 
after a model by Buonarroti, which the painter Cdspedes wore on his 
neck ; and also to a drawing by DQrer in a book belonging to Philip II., 
probably Granvella's breviary. How rejoiced the old man must now have 
been when his son-in-law, perhaps in fulfilment of a long cherished 
wish, again introduced this '* venerable and ancient" representation, 
consecrating it in a masterpiece I Velazquez was followed by Alonso 
Cano in a work now in the Academy, and by Ribera in the Crucifixion 
at Vitoria (1643), in which however the feet are crossed.* 

In this fourth decade of the century the "Devotion of the Cross" 
had been specially stimulated in Madrid through the report (1633) that 
the Jews had scourged a Crucifixion, and that the figure had loudly 
and distinctly complained. The house of the sacrilegious criminals was 
levelled to the ground ; a congregation del bendito Crista de la Fe was 
instituted, and of nocturnal torchlight processions and other expiatory 
devotions there was no end. The Spanish and Latin poetic effusions 
posted on the church doors alone involved an outlay of several hundred 

Till the year 1808 Velazquez* painting was preserved in the sacristy 
of the Benedictine Convent of San Placido, a wretched little place lit 
only by a small grated window, and here it was seen by Ponz and 
Cumberland. Doila Teresa de Silva, foundress of this convent, had been 
betrothed to her cousin, son of Don Ger6nimo de Villanueva, Marquis of 
Villalba, Protonotary of Aragon, and one of the wealthiest of the Spanish 
grandees. But shortly before the marriage the engagement was suddenly 
broken off", the young lady took the veil and built this convent with 
the ex-bridegroom's money. 

The new foundation was much in favour with the Court, and the 
gracious Sister Teresa received frequent visits from Olivares and the 

* Pacheco had also discovered that the Cross was fifteen feet high and eight broad, 
that it consisted of planed timber, the shaft cypress, the arms pine and olive, the 
supporting block cedar, the tablet boxwood 1 

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Christ at the Pillar. 241 

royal couple. Under the guidance of her father-confessor, the Benedic- 
tine friar, Francisco Garcia Calderon, the pious institution even seemed 
to be favoured with manifestations of extraordinary spiritual effi- 
cacy, which however soon inspired the Holy Office with serious alarm. 
The friar was condemned to perpetual seclusion, the prioress was 
banished for four years, and the sisters were dispersed amongst other 
communities (1633). 

But it was felt to be intolerable that the royal family and the 
Court should have frequented a religious house that lay under the 
ban of such a sentence. After five years the influence of Olivares 
and of the protonotary succeeded in obtaining a revision of the 
process by the Supreme Council, which resulted in the quashing 
of the previous judgment, and the reinstatement of the accused 

It would seem probable that the Crucifixion was painted by Velazquez 
in connection with this event.^ Lately it has received a companion piece 
by the discovery of another scene from the Passion, the 

Christ at the Pillar. 

This painting, which has been only five years accessible to the public, 
may confidently be described as the most important addition made to the 
hitherto known treasures bequeathed by our master to posterity. Obtained 
over five-and-twenty years ago in Madrid, it had already produced a 
profound impression^ at its first exhibition in Manchester (1857), and again 
at the British Institution in i860. Still the feeling was not free from 
those doubts as to its authenticity which so often attach to newly discovered 

^ Quilliet mentions {Dictionnaire, 374) that Le Brun authorized him to oifer the 
convent twenty thousand francs for the work, which afterwards came into the hands 
of the Countess of Chinchon, wife of the Prince of Peace; she offered it for sale in 
Paris (1826) where it was valued at twenty thousand francs. At her death it passed 
to her brother-in-law the Duke of San Fernando, who presented it to Ferdinand VII- 
The serpent and death's head wrongly said to have been added by the countess were 
already there when Carmona's engraving was made. It is now in the Prado, No. 1055 ; 
size 2-48 X 1*69 metres. 

' "There is an originality and solemnity about this picture, not only in the general 
tone, but in the simplicity of the composition. The resignation of the Saviour and the 
silent awe of the child — for his heart only speaks— cannot fail to leave a deep and yet 
painful impression on all who have beheld it." — AthetKBum, i860, i., 859. (National 
Gallery No. 1 148 ; 76 x 68 inches.) 


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242 Velazquez. 

The obscurity from which it suddenly emerged, after an oblivion 
of over two hundred years, is puzzling. Perhapw as a devotional piece 
it may have been handed down as an heirloom in a private family unaware 
of its artistic worth. Afterwards it again remained over twenty years 
concealed in a private house, so that no greater surprise could have 
been offered to Velazquez' numerous admirers than its appearance in the 
London National Gallery, to which it had been presented by Sir John 
Savile Lumley. 

Here is a religious work completely deviating from those otherwise 
known to be by Velazquez* hand ; a work which in its blending of actual 
life with the supernatural and with Bible history is more mediaeval than 
modem ; a Passion scene, which, so far as was known, had never before 
been so represented ; lastly, a work whjch for once gives full expres- 
sion to the master's religious sentiment. Yet of this work not a trace 
can bo found in old records and inventories. It has in truth so many 
unwonted elements that, as happened to myself, one might well doubt, 
judging from photographs. But all hesitation is removed by a view of the 
work itself, its colouring and method of execution. In any case since 
writing this notice 1 have myself discovered a preparatory study for this 

All the masters religious pieces, the earlier as well as the later, coni- 
form in materials, conception and composition to tradition, and partly to 
definite prototypes. They make no claim to invention, the models 
and the process of painting being alone the artist's property. But not 
so here. 

The picture gives an episode from the Passion between the scourging 
and the crowning with thorns, the Ecce Homo 1 After executing their 
cruel work the scourgers have withdrawn, leaving their Victim to Himself, 
but forgetting to release the wrists from the shaft. The ground is strewn 
with the instruments — rods, blood-stained leathern thongs, small twigs — 
that have been used up by the executioners. Now the Saviour has sunk 
to the ground, but the fastened arms remain nearly horizontally out- 
stretched. He is seated on the floor, the figure turned to the left, but 
the face presenting a full front view, and expressing with intense 
vividness both the effects of the flagellation and the painful nature of 
this position of the exhausted frame. Similar agonizing attitudes Ribera 
has introduced in several variations of the theme of St. Sebastian's 

Such episodes of the Passion, not mentioned in the Gospels, were inferred 
and devised in order, by their novelty and treatment of minute details, to 

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Christ at the Pillar. 


produce a more vivid efTect than could be expected from constant repetitions 
of the same presentment. Thus, in a lifesize figure now in the San Fernando 
Academy Alonso represents Christ after the scourging ashamed of His 
nakedness and groping for the clothes that have been scattered round 
about ; He makes a step towards the mantle, which He draws to Him with 
both outstretched arms. According to Alonzo de Villegas,^ it was the 
intention of His enemies that He should perish under the flagellation that 
the Roman governor had ordered in good part They had in fact left 


Him for dead when He had swooned away after the infliction of five 
thousand strokes. 

Then this view was further enlarged upon by contemplative minds. 
They represented Him as falling to the ground on being released from the 
cords, but recovering through the shock, rising and casting about for His 
clothes. This scene is not even once mentioned by Ayala in his Picior 
Christianus entdiius.^ Even more heart-rending pictures were invented 

' F/os Sanctorum (Barcelona: 1760), p. 57. 
* (Madrid: 1731.) P. 153. 

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244 Velazquez. 

by popular devotion or pious zeal ; but such treatment of the subject is 
slowly, if at all, adopted by true artists. 

Occasionally the penitent Peter is introduced kneeling by the side of the 
forsaken Redeemer, as in a painting of the old G>rdovan school jointly 
with the two pious founders kneeling on either side of the pillar. Elsewhere 
angels make their appearance, as if the Saviour had been abandoned by 
all except these beings of the invisible world, spirits, as it were, of 
sympathy- -the grief of Christendom itself interpreted in the language 
of Art Two such angels stand by the figure of Christ in the picture 
attributed to Murillo now in Sir Francis Cook's collection, Richmond. One 
lays his hand on the arm of the other, who stands with clasped hands 
and eyes red with weeping, as if lost at the incredible spectacle, while 
the Saviour continues with His last remaining strength to struggle on 
the ground. In its simplicity and truth this angelic group were at all 
events not unworthy of Murillo. 

Pacheco also occupied himself with the same subject of the Man of 
Sorrows gathering up His clothes. In a paper addressed to Fernando 
of Cordova in 1609 he gives a detailed statement of his views and of the 
fundamental principles on which they are based.* To produce the deeper 
impression the face of the Redeemer should be turned towards the 
spectator; a feeling of shame and the effects of the ill-treatment should 
be expressed in a delicately constituted, dignified figure; the stripes on 
the shaded side should be restricted to the back ; the pillar lofty, the 
instruments of torture strewn on the ground of four kinds, and so on. 
By the mere perusal of this description Luis del Alcazar was inspired 
to the composition of a Latin poem. 

Two painters, one of Spanish, the other of Italian, origin come 
nearest to Velazquez' idea. On the right of the entrance to the Church 
of the Merced Descaha at Sanlucar de Barrameda is a dark chapel 
with a large altar-piece, which is moreover so blackened that it is 
impossible to recognize the master, possibly Roelas. Here also an angel 
is introduced, but holding a child and pointing to the prostrate Saviour, 
who is trying to reach the mantle. The child clasps his hands to his 

The other, by Bernardino Luini, is in St. Maurizio (Monasterio Maggiore), 
at Milan, and here the Saviour is giving way or is sinking, but still sustained 
by the cords. Two attendants are unbinding him, and the right arm alone is 
still attached by the elbow. Here, however, Christ has fainted, the legs are 
bent across, the head sinks on the shoulder, the left arm hangs down quite 

» Arte de la Pintura, i. 248-55. 

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Christ at the Pillar. 245 

helpless. Thus while the Spanish artist leaves a last struggling effort of 
the will and muscular energy, the Lombard figures the much more delicate 
body at the moment when all control of limbs and consciousness has com- 
pletely given way. The motion is more transitory, and even pathological ; 
the parts give angiilar and rectangular lines to which no objection need 
necessarily be made, so far as it gives striking expression to the intended 
situation, for in the interest of truth Art should not always shirk unlovely 

Living personalities are also to some extent represented ; thus St. 
Catharine standing on the left side introduces the founder, whose action, 
however, is purely conventional. On the opposite side St. Stephen turns 
towards the devout community. 

In Velazquez' work, as in that of Sanliicar, the devout person is a 
fair-complexioned child in a long, white, girdled shirt, who is introduced 
by an angel — his guardian angel — and shown the forsaken Redeemer. 
At a hint from the angel in the rear the child has knelt down and clasped 
his hands, just as in the side compartments of mediaeval triptychs 
the patron saints introduce the founders and recommend them to the 

Or the situation might be thus explained. The Saviour lay exhausted on 
the ground, the cord being long enough for the purpose, and He has now 
risen with an effort, in order to behold the child and respond to his devotion 
in the most seemly attitude possible. He turns His head and eyes on the 
little worshipper, who is deeply affected by the look of anguish. The in- 
clination of the child's head to the right shoulder is intended to gain a better 
view of the eyes and features of the suffering Redeemer. What he sees 
he is incapable of understanding, and still less can he express his feelings 
in words ; but the heart speaks. 

When we look carefully at the picture, we notice a thin white line, a 
ray, which reaches from the position of the heart to the Saviour's ear. 
Thus, as the poet sings. 

To see sad sights moves more than hear them told, 
For then the heart interprets to the ear 
The heavy motion that it doth behold. 

And all is told in such simple language that we seem to be contemplating 
a real occurrence. Were the child alone there with his companion (without 
the wings) one would say this is a child some member of the family has 
introduced to his father's deathbed, in order to utter a prayer for his 

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246 Velazquez. 

If the other known religious representations of the Master leave the 
spectator indifferent, the failure is explained by reference to the nature of 
his Art. Hand and imagination alike seemed to fail him wherever any- 
thing had to be depicted in which the model left him in the lurch. But in 
the present case it must be admitted that this inference was premature. 

The angel however is a portrait. The short, straight forehead, the 
narrow concave nose, even the thick curly hair brought forward over the 
ears in accordance with the fashion of the day, leave no doubt on that 
point. But the downcast eye, the slightly pouting lips, as if about to weep, 
betray the harrowing impression of the moment. 

This expression shows fine invention, for it might have been more 
natural for the eye to follow the hand directing the child's attention to the 
figure. But the angel fears himself to look, lest he be overcome with 

In the collection of drawings bequeathed by Cean Bermudez to the 
Instituto Asturiano of his birth-place, Gijon, there is a crayon hastily 
sketched with broad strokes, which is a preparatory study after a model 
for this angel (No. 410; size 872 x 46 inches). Pose, action, dress 
agree exactly, only the hand raises the robe up to the knee, and the 
head is different. The model has short-cut hair, the occiput is high 
and angular, the nose straight, the face without expression, the hands 
mere outlines. 

As the painting was unknown in Spain, the drawing itself afforded 
little clue to its attribution, and consequently the title must rest on a 
long-standing tradition. The costume is perhaps borrowed from a figure 
in some Passion Play. Can the band crossing the chest have served to 
fasten the wings ? 

The painting may possibly be a votive picture, offered by a couple 
who had made a vow to have their little boy painted in the act of 
worshipping the suffering Redeemer. 

The figure of the Redeemer Himself is quite out of the common. 
Even in the schools given up to the imitation of the antique, such a 
physically powerful Christ has rarely been produced. That of the Minerva 
in Rome may perhaps suggest itself; but here the impression of athletic 
strength is enhanced by the head, which is broad and flat, deviating 
altogether from the usual type. The short retreating forehead, with 
high bosses on the superciliary arches (it appears all the narrower 
from the dark locks matted over the forehead), recalls the Greek 
Hercules ; the effect is heightened by the powerful cheekbones and 
waving lines of nose and mouth. He is like a mighty champion, a 

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Christ at the Pillar. 247 

Samson, overcome by superior power, One alone capable of enduring 
such unheard-of tortures. 

When in Rome the artist may perhaps have studied one of the statues 
from the second school of Athens, such as the so-called AntinOus 
(Hermes) of the Belvedere. Perhaps he may have chosen such forms, 
because an intolerable situation, in which the power of endurance is 
strained to the utmost, produces a less painful effect where apparently 
exceptional strength of resistance has been put forth. 

The work must have been executed in Velazquez' middle period, for 
many traits point to the beginning, and others again to the end, of these 
two decades. The modelling of the nude is not far removed from that 
of the Vulcan ; the hands are already treated in his later sketchy 
manner, and the right foot in the shade is merely suggested. Note- 
worthy is the careful study of the three heads of hair, all alike abundant 
but differing in style. 

If the subject is somewhat unexpected, on the other hand the artist's 
special quality seldom appears so characteristic, especially as displayed in 
his sense of colour and treatment of form. To those acquainted with the 
old masters only from the specimens in the National Gallery, this work 
would give the impression of a great school, entirely distinct from all 
others and represented by a solitary example. There probably exists no 
other painting executed in such a decidedly grey, blackish-grey tone, 
although it is by no means colourless, as seen in the orange-brown and 
dull crimson of the angel's costume, which are peculiar to our Master. 
It is as if, after the terrible event that has here taken place, mourning 
Nature had strewn the scene with a fine shower of ashes, as after some 
tremendous volcanic outburst. 

Compared with this, how warm and golden, how Titian-like, appears 
the nude in Ribera's Pietk ! — how glowing Murillo ! Yet both in such 
proximity are almost conventional. We look round in vain for 
such another arm painted as are these of the angel with upturned 
sleeves. Possibly the Entombment attributed to Michael Angelo might be 
mentioned ; but in our picture, with equal truth to form, more atten- 
tion is paid to softness, pliancy, and the clear shimmering tone of the 
nude in a youthful figure. Nor does this grey ever lack limpidity 
in shadows which for our artist are very deep. The colour of the 
Saviour's face is bluish, as with persons being choked, the white of the 
eye blue-grey. 

The nude forms are solidly modelled with full broad brush in large 
simple flowing traits on what appears to be a red brown ground, of 

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248 Velazquez. 

which not a trace penetrates to the surface, and the shadows are applied 
over the clear carnations. On a near view those forms seem to melt 
away before the eye; but when we step back we are amazed at their 
accuracy and truth. One gets the impression that Velazquez not merely 
imitated, but actually understood the nature spread before his eyes — that 
he passed from the distinctness of the known to the vagueness of the 
seen, from the actual to the apparent. 

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1631— 1649. 


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Velazquez as a Portrait Painter. 

THE portrait painter is born, said old Pacheco. Velazquez' somewhat 
reserved yet fine-strung temperament, his simple, frank, upright 
character, fitted him for this department, which inclines more towards the 
observing and imitative than the creative side of Art ; here he had no need 
to concern himself with the disturbing elements of fancy, a faculty which 
so often obtrudes itself in season and out of season. Had he cultivated 
the philosophy of the schoolmen, he would have certainly sided with the 
nominalists. He lacked the organ of the universal, and consequently felt 
no need to give it embodiment; man, the highest object of the formative 
arts, he knew only as an isolated being; for him the individual was the 
substantia prima of mediaeval philosophy. 

To his natural bent for portraiture was added his own special training. 
Long before he could foresee that he was destined to become Court 
painter, and to be known to posterity almost exclusively as a portraitist — 
in fact while he was still producing religious and genre pieces in Seville— 
he had lighted upon a method, by which he acquired a sure hand and 
the national style of portraiture. The circle of young artists where he 
may have been the guiding spirit held, as the Florentine and Bruges 
masters had once held in their way, that there could be no good painting 
without strict adherence to the model; on the other hand they considered 
that it did not much matter what model was chosen, provided only the 
stamp of Nature, the genuine mark of individuality, were imparted to 
the " poetic " or " legendary " figure itself. 

Whatever may be said of the consequences of the restrictions and 
distractions at Court, Velazquez here enjoyed an immense advantage as 
a portrait painter. He had for his subjects persons with whom he was 
thoroughly familiar ; and are not those works of the great portraitists the 
best and most universally admired which represent persons whom they 
have had an opportunity of knowing through long or close intimacy? 

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252 Velazquez. 

Bien comprendre son homme est la premiere qualite du poriraitisie^ said 
There; and the human physiognomy is a book, whose meaning cannot 
be mastered in a few sittings. Even Raphael Mengs knew so much. 
When complimented by the elector on his portrait of the singer 
Annibali (Brera), the remark escaped him: "Yes, sire, the friend is 
there ; something kings don't understand.*' 

Nor did Velazquez' cardinal virtue, truthfulness, suffer detriment in the 
atmosphere of the Court. Here he never learned to flatter, but rather 
seems to have acquired something of the dry scepticism and coldness 
of the born courtier. No envoy furnishing his sovereign with despatches 
in cipher, no Saint Simon consigning to his desk the unembellished 
memoirs of his surroundings for the benefit of posterity, could have been 
more oj)en or plain-spoken. Not many princes and Courts would even at 
present be satisfied with such a frank expositor. But in the period of 
its decline the Court of Madrid was still imbued with the genuine old 
Spanish realistic spirit, which was satisfied to appear as it was. 

It is at the same time true enough that, in consequence of his 
resolution to exchange Seville for Madrid, his lot was cast with a some- 
what melancholy social circle — half Bohemian, half Byzantine. Here w^as 
the picture of a nation outwardly presenting the same aspect as in the 
days of the heroic past, but through p>olitical errors and fatal prejudices 
slowly sinking from her world-wide sway, her destinies in the hands 
of the last feeble scions of a moribund dynasty. But, as Thord well 
remarks, the finest portraits, even going as far back as Henry VIII. 
and Pietro Aretino, were not always those of the finest figures. 

Yet despite his inferior subjects, Velazquez need not fear comparison 
with artists of other lands more favoured in this respect, but rather 
shows to advantage by their side. The choice of his originals, where 
for the most part there was no choice, may cause surprise ; but what 
he took in hand seemed to him a matter of indifierence, for he felt 
sure of imparting to apparently the most thankless subjects a lasting 
interest, such as others failed to secure with their far more promising 
models and more alluring methods of treatment There are few who 
stood less in need of the support derived from the theme itself, the 
association of ideas, although his works are in this respect so highly 

Where lay his secret ? 

Of this department of Art he personally entertained a lofty concep- 
tion. When he declared he knew nobody who understood how to paint a 
head well, he apparently meant, not only that Art in its whole compass 

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Velazquez as a Portrait Painter. 253 

may be revealed in a portrait, but that here is needed the Art of a 
great painter. In the same way Ingres called a portrait the touchstone 
of the painter. 

Velazquez' portraits have often been described from the standpoints 
of impression and expression; but they have never yet been subjected 
to analysis at the hands of an artist. The silence of professional 
critics must therefore be the excuse for my boldness, if I venture as 
a non-professional to interweave my remarks on the subject with foreign 

As a portrait painter our artist certainly shows most affinity with the 
Venetians, and, as already stated, perhaps comes nearer to Tintoretto 
than to Titian. In one respect his portraits must be grouped rather 
with* those of the previous century than with contemporary works striving 
after movement and sentiment. Velazquez belongs jointly with the Vene- 
tians to the champions of the grand style, characterized by great breadth 
in the lines of both features and figure, by a bold disposition of the 
surfaces, by unity of motive and severe subordination of details. 

His figures, taken from the high visual point, are characteristic even 
as silhouettes^ and can be at once recognized. He has always the full 
standing figure in his mind's eye, even when he delineates it only in 
half-length or as a bust. Palomino's advice in this respect is certainly 
in accordance with his views {Museo ii., 65 et seq,). Hence, even when 
the subjects gave him long and repeated sittings in the literal sense, he 
still took a preliminary drawing of the standing model, in order to fix 
the general aspect, to which everything was afterwards adapted. 

To portraiture he applied the firm draughtsmanship and delicate 
modelling, the knowledge of form and that cultivated taste, for which he 
was indebted to the severe training and abundant stimulating influences 
of Pacheco's studio. What he did not owe to this school, and what 
enables us still to recognize his originals more certainly than by the 
touch itself, is the truth of the coloured illusion, the truth of the surface 
treatment; that transparency of the skin and that freshness of the 
throbbing life depending on it ; that reflected shimmer of the carnations ; 
lastly that grey tone, whose function no other artist understood so well. 
It is here that he deviates most from the colour-sense of the Venetians. 

Whoever has seen but one important portrait by this master will 
never forget two impressions — the spirit of the painter's touch, and the 
absolute convincing truth, which cannot certainly be demonstrated, but 
only intuitively perceived, but which may yet at times be strengthened 
by comparisons. 

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254 Velazquez. 

Of modern artists Velazquez was perhaps the first for characterization, 
a quality which is not so common as is supposed. In portraits even by 
famous painters there often lurks a spirit alien to the originals — the spirit, 
for instance, of the artist himself, who in that case is like the actor 
who represents himself alone. Others again, possibly through fear of 
this foreign spirit at all intruding itself, have remained satisfied with a 
purely picturesque exterior aspect of the mask alone, as if they were required 
to show nothing further behind it. 

But our master penetrates at once into the heart of his subjects, 
whose horoscopes might be taken from these portraits, as was said of 
those of Apelles. He paints the tone of the nerves, the "blending of the 
sap," the quantity of iron and gall in the blood, of wisdom and foolish- 
ness in the brain. ''These portraits," says Thor^, "are the noblest and 
finest in the world, because they depict men so thoroughly understood 
that they cannot be confounded with other men." 

No one has less avoided unpromising forms, which with a sort of 
defiance he has even neglected to tone down or cast in the shade. He 
seems to have believed that everybody was capable of pictorial repre- 
sentation without suppression or addition ; that no being existed who, 
if placed in the proper attitude and light, would fail so to appear that 
we should not wish him otherwise. 

Hence, in direct contrast to Van Dyck he usually omitted to make 
his figures interesting by picturesque postures, or give them animation by 
some motived situation. He is perfectly satisfied with the attitudes of 
tradition or etiquette, which at times are stiff and haughty. " My subject," 
he perhaps thought to himself, " must be capable of interesting, not because 
he does anything interesting, or puts on an interesting face, but because 
his personality is interesting." Instead of catching the expression in 
moments of social excitement, or when animated by the desire to please, 
he allows his models, so to say, to fall back upon themselves, when all 
those favourable traits or studied dispositions of the features have vanished. 
They thus appear indifferent to the searching gaze of all observers, even 
of the painter himself. If they are nevertheless so lifelike, that is merely 
a fresh proof that animation and posing are two different things. 

But still they do betray an expression — one, however, which is almost 
the abnegation of all expression : that of a cold, haughty nature. They 
are nearly always turned sideways in three-quarter view, fixing the 
painter with averted glance, and consequently also following the spectator 
everywhere. Such a side-glance conveys the impression of pride, if not 
of disdain. 

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Velazquez as a Portrait Painter. 255 

But may not the secret of the effect partly lie precisely in this 
device ? 

Vanity, useful and even indispensable for social intercourse, acts less 
favourably in life and Art. As it needs the judgment of others in support 
of its own self-estimation, it awakens doubt and contempt, at least on the 
part of men. It thinks of others and considers how it would gladly 
appear in their eyes. But pride heeds not how it shall seem ; it suffices 
unto itself as it is; it troubles itself little about the approval of others, 
as Kant said of the Spaniards, to whom he ascribed *' haughtiness." Nor 
does pride need to act otherwise ; for the man who wishes only to be, 
not to seem, if not lovable, at least impresses, inasmuch as he does not seek 
but accepts recognition ; we must take him as a whole, lights and shades 
and all. His self-esteem looks like superiority, and excites a feeling of 
respect, at least when mirrored in the harmless picture of Art, which 
challenges no man's pretensions. 

This, as it seems to me, may be the reason why Velazquez so captivates 
us when he holds " the mirror up to Nature," and shows " the very age 
and body of the time, his form and pressure." For his sake we ask, Who 
was this Philip, this Borgia ? — just as in reading Tacitus we still grow 
interested in those crazy Caesars. It is not merely his realistic or photo- 
graphic truth, his fidelity to historic records: consider what other sober 
but less distinguished hands have made of the same subjects. See how 
he imparts dignity to his buffoons themselves, who through incorrect titles 
have at times been taken for military commanders or corsairs. These 
poses, mixed of pride and pretence, this sosiego or composure, what the 
Italians called intonatura, which rendered the Spaniards at that time so 
offensive to all foreigners, affect us in Art otherwise than in life, as is 
the case with so many other things repellent in themselves. 

Here it may not be out of place to remark that it would be a mistake 
to suppose that the Spaniards of those times carried these airs about with 
them even amongst themselves, and in the intimacy of private life. 
Mynheer van Sommelsdyck had already noticed that they were so 
extremely sedate, grave and reserved only in public, at the promenades, 
in the theatre. '* Here," says Camillo Guidi, " they become transformed to 
gods, and you may think yourself lucky if you can elicit from them a 
few dark oracular words. In confidential intercourse they seem no longer 
the same people, but just as accessible, chatty, cheerful, frivolous, or 
reckless as others." 

In Velazquez' portraits this is the most striking feature, while of 
technical factors the most important is chiaroscuro. Here the changes 

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256 Velazuez. 

of manner become most obvious in this artist, who is otherwise so uniform, 
and so little affected by outward influences. At first in his youthful 
zeal and disgust at the prevailing second-hand style he reduced his 
whole Art to a single point— to paint with the model before his eyes in 
a onesided light, with pure, sharply defined shadows. The plastic 
effect of this system was intensified by the empty, neutral ground He 
and his contemporaries of like tendencies were herein guided less by a 
pessimistic love of gloom, than by repugnance to the flat, the feeble, the 
prevalent lack of concentration. 

But he very soon discovered that this plastic effect was often obtained 
by too large a dose of shade, and might be produced by a minimum of 
that element. Mere touches and lines of a spare, warm transparent 
brown dispersed over the features sufficed to remove all flatness from the 
head, while a dark or a luminous patch behind the figure served to detach 
it from the ground. 

From this point of view he treats the ear. The concha, on the light 
side turned towards the observer, is carefully and vigorously modelled, 
and even individualized ; probably because it contributes towards the 
general plastic effect The hands on the contrary, as elsewhere remarked 
(p. Ill), are treated in a very summary way. 

After extracting from this manner all that it was capable of eflfecting, 
Velazquez* pictorial sense asserted itself, and he perceived how many 
elements of the picturesque were here overlooked. Portraits should be 
plastic by the semblance of bodily fulness and depth, not plastic in the 
sense that the figures should appear to stand out hard and stony from 
the empty ground. They should in fact seem to be parts only of a whole 
full of light and air. 

He was led to his new luminous system by those portraits which had 
to be transferred from the chamber to the open air. Here was necessarily 
introduced a background, an element whose study has a special interest 
for the portrait painter. 

Velazquez gives us all imaginable backgrounds, from the simplest 
dark or clear surfaces to richly furnished interiors and landscape pros- 
pects. In the early p)ortraits an empty chair or table is often the only 
indication that the figure is in a room ; or a short oblique projected 
shadow of the legs that it is not hovering in the air. The empty surface 
is for the most part disposed diagonally in a darker and a lighter half, 
standing in contrast with the luminous treatment of the head. Or else 
a heavy crimson curtain is let down, again diagonally, occasionally afford- 
ing a ground for the head, but also at times suspended horizontally and 

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Velazquez as a Portrait Painter. 257 

falling on one side, thus enclosing a three- or four- cornered dark surface 
as a setting for the figure. 

This extremely simple style of conventional environment had to be 
renounced in the hunting and equestrian portraits, which transformed 
Velazquez to a landscape painter. Excluding replicas, about a dozen 
such pieces are extant ; and to these must be added the similar surround- 
ings in the toper and hermit scenes. On the scenery of these pieces is 
mainly founded the master's reputation as a landscape painter, although 
such prospects were invented exclusively with a view to the figures, and 
although certain characteristics are common alike to all. 

In such cases contemporary painters were wont to degrade the land- 
scape to a mere framework for the figure, or sacrifice it altogether. They 
brought the figure from the shade into the light, constructing for this 
purpose a special distribution of the light ; the effigy thus appears in a 
studio light, the landscape as a twilight- or night- piece, which scarcely 
attracts attention. 

Now Velazquez asks himself the question, May not the concentration 
and unity of interest in the figure be reconciled with a landscape back- 
ground of intrinsic worth, beauty and above all clearness ? This question 
presented itself simultaneously with his effort to become independent ol 
s the shading peculiar to his first manner. To the contrasts of light effects 
he substituted those of colour ; he relieved the function of light and shade 
by the contrast of coolness and warmth, thereby safeguarding the unity 
which was often sacrificed to the rich sunny landscapes of the earlier 
artists. In their works Nature stood only in loose connection with the 
figure, especially in the absence of a middle distance. In fact the figure 
looked like an independent picture planted in front of another. 

Velazquez, on the contrary, brought these backgrounds into a well- 
considered system of harmonious and contrasting relations to the figure, 
although so skilfully concealing his purpose that they were often taken for 
simple prospects. Their distinctive qualities were their purely natural 
character and the daylight. 

The scenery is of a rugged nature, mostly lacking those adjuncts 
of living beings, structures or cultivated tracts. On one occasion only 
he consented at special request to introduce a battle-scene in the back- 
ground. On the other hand he deliberately substituted a wilderness for 
some ornamental grounds in an older equestrian picture which had to be 

The motives of this scenery were naturally taken from the neighbouring 
Sierra de Guadarrama, with an elevated foreground, as was usual with the 


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258 Velazquez. 

Dutch painters of highland scenery ; the lofty ranges would else seem 
too oppressive and confining. 

Velazquez generally seeks for some commanding view over hill and 
dale rolling away in the distance. Riders and huntsmen stand on some 
terraced eminence, whence the eye sweeps over a broad ravined valley to 
the towering crests of a distant mountain chain. The foreground falls 
somewhat rapidly through several parallel sweeps down to the lowest 
depression, while the middle distance is broken perhaps by a hill sparely 
overgrown with brushwood. 

The contrast is finely conceived between the hazy valley and the blue 
or even glittering snow-capped summits of the enclosing sierra, where the 
sky-line of the chain gradually sinks from a culminating point on one side 
towards the table-land. Thus here also we have diagonals, near and 
distant lines sloping downwards and intersecting the axis of the line of 
movement of the equestrian group. 

No one will fail to detect the resemblance with Titian's Alpine scenes- 
only this artist's dolomite peaks are thrown farther back ; their blue is 
deeper and duller; the clouds with their firm outlines and white lights 
more substantial, while the cold aerial tone is invariably permeated by 
some warm, yellow-red sunset tints. The contours of the Spanish sierras 
are also grander, simpler, nobler than in those fantastic ruinlike forms of 
the eastern Alps. 

By this method Velazquez, despite his much more confined mountain 
scenery, secured a greater impression of roominess than others with broad 
lowlands. In Rubens' portraits, where the visual point lies little above 
the horizon, the distances are often represented like narrow superimposed 
stretches. At the same time the Flemish landscapes with their moist re- 
fracting atmosphere are more vap)oury, more saturated with light, more 
poetic, when compared with those pitilessly clear and cold blue Spanish 

But the most imp)ortant point is his luminous process. For the hitherto 
prevalent afternoon and evening lights he substitutes that of the morning. 
In his finest equestrian portraits the picture is disposed in two large 
masses, the figure and its stage in a warm yellow, light red and brownish, 
the landscape in a cold blue tone, each relieving the other. In this 
saturated, azure, aerial tone Velazquez comes in contact with the older 
Flemish landscape painters. Carducho who composed his Didiogos on the 
banks of the Manzanares, compares the surrounding district with Paul 
Bril's pictures. 

In this way, despite the all-diffused uniform daylight, our artist was 

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Velazquez as a Portrait Painter. 259 

able successfully to detach his figures bodily from the ground. A local 
colour, such as the chestnut of a horse, remains even in full sunshine 
sufficiently strong to place the figure with full effect in contrast with the 
distant view. But he never sacrificed the truth of the local colour itself to 
such purposes, by giving for instance a warm brownish tone to the face, 
as does Van Dyck. Philip IV/s blonde, whitish profile with a shimmer of 
blue stands out against the azure sky. It would have been easy by means 
of deep shading to contrast the mass of the foreground with the back- 
ground ; but Velazquez does the opposite. A tree, analogous to the columns 
of interiors, almost invariably stands behind the rider towards the frame 
of the picture. But here we have none of those dark, obtrusive masses of 
conventional landscape painters; the tree is painted in the same grade 
of light as the background itself, a slender stem with few branches, 
and crowned with a powdery silver tuft of foliage. Long before Constable 
he made the discovery that Nature knows nothing of your famous brown 
tree^ The earthy colour of the slope in the foreground is further diver- 
sified by a broad whitish stretch, such as a line of sandhills, in the middle 

Both sections of the picture, contrasting in tone, and treated with equal 
care, are harmonized in diverse ways, the lights for instance on the face, 
collar, horse's head, finding their counterpart in those of the clouds and 
mountain tops. 

Over the animated lines of motion is thrown the controlling element of 
absolute repose, as seen in the horizontal lines of clouds across the sky. 

But the system here described never sank in Velazquez's hands to 
mere mannerism. Thus when the horse was white or grey, preventing 
the usual contrast of colours, he gave up the blue background and risked 
a uniform tone, bathing the distant prospect and the sky in a whitish light. 
This is well seen in the two equestrian portraits of Olivares (Prado and 
Munich), which correspond perfectly in design, but in which the landscape 
is difiierently treated in accordance with the different colours of the horses. 

At the same time the equestrian portraits themselves owe much of 
their effect to those various surroundings which accompany the figure as 
music accompanies a tableau-vivant. Remove them in imagination, and 
their own life seems diminished, the poem becomes transformed to prose. 
This everlasting, unchangeable Nature, the breath of these upland valleys, 
which is still wafted towards us as it was towards those long departed 

' Sir George Beaumont once complained that he was puzzled how to place his brown 
tree. Thereupon Constable threw open the studio door, looking on a park, and asked 
" Where the devil do you see your brown tree here?" 

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26o Velaz<^uez. 

generations, sctms to share its life with them also. The view of these 
distant prospects, so soothing to depressed spirits, suits these gloomy 
figures of a decaying race, contrasting as it does with their narrow mental 
vision and range of thought 

In Palomino's bic^raphy there occurs a puzzling notice of an apparently 
lost equestrian portrait of Philip IV., like others in full armour, with name 
age and date 1625. It is here stated that the artist exhibited this ''study," 
painting on it a sheet of papxfr, on which, after hearing and considering 
the judgments, he intended to attach his signature. Such white sheets 
are found, not alone on several of these equestrian pictures. But on this 
occasion the horse had been really censured as ''against the rules of Art," 
only the judgments were so qualified that it was found impossible to give 
them consistency. Thereupon the irritated artist cancelled the censured 
part, but refrained from a second attempt, adding to his signature, instead 
of pinxit, " expinxit.'' In all this the biographer finds two noteworthy points 
— the artist's modesty in correcting his work on the judgment of non- 
professionals, and the lesson taught to critics that their judgments were 
impracticable, possessing at most a negative value, like the opinions of 
political quidnuncs. 

Here the remarkable point is the date, 1625, when Velazquez had just 
completed that large and much-lauded equestrian portrait of Philip. Is it 
likely that he should have immediately afterwards undertaken a second ? 

Possibly Palomino's '* study ** was in fact that first equestrian portrait, 
as Villaamil suggested. In the inventory of Charles II. (1686) this work 
is mentioned as removed from its frame — consequently set aside, if not 
altogether discarded. Velazquez was probably himself no longer satisfied 
with this firstling, and had undertaken those corrections in order to stop 
the mouth of the censurers by a practical proof of improved judgment. 

The incident leads to an important general remark. Very few of 
Velazquez's works in the Prado Gallery are free from important revisions, 
often conspicuous enough to produce a disturbing effect, while nearly all 
have bands of varying width attached to both sides and the top. These 
bands are so uniform that they can scarcely have been intended to repair 
damage by fire or otherwise. As to the revisions, most of them were 
probably made after the works were finished, the object being to bring 
them more into harmony with the altered taste of the times. 

A painter, whose works, like those of Velazquez, were retained to 
ornament residences and State apartments and which depicted the living 
occupants of those places, was naturally in a very different position in 
regard to such works from most artists, who are never again confronted 

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Velazquez as a Portrait Painter. 261 

with their compositions once disposed of to patrons or purchasers. The 
true artist, as was already remarked by Leonardo da Vinci, must often 
feel a twinge at his past performances ; and Eastlake tells us that *' the 
best pictures are but blunders dexterously re-mended " (Materials, i., 90). 
We know also that Titian repeatedly touched up, in fact " re-mended " 
paintings that he kept by him. 

In Velazquez* case the very purpose of the alterations may partly 
be indicated by the modifications of his style from time to time. He 
continually aimed at enlarging and rendering more distinct the space 
towards the sides and in the perspective depth. In the early works, such 
as the Water-Carrier and the Bacchus, the groups are, so to say, packed 
within the frame ; in portraits the head reaches nearly to the upper border, 
while in some of his later works of this class the figure falls below the 
middle of the canvas. In the former the sky is a steel blue without true 
perspective, as in the Vulcan; in the latter the lights of the figures re- 
appear in the landscape. Here the figures receive more elbow-room, 
which Palomino compares to the pauses in music. This free circulation 
of the air between the groups was called respiracion. 

Amongst the most striking retouchings, from which few of his works 
are altogether exempt, mention may be made of those on the portrait 
of Philip (Prado, No. 1071), where the head, in the hard style of the third 
decade, rests on a bust, the armour and scarf of which are painted in 
the freest and easiest manner of later times. 

Reference has already been made to the peculiar condition of the 
portraits of the Three Royal Sportsmen, who, although separated in point 
of time, yet seem to have been all painted with the same brush. In all 
three the landscape is similarly treated, apparently in the manner of the 
fourth decade. 

In the portrait of the dwarf El Primo the head belongs to a very 
early period, and the volume and papers in the foreground are quite 
in the careful bodegones manner ; but the original background, which 
probably represented an interior, has been replaced by a hilly landscape. 

The large equestrian works afford much food for thought. In those 
of Philip III. and of Margaret we have instances of much earlier 
representations by different hands, where, to suit the changed taste, 
Velazquez has repainted the horses and surroundings — parts of the horses 
even more than once. 

While the equestrian portrait of the young prince is altogether, and 
that of Olivares but slightly, retouched, those of the reigning sovereign 
and his queen have been divefsely recast. Such also is the case with 

Digitized by 


262 Velazquez. 

the portraits of the daughter of Henry IV. and her husband, where horse 
and landscapes were apparently afterwards renewed. On the other hand 
the assumption that the head of the Infanta (Prado, No. 1084) is older 
than the other parts, is a mistaken inference from its erroneous title. 

Female Portraits. 

Travellers have often assured us that in scarcely any other land in- 
habited by the Caucasic race are so many beautiful women to be met as in 
Spain. This may be so, although such an ethnological fact is certainly 
less evident in the works of the early national schools of painting. Conse- 
quently in this respect Spanish is the very reverse of Italian portraiture. 

The beauty of Spanish women should neither be compared with that 
of the Roman ladies, nor yet judged according to the standard of 
statuesque forms. They lack the size which Aristotle held to be indis- 
pensable to beauty, what Winckelmann calls " the growth suitable for 
sculpture.'* Instead of this lofty beauty Nature has given them charms 
whose effect is more general, more direct, more lively; such charms lie 
in colour and colour contrasts, in the graceful movements of features and 
body. " What were Toledo's belles," exclaims Tirso, " without their 
grace ? " — under which term {donaire) was also included the charm of 
the voice ; and Calderon expressly declares that the contrast of colour is 
an element of the beautiful. 

But to highly developed epochs alone it is given to paint such 
elements, and then only when the Art of colour and chiaroscuro, the eye 
capable of seizing the imperceptible and transitory movements of features 
arid figure, have reached maturity. Those who bear in mind how late it 
was before Spanish painting arrived at this degree of refinement, will 
understand why the national poets are so often sceptical on this point, 
Calderon, for instance, declares that *' light, fire, sun, air, are not to be 
painted ; " hence asks, " Who shall depict a beauty composed of such 
ethereal elements ? " 

On the reiablos of the fifteenth, and first years of the sixteenth, 
century, an attentive eye may occasionally detect a few female faces char- 
acteristic of the districts where these works were produced. They may 
still be recognized amongst the peasantry, with whom genuine national 
types are always best preserved. But the classic period failed to release 
them from the still narrow fetters of conventional treatment. The fastidious 
taste of the Vargas, Cdspedes, Juanes, Becerras, apeing Italian ideals 
allowed right of citizenship to none but " general forms ; " everything 

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F'emale Portraits. 263 

that savoured of the national or local was voted vulgar by Art circles, 
profane by the religious world. 

Pacheco recognizes with a sneer the natural grace of the Andalusian 
peasant girls, and emphasizes the charms of your golden-haired and 
sapphire-eyed dames. Thus the pearls of beauty were sought, not in the 
rich field of the national elements, but in the works of the foreign classical 
masters. The noble statues of female saints by Montaftes, last of Seville's 
idealists, have even a touch of the antique ; but his Art never descended to 
individual types. Till' far into the seventeenth century national female loveli- 
ness remained for the most part untouched either by painter or sculptor. 

The naturalists first ventured again to transfer to the canvas genu- 
ine Spanish female types, although at the outset with doubtful taste. 
Unprofessional were entranced with the indescribable, melancholy charm 
of El Greco's Toledan women and children ; but he found no imitator. 
Zurbaran's strange Santas, half fashionably, half fantastically arrayed, with 
tiny heads, hard lines and sharp features, are taken bodily from models 
amongst the black-eyed lower classes. Alonso Cano lighted only occasion- 
ally on real beauties; but his pupil Fray Atanasio ("Bocanegra") framed 
for himself an ideal South Spanish type — a fine oval face, large eyes, 
dreamy, and with childlike purity. 

But it was reserved for Murillo to discover the peculiar charm of the 
Spanish race, and its fitness for the highest flights of the national 
religious Art. His pictures are full of real portraits ; his Madonna in 
the Palazzo Corsini, his SS. Justa and Rufina in Stafford House and the 
Seville Museum, show us his models with the least disguise. But de- 
spite his great qualities as a portrait painter, as seen in Don Justino 
Neve's portrait in Bowood, strange to say, of female portraits by him we 
possess only that frivolous and seductive denizen of the Triana now in 
Heytesbury House. 

Now, one might suppose, the epoch of female portraiture had dawned 
at last. But the artists still lacked freedom in the representation of 
beauty. Jealousy formed an ingredient of the Oriental element in the 
Spanish nature. How reluctantly must a contemporary of Calderon have 
permitted a being to sit to a painter, whom nobody could look upon 
with indifferent eyes ! Ladies of rank lived in a half monastic, half 
Oriental seclusion, never appearing on the promenades or at the Corsi, 
as in Italy. Their intercourse abroad was mainly restricted to visits in 
sedan chairs especially to the wealthy nunneries ; even Mass was usually 
attended in the family oratories. 

As, however, European customs had penetrated into the Court circles, 

Digitized by 


264 Velazquez. 

female portrait painting also was tolerated, but still surrounded with all 
kinds of precautions. The originals appear to have been little subject to the 
amiable weaknesses of the sex ; those qualities, which, at least according 
to the poets, constituted one half of the feminine charms, were rigorously 
banished, and the expression of dignity, or cold pride, became the rule. 

Hence it is not very surprising that Spanish galleries contain so few 
passable portraits of women, while the category of ** beauties" is scarcely 
represented at all. Palomino alludes to the custom in France, Germany, 
and Italy (were he writing at present he would have to head the list 
with England), of exhibiting large and small portraits of distinguished 
ladies ** without prudery or disguise," adding that in Spain people were 
much more punctilious. And this he wrote under the Bourbon mjP^ 
(1723). No doubt in the time of Philip 11., when the spirit of the 
renaissance was most potent, fine Court ladies were painted for the Pardo 
Portrait Gallery, but even these are by the Dutch Antonio Moro. Other- 
wise portraits of "beauties" were imported from Venice, for instance; 
and in the Museum is still to be seen a Courtesan by Tintoretto, of which 
several copies have been made. And Titian himself sent to Madrid that 
likeness of his fair Lavinia, adapted however to Spanish taste as Herodias 
with the head of John the Baptist. 

At the Court of Philip IV. also, relieved as it otherwise was from 
many prejudices, our master was not called upon to paint many ladies. 
Is this to be regretted ? No doubt Richard Ford declares that " Velazquez 
was emphatically a man, and the painter of men,"' as if an artist of 
such vigorous characterization could have had no vocation for female 
loveliness. But even in aesthetic questions how often is the a priori 
necessity of a fact demonstrated before the fact itself is established ! It 
was forgotten that his portraits of little girls, such as the Infanta 
Margaret and her associates and his own daughter, are unapproach- 
able, exciting the unqualified admiration of painters, connoisseurs and 
unprofessional alike. And such subjects are, to say the least, not easier 
than full-grown women. 

Still that prejudice is apparently justified by the catalogue of the 
master's extant works of this class. The Madrid Museum has only one 
genuine Spanish female portrait by him, and although there are numerous 
royal princesses, they are merely replicas of a very limited number of 
originals, which moreover belong to a foreign (Teutonic) stock. Few of 
them have sufficient personal charms or mental endowments to awaken die 
observer's interest. 

* Penny Cyclopedia, 1843. 

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The Sibyl. 265 

In the case of Philip's first queen, Isabella of Bourbon, most noble- 
minded of all contemporary women, the artist seemed to have lacked full 
facility for study, as she was an unwilling subject. The second and very 
insignificant Mariana of Austria became yearly more repellent. To the 
fundamental principle of suppressing all appearance of amiability was here 
added a monstrous style of dress, which exceeded everything hitherto 
devised in deforming the human figure. Even Calderon remarked that the 
etiquette and fashion of the times was no improvement to beauty. 

However our master's love of truth by no means tended to soften, but 
rather to accentuate, these elements with a precision more desirable in 
the chronicler than in the artist, and the natural consequence is that his 
ladies' gallery is scarcely calculated to evoke enthusiasm. But was it 
his business to improve Nature after a fashionable formula, in the manner 
of the Mignards and Lelys ? In the presence of such models and of such 
a rigid etiquette must not all Art have felt itself helpless ? Even such 
a depictor of beauty as Mengs has given us in the Electress Maria 
Josepha one of the ugliest female heads that ever wore a crown. With 
better subjects would not Velazquez have shown himself in quite a 
different light? In my opinion this question may be answered in the 
affirmative, if the facts are weighed and not merely counted — that is, if 
we carefully consider the few extant portraits of genuine Spanish women 
known to be by his hand. 

There are three only, and unfortunately all three of unknown persons. 
They are and remain puzzles, only that the unsolved riddles of Art are 
after all clear as noonday, needing no solution. 

The Sibyl. 

The only Spanish lady in the Madrid Gallery, and the earliest of the three, 
is the so-called Sibyl (No. 1089 ; size, 0*92 x 0*39 m.). It is first heard of 
in the St. Ildefonso inventory of 1774, where it is described as a woman in 
profile holding a tablet. That it represents the artist's wife is possible, but 
not yet shown to be probable, for a resemblance can scarcely be detected with 
any of the women in the Vienna family picture. 

The portrait is remarkable as the only instance in which the painter has 
selected a profile more of a plastic than pictorial character. The lineaments 
of this profile are less beautiful than interesting, more full of character than 
pleasing, but in any case purely Spanish. The clear straight open brow, 
such as recurs in all the following portraits, combined with the large deepset 
eye calmly gazing into the distance, imparts to the features the breath of 
intelligence. Its serious cast is enhanced by the shadows over the forehead 

Digitized by 




and eyes caused by the light coming from behind. Is it the glance of the 
artist or the seer? Unfortunately the tablet which should have answered 
this question is a blank. 

The grey gown and yellow mantle are of almost ideal simplicity. Hence 
she would seem to have wished herself represented in some poetic character, 
perhaps after the model of some classic work known to her, just as Domeni- 
chino, for instance, painted his fair Maria Sibylla as St Cecilia or the Cumaean 

Sibyl. Only one can scarcely 
recall a representation of the 
Sibyl in the severe sculp- 
turesque style of this Spanish 
dame, who seems in the middle 
of her twenties, when, accord- 
ing to Lope, southern beauties 
began to fail. 

But with all this simplicity 
of treatment special attention 
has been paid to the hair, 
which seems to betray the 
artist; only in this respect 
what Spanish belle is not an 
artist ? The rich black frizzly 
mass is rolled up above the 
forehead like a natural diadem, 
and covers part of the cheek. 
Behind, it is gathered up by 
a kind of netted yellow band 
from which a wide green end 
falls down the back. The finely-modelled neck is encircled by a string of 
pearls and a narrow frill. 

The picture is painted on a yellowish-grey ground, with a free broad 
touch in smooth, thin colours. The grey tone, as well as the profile which 
painters regard as insufficient for the likeness in portraits, agrees well with 
the character of reserve impressed upon this noble figure, which is turned 
from the light and from the observer. 

Lady with a Fan, 

This enigmatic Sibyl peering into space is followed by a figure, which 
on the contrary gazes with almost disturbing effect on the spectator. The 
Lady with a Fan was sold at the Lucien Bonaparte sale (1861) for £^1^ 


Digitized by 


Lady with a Fan. 


passing afterwards to the Aguado Gallery, where a very unsuccessful steel 
engraving was made. At the Aguado sale (March 1843) i* was bought for 
1,27s francs by a Mr. Moran, apparently acting for Lord Hertford, and it 
now adorns the gallery of Sir Richard Wallace ; size, 36^ x 27 inches. 

"There is no other painting that better represents both Spain and 
Velazquez," said Thor^, who saw it at the Manchester Exhibition. 

Here are the eyes of a Juno, small delicately-shaped snub nose, warm 
glowing carnations, well-formed cherry-red mouth, long full neck with string 
of dark beads, but at too 
obtuse an angle with the 
bust; hair brushed back 
from the somewhat hard 
forehead, and then brought 
round in soft brown locks 
to the cheeks. Thus she 
stands, turned to her right, 
looking front, and grace- 
fully holding the hem oi 
the black lace mantilla high 
up on her bosom. This 
manto was one of the most 
*' killing" articles of the 
Madrilena's wardrobe, often 
cursed by husbands and 
fathers, once even denounced 
by the censure of a royal 
edict (1639). By its means 
they could, with a simple 
movement of the dainty 
little fingers, either com- 
pletely veil themselves or 
coquettishly show just one eye, or else, as here, enframe in sombre black 
the loveliest of bosoms, thanks to this low cut olive-brown dress. 

Besides the quite dark or deadened contrasts of the attire, the narrow 
crimped hem of the chemisette (as Titian recommends) serves to give a still 
warmer tone to the southern complexion, the freshness of which is secured 
by an unusually rich impasto, ^ 

The hands are concealed in loose light grey leather gloves, with lace 
cuffs ; but besides the beaded necklace no jewels. The right hand holds the 
fully unfurled fan, which is turned to the observer like an eloquent hiero- 


Digitized by 


268 Velazquez. 

glyphic. On the left arm hangs the many-coiled rosary with its bluish bow. 
Thus we have here the three dumb instruments, of which every Spanish 
belle is a perfect connoisseur, the mantilla and fan for action, the rosary to 
mask the attack, for she is now in her " war paint." The glance of the 
brown eyes is proud, almost hard, a strategic glance, which under outward 
coldness conceals impatience and passion. It conveys a question, if not an 
ultimatum. Here is the moment for a bold word; hesitate an instant 
and she will never forgive you. 

Who is she and whence comes she? Probably from Mass in the 
Vitoria, the ** ladies' parish," as Tirso calls it, from which it is but a step to 
the Calle Mayor, ** where love is bartered by measure and weight." 

Or she might suit the popular avenue of the Prado ; only the painter has 
indicated nothing, merely giving her a greenish-grey background. Is it one 
of those Circes, for whom the jeunesse done of those days " went to the 
dogs ? " — or a Toledan flirt of the comedies, one of those who on receiv- 
ing the holy water ^ flashed back a glance that turned the heads of cavaliers 
on the eve of their wedding ? A maze of coldness and fire, of bigotry 
and worldliness, of pride and coquetry, or worse? 

Of our unknown there is another portrait, which seems more representa- 
tive and less motived than this. Since the middle of the last century it has 
been in the Duke of Devonshire's Chiswick House collection (size 28 x i8i 
inches). The chief difference lies in the dress, which is of richer, more costly 
materials, especially lace of brighter colour, yet more quiet and aristocratic. 
The plain black mantilla has been exchanged for one of rich lace, whose hem 
cut in floral pattern encroaches more on the face. She wears a pearl 
necklace and a lemon-coloured silk gown, with black lace volants on under- 
skirt and sleeves. On the other hand the bosom is covered by a white lace 
collar, and instead of the elegant fan the right hand holds a meaningless 
handkerchief. But the large gloves have been forgotten, and yet the hands 
are by no means ''five-leaved lilies." Although merely sketched, they are 
strong, which for a Spanish lady of quality means much. 

Possibly this richly-arrayed figure served as an experiment, the results of 
which were turned to account for the other portrait. The canvas seems cut 
very close. 

Juana de Miranda, 

Lastly, an authentic portrait of a very elegant lady is figured in the 
third picture, which has lately passed from the Dudley Gallery to the 

^ It was the fashion for gallants to stand at the font and hand the holy water on the 
tips of their fingers to the seftoras passing in and out.— Translator. 

Digitized by 


Juan A de Miranda. 


Berlin Museum. Of the two large female portraits now in this museum 
the last arrival is certainly the more attractive. Its pedigree goes no 
farther back than the collection of Sebastian Martinez in Cadiz, although 
not mentioned by A. Ponz in his description of that place. In the year 
1867 it was purchased by Lord Ward of Dudley from the Salamanca Gallery 
for ninety-eighty thousand francs (size, 1*37 ^ ^ ^")- 

The figure stands out very plastically from the light grey ground, almost 
in the form of two super-imposed cones, with the conventional pose and 
gestures of the portraits of the royal princesses. The shape of the far- 
thingale and the hair are 
also in the same fashion, 
which lasted from the third 
to the fifth decade of the 
seventeenth century. She 
has the easy attitude of 
refined culture, although the 
proud bearing, the firm 
grasp of the arm of the red 
chair, and the expression 
seem to betray more charac- 
ter than is seen in the royal 
ladies. In the quick glance 
of the brown eyes and the 
play of the mouth there is 
something sprightly, exult- 
ing, even roguish, at variance 
with the cold seriousness 
of highborn dames. ** The 
gentlemanliness of the 
painter is reflected, so to 
say, in the picture ; its re- 
finement, its freedom from affectation, appear in the absence of anything 
like self-consciousness on the part of the sitter, so that we infer the 
perfect mastery and consummate ease with which the artist worked."^ 
And surely the lady herself must have been well pleased to be so depicted ! 

The features, expressive of a resolute character, are marked by a high 
straight forehead, large orbits toned by bushy eyebrows and shadows ; 
deepset eyes, not large but intelligent, of the same colour ; depressed nose, 
with "pert up-turned tip ; finely-shaped, long and very firm mouth ; full 

* AthencBum i., p. 118. 


Digitized by 


2/0 Velazquez. 

round chin, cheeks with the faintest tinge of red. The rather broad pro- 
portions of the head are somewhat balanced by the auburn hair towerii^ 
high above the forehead and the locks falling over temples and cheeks. 
This genuine Spanish face would appear to have agreed more with the 
local than with our northern ideas of beauty. Calderon, who has given 
us his ideal in the " Daughter of Air," requires black eyes, but the hair 
between black and blonde, and a large mouth. 

In the left hand, falling by her side and holding a short fan, we see 
the original intention of giving a cur\^e to the wrist hastily concealed 
without a further remodelling of the member, which consequently seems 
somewhat formless. 

The ornamentation is "rich, not gaudy," comprising a diamond rose 
in the hair above the right temple, earrings of three" large pearls, and 
a pearl necklace. The /echugui/laf or horizontal collar, which would 
have here produced a good effect amid so many vertical lines, is replaced 
by a very modest flat collar, answering to the golUla of the male attire. 
She wears a floral, black velvet gown, the under-sleeves and high neck- 
band of blue interwoven with gold stars, the latter further trimmed with 
gold lace. 

Over the dress hangs a long, heavy gold chain, with links of a rosette 
pattern, and supporting a sumptuous jet pendent. On the index and little 
fingers of the left as well as the right hand are three rings with large stones, 
also in rosette-shaped settings. 

As is usually the case, the ground is white with a bluish tinge. Over 
this everything is disposed in three notes ; the clear and lifelike flesh tint, 
with thin transparent brown for the narrow shadows, hair and eyes ; the 
black (and blue) of the gown, and the light grey ground. The brown 
shadows especially point to the fourth decade, and occur also both in the 
portrait of Montafkes and in that of the Unknown Man in the Eh-esden 

On the reverse of the canvas, which, however, has been lined with a fresh 
strip, the name of Velazquez' wife, Juana de Miranda, is said to be inscribed 
in an old style of writing. The only objection to this identification is, 
perhaps, the rich costume. At that time our master's stipend was modest 
enough, and far from regularly paid ; and, although his income may have 
been eked out by private commissions, still he could scarcely have 
afforded to array the daughter of Pacheco in these costly pearl necklaces 
and gold chains. On the other hand, the concurrent titles of the Sibyl 
and his wife on the foreground of the Vienna picture, which might also 
be his daughter Francisca, are unsupported by any evidence. Neither has 

Digitized by 


The Duchess of Chevreuse. 271 

much resemblance either with this portrait, or with each other, while the 
name Miranda itself is of frequent occurrence in the Court of Philip IV. 

Assuredly no one can behold these portraits without a feeling of regret 
that Velazquez should have been prevented by the prejudice of the times 
from leaving us more numerous specimens of his skill in this branch of 
portraiture. From the few still extant we may infer that he was dis- 
tinguished from other noted painters of Court beauties by one quality — 
the absence of that conventionalism which, once accepted by "Society,'' 
becomes impressed on everything, relentless, uniform, unartistic as fashion 

The Duchess of Chevreuse. 

" Guests arrive here daily," wrote a chronicler in 1638, " and more is 
spent on them than on the armies." 

Amongst these was the Duchess of Chevreuse, who filled the times of 
Richelieu and Mazarin with her intrigues. Of a portrait of this celebrity 
the first and only particulars have quite recently been made public. 

Marie de Rohan, successively Duchess of Luynes and Chevreuse, , was 
one of the most fascinating women of the period. Her life was an uninter- 
rupted series of love adventures and cabals. Richelieu hated and drove her 
from the Court because of her inconvenient influence over Queen Anne, 
and, on hearing of the seizure of some correspondence with that princess, 
she fled in alarm to Spain. Here she was well received at Court, where 
people were eager to interrogate the confidante of the king's sister, with whom 
all direct communication had been suspended for some twenty years. 

Olivares especially was impatient to welcome a person of kindred 
sentiment, and after their first interview at Barajas, near Madrid, he must 
have felt gratified at her remark, that "the reality exceeded the fame of 
so great a minister." She made her entry into the capital in December 
1637, and was assigned a residence in the Alba Palace. • 

At the royal hunting-party, held in her honour, at El Pardo, she drove 
by the side of Queen Isabella, with the Princess of Carignan. On this 
occasion we are told that as many as forty wild boars were driven into the 
enclosure, and that the spectacle lasted three hours. 

In January 1638 Velazquez painted her in French costume and style 
of head-dress.^ A fair complexion, blonde hair, animation and grace, 
quick wit, and knowledge of mankind, combined to make this eccentric 
woman a type of the great Frenchwomen of the period. But she would 
scarcely have found herself flattered in the portrait by our master. 

' Memorial histdrico EspaHol^ vol. xiv. 

Digitized by 


272 Velazquez. 

It also appears that Velazquez painted an English lady, whose bust was 
found in his residence in the palace after his death*' 

But what has become of the portrait of that DoAa Juana Eminente, 
which was in the Spanish collection in the Louvre (No. 298; 0-79x0-60 m.)? 
" The eyes of this charmuig Spanish lady — " says the Kunstblatt (1839, 
166) — " do not look, they speak ; the model of the head is surprisingly 
beautiful; a lovely countenance, with winsome mouth, round which plays 
a still more winsome smile." 

Can Palomino have referred to any of these portraits when he speaks 
of a lady "of rare perfection," whose portrait by Velazquez, was a great 
success, and in whose honour Don Gabriel Bocangel composed an epigram 
preserved in the Museo (iii., 334) ? 

Isabella of Bourbon- 

A good portrait of none of the royal ladies of this period would be 
more acceptable than that of Philip IV. 's first consort, the daughter of 
Henry IV. and Mary dei Medici. Her noble and pure character, her capa- 
city for government, the high qualities displayed during the brief term of 
her regency, lastly her fate, raised iier far above all her contemporaries. 

Isabella was two years older than Philip, to whom she was betrothed 
in 161 5. The charming presence of the young queen inspired romantic 
enthusiasm, while her public administration later in life secured the vener- 
ation of the people. In the interval lay long years of obscurity, neglect, 
and coercion. " The best queen and the most lamented on the Spanish 
throne," exclaimed Bossuet in his funeral oration at the obsequies of her 
daughter, Maria Theresa. Fearing her influence on the king Olivares had 
deprived her not only of political power, but also of her husband's heart, 
by diverting his affections to unworthy objects. He gave her his hump- 
backed wife as chief lady-in-waiting, and this virago exercised such vigilance 
over the movements and the very language of her victim that Isabella became 
the object of universal sympathy. She was less free than the humblest of 
her menials, and her feelings as a Frenchwoman were slighted in the rudest 
manner. Yet she took the warmest interest in the fate of the land, and this 
feeling was but embittered by the certainty of being able to give the king 
much better advice than he received from Olivares. 

But when the king went off to the seat of war in Catalonia (1642), 
Isabella was appointed gobemadora (regent), and her administration 
during these difficult times earned for her universal esteem and homage. 

1 Inventory 0/1(361; Documentos iniditos^ 424. 

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Isabella of Bourbon. z^i 

When the " Prince's Regiment " was raised in Madrid she visited the head- 
quarters, addre3sed the men and inspired the apathetic officers with a 
spark of her own enthusiasm. A wealthy tradesman having increased his 
war contribution from ten to fifty thousand ducats received her public 
thanks, whereupon the Countess Olivares openly admonished her against 
making use of such condescending language towards a subject. To this 
Isabella made answer : *' The kings and queens, my ancestors, built up 
this monarchy by courtesy ; through the lack of courtesy shown by you 
and your husband it is going to destruction." Three days after Olivares* 
fall the king visited his sister Margarita, in the Discalceate Nunnery 
and requested her to recommend " his favourite to God that He might 
grant him an enlightened spirit for government." And when she asked 
who might that be he replied, " My favourite 
is now the queen." 

But these efforts brought on an inflam- 
mation, which she felt would prove fatal. 
" I shall come, but not to see," she said to 
the Prior of the Escorial, who had invited 
her to inspect, the grounds which had lately 
been enlarged. The king sent her a set of 
diamonds from Saragossa with the assurance 
that " he valued her health and her life above 
his kingdom." ''Let him not come," she 
sent word in reply, " lest the Catalonian 
expedition be endangered ; " and she added : 

,, XT 1 r ^t_ I • _j rr ^' ISABELLA OF BOURBON. 

" Now I am sure of the kmg^s affection ; 

but this ornament I shall never wear — he will see me again only in death." 
And when the end came, on October 6, 1644, the Venetian envoy Sagredo 
wrote : " She united with the highest statesmanship an indescribable good- 
ness ; she displayed her virtues through a friendliness and benevolence 
which exceeded the traditional customs of Spanish princes, and awakened 
a heartfelt love in all who approached her." 

Spain possesses only one likeness of Isabella, the equestrian portrait in 
the Prado, which had formed a pendant to that of the king at the entrance 
to Buen Retiro. Here it was seen in 1679 by that Frenchwoman, whose 
description is apparently the earliest extant of any work by Velazquez : " Elle 
est k cheval, v^tue de blanc, avec une fraise au cou et un gardinfant. Elle a 
un petit chapeau garni de pierreries, avec des plumes et une aigrette. Elle 
etait grasse, blanche et tr^s-agr^able : les yeux beaux, Tair doux et spirituel." 

Judging from the features she was about twenty-five years old, while 


Digitized by 


2 74 Velazquez. 

horse and surroundings were evidently repainted much later by Velazquez 
himself. But besides our master's style at too wide-apart periods, there 
are also obvious indications of a foreign hand. Everything in the figure 
except the countenance, even the hands, the dress, the trappings reaching 
more than half down the horse's shinbones, are executed in the studiously 
dry manner of the early Court painters without r^ard to perspective or 
free air. On the other hand the head and other exposed parts of the 
grey palfrey as well as the whole landscape were repainted in a very 
clear tone certainly not before the year 1640. 

The superb animal, compared by Palomino to a swan, is ambling 
towards the left. The rider, who turns round, shows no resemblance 
to the well-known features of her father. The face is painted mih 
extreme delicacy and luminosity in the clear reflected light of the broad 
tulle ruff. Specially beautiful are the large brown eyes standing wide 
apart under a somewhat elevated forehead, which is brushed free of the 
finely frizzled brown hair with a white plume behind. The sleeves are 
shown of a white silk jacket embroidered with silver stars, a similarly 
ornamented high neck-band being attached to the heavy, nut-brown, 
gold-embroidered riding cloak, on which her initials are repeated and 
which fall down to the border of the housing. 

The painter has also chosen a white ground tone for the landscape 
— a hilly waste sparsely strewn with scrub and underwood, without a 
single tree or mass of foliage to indicate the foreground. On the right 
is a flat hill, on the left a sloping ravine opening up a vista of wata* 
and a little church with four-pointed tower, a fort with look-out, beyond 
which the hazy hills are scarcely distinguishable from the clouds. 

The majority of Isabella's portraits outside Spain are by pupils work- 
ing under the eye of the master after his sketches, or else with his 
somewhat careless co-operation. Many appear to have been presented to 
foreign Courts during her lifetime. Of all the best claim to originality 
is possessed by the reduced replica of our equestrian portrait which 
came to light about the year 1874 in the Uffizi. Possibly it may have 
been sent to Florence towards the year 1638 with the equestrian portrait 
of Philip IV. now in the Pitti Palace. 

The large figure in Hampton Court appears to have also been sent 
with that of the king and in the same year.* Here Isabella stands before 

' "I shall have the king and queenes pictures for the queene," writes Sir A. 
Hopeton on July 26, 1638 (Sainsbury's Rubens, p., 353). On October 29, 165 1 
during the Commonwealth, was sold, "the now Queen of Spain at length," with the 
king's portrait, for ^40. Mrs. Jameson calls it "a very intelligent face, with an 

Digitized by 


The Two Little Maidens. 275 

the shaft of a huge column, a little dog barking at her. The brown 
wooden tone, looking as if faded, is disagreeable, nor are the hands 
treated worthily. Quite similar to this are the recently discovered three- 
quarter-length figure in the Imperial Gallery, Vienna; and that in the 
Henry Huth collection — in my opinion a better specimen — which was 
purchased for ;£^300 from the Spanish collection in the Louvre (No. 249). 
A youthful half-length figure in a yellow robe with dark flowers was 
acquired by Richard Ford from General Meade's collection (25 x 19 inches). 

In all of these the face of the equestrian portrait recurs, more or less 
modified, with the same earnest and intelligent look. In her left hand is 
the closed fan, the right rests on an armchair, and she generally wears 
a silver-embroidered quilted gown with peaked bodice, expanding like 
a bell and covering the feet, necklace of two or more strings of pearls ; 
colour with spare impasto. 

The portrait in the Christiansborg Gallery, Copenhagen, represents 
her somewhat differently and more youthful. Here the features still lack 
the expression of joyless weariness, the eyes are intelligent and bright, 
the black costume displays to advantage the fine proportions. (No. 427; 
size 81^ X 49 inches). 

Doubtless none of these works do full justice to the queen. When 
asked by the Duchess of Chevreuse for her portrait for her sister in 
England Isabella replied that she was not fond of having herself painted. 
This circumstance perhaps explains the uniformity, the constantly recurring 
brown dress, the lack of animation in these portraits. Was the artist put 
out at having so often to copy the same painting? And why so much 
reluctance on the part of the queen ? Was it because the Spanish Court 
painter's manner of treatment was so opposed to French taste in these 
matters ? 

The Two Little Maidens. 

Good painters of children are highly prized even amongst the great 
artists. Titian, Correggio, Murillo and others, who by common consent 
were specially happy in depicting childlike forms, movements and grace, 
were all endowed with the genius of light and colour. Such artists have 
to learn the art of grasping the impalpable, of unlearning what they 
have learnt with so much study. 

expression of consideration and decision " {Companion to the Private Galleries of 
Art in London^ 1844, p. 307). Hampton Court, No. 90, size 99 x 58 inches. Stirling- 
Maxwell had a miniature of this, an engraving of which appears on the title-page of 
his Ufe of Velazquez, 

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Since the year 1638 Madrid possessed one of the prototypes in this 
department, the Worship of Venus, that wonderful idyll of Titian's youthful 
fancy. This painting had become the standard of the Roman artists, by 
the study of which men like Poussin and Fiammingo sought to recover 
the way to pure childlike nature amid the vagaries of the times. 

It is remarkable that Velazquez was rivalled by few in the soft, easy, 
transparent touch needed for the treatment of childhood, and that some 
of his freshest laurels were gained in the nursery. But this artist of 
powerful characterization was at the same time a master of aerial and 
light effects. 

He probably earned the warmest applause of his patrons by his repre- 
sentations of the little Prince 
Balthasar and his later bom sister. 
The rapture of their fond parents 
and of the Court, attested by 
countless repetitions, is in this 
case shared by posterity. Their 
portraits are still besieged by stu- 
dents and copyists, and the general 
appreciation knows nothing more 
flattering to say of any charming 
little blonde than that she resem- 
bles one of Velazquez' princesses. 

But these were children of 
Teutonic stock, and it may be 
asked why he has given us only 
one of Spanish blood. " The Little 
Spanish Maidens/' says Madame 
d'Aulnoy, "are whiter than ala- 
baster, and so lovely that they are taken for angels, though to be sure 
they change strangely, parched by the sun, turned yellow by the air." 

The two half-length portraits in the Madrid Museum (Nos. 1087, 
id88 ; size 058 x 0*46 m.) are so like, that they would in any case 
be taken for sisters, were they not almost beyond doubt one and the 
same subject. But as the painter had two daughters differing only twenty- 
months in age (born 1619 and 1 621), it would be somewhat surprising if the 
hunters for titles failed to assure us that these were in fact Francisca and 
Ignacia. The year 1626, however, will suit neither the costume nor the 

Of the two the better drawn and more deftly painted, and conse- 


Digitized by 


Celebrities and Obscurities. 277 

quently the later, is No. 1087, holding a lapful of roses. In similar 
attitudes ladies and children ' are seen in park views strolling about or 
seated on the grass. Is this some aristocratic little lassie, whose almost 
sad, pleading look tells us she has no intention of giving up her floral 
plunder? — or is it a flower-girl, who timidly offiers her roses for sale to 
a lady ? Anyhow, as she stands th^re, looking you full in the face with 
large eyes, she is herself the picture of a budding rose. The round head 
and rather short neck resting on high shoulders are enframed by two 
heavy brown plaits falling from the temples downwards. 

The tone of the carnations is distinctly warmer and deeper than in all 
the paintings of royal children and ladies. The nutbrown frock with 
puffed sleeves slashed with grey is relieved by ornamental ties and bows 
of ribbons in the hair, on shoulder, neck, and wrists. 

The second picture (No. 1088) might be taken for a first attempt, 
where, through the child's . restlessness or the painter's hurry, some in- 
correct drawings have t)een made in the position of eyes and mouth. 
The hands are held apart, and the bow on the breast is white and red. 
But however this be the painting can by no means be taken for a 
study from which the first was finished. Its genuinely childlike expres- 
sion lightly touched off and the traces of growth lead to the inference 
that the first also was taken from the life, perhaps some little time after 
the other. 

Celebrities and Obscurities. 

Above so many contemporary writers, whether already consigned to 
oblivion or still known to fame, one man, Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas, 
towers head and shoulders. His words at least have still a living force 
for the modern Spaniard, who no longer entertains anything more than a 
distant sentiment of patriotic veneration even for such a name, for instance, 
as that of Calderon. 

It might seem as if beyond the Pyrenees there was a general dearth 
in the seventeenth century of that hardening of the brain, whence spring 
statesmen and captains, thinkers and discoverers. But as a protest against 
this assumption stands the name of Quevedo (born 1580 in Burgos), 
probably the greatest intellect of the period, although even he did not escape 
the contagion of the general decadence of morals and good taste. In his 
heart fully sympathizing with the old national ideas, he was still thoroughly 
at home amid the surrounding actualities of every order. With one hand 

Digitized by 


278 Velazquez. 

he scattered great truths, some now uttered for the first time; with the 
other he painted, with a brush Zola himself might envy, the foulest dr^ 
of Spanish Society, as well as the turbid secthings and riotous storms of 
his own undisciplined heart 

He depicted himself as " a man of honour born unto evil ; a person 
of birth, to become a man of as great powers as weaknesses, of good 
understanding and feeble memory ; poor of sight and results ; consigned 
to the devil, pledged to the world, delivered up to the flesh; large of 
eye and conscience ; black-haired and black-fated ; of lofty brow and 
thoughts." As he also limped (they called him el diablo cojuelo) we ha\'e 
the elements of the satirist as complete as could well be wished. In 
the pitilessly crushing bitterness of his scorn, as well as in his powerful 
intellect he resembles Jonathan Swift, as he also does in his shipwrecked 
life, only that in his case misfortune came from without alone. The Dean 
of St. Patrick's missed the goal of his ambition thanks to a tolerably 
harmless allegory on Church parties, which happened to offend the feelings 
of Queen Anne. Qucvedo, whose gran tacano was spiced with frightful 
blasphemies, never seriously awakened the suspicion of the Inquisition. 

His portrait, although absent from the company in the Prado, on which 
in his day he threw such a sharp, often such a lurid, light, still exists, 
truer in colour and tone than that of any other contemporary poet In 
Don Aureliano Guerra y Orbe's careful biography the numerous engraved 
likenesses are critically discussed, and all traced back to a small and feeble 
medallion by Juan de Noort on the copperplate title-f)age of the Pamaso 
Espaflol issued in 1648. On this sheet, drawn but not designed by Alonso 
Cano,* the poet is being crowned by Apollo in presence of the Nine 
Muses, and a satyr lying in a cave points to the medallion, which Guerra 
thinks the most authentic portrait of Quevedo. 

Why should all engravers before the time of Carmona have given us 
nothing but more or less free copies of this poor medallion, which was 
drawn two years after Quevedo's death, and which is only I 36 inch high ? 
It is difficult to understand how they could have remained ignorant of 
Velazquez' original portrait, which never left Spain till the present century, 
which was described by travellers and often even copied. This original itself 
is the source of the small medallion, and it is no secret that its present 
resting-place is Apsley House. Lately a still older and finer engraving, 
quite different from the medallion, was supposed to have been discovered in 
one also by Juan de Noort standing before that of the poet, Epicteto 

' D. J. A. Inv. ^^^ luan de Noort Sou. 

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Celebrities and Obscurities. 


y Phocilides (Madrid : 1635). But this is merely the sheet in the 
Carderera collection (now in the National Library) mentioned by Guerra, 
which also reappeared in the Antwerp edition (engraved by Clou wet), and 
the authenticity of which is questionable. 

The Velazquez described by Palomino (Museo iii., 333) was in the last 
century in Don Francisco Bruna's collection, Seville, where it was seen by 
Twiss.^ A rough copy hangs in the National Library, Madrid^ and a 
similar replica, formerly in 
the Yriarte Gallery, was 
acquired by Jos^ Madrazo, 
and is known from a litho- 
graph by Camaron. The 
small spectacled head in the 
La Caze Gallery (No. 28) 
ascribed to MurtUo, is an 
excellent portrait, but not of 

To the poet, who was 
an admirer of Velazquez, is 
due the earliest known testi- 
mony to our master's excel- 
lence by a distinguished pen. 
It occurs in the Silva {Par- 
naso)f where Velazquez is 
mentioned immediately after 
the great Italians, and where 
all the distinctive notes are 
touched upon, which later 
writers have discovered in 
his paintings. Such are : quevedo. 

Truth, not merely resemblance ; perspective and fulness, softness of 
carnations, animation, accuracy compared to that of the mirror, mastery 
of technique, unblended touch. 

Our original cannot have been painted after Quevedo's last confinement 
in the underground dungeon of St. Marcos, near Leon (1639-43), whence 
he emerged a broken man. It dates from the time of his prosperity, 
perhaps when he was secretary to the king in 1632. It is a powerful, 

* " An original portrait of Quevedo, with spectacles, by the same Velazquez. A fine 
engraving, by Carmona, of this picture is inserted in the 4th vol. of the Spanish Parnassus^ 
— Travels in Spain ^ p. 308. 

Digitized by 


28o VeLAZ(,)UEZ. 

massive head covered with abundant hair, turned a little sideways, painted 
on quite a dark brown ground, which becomes somewhat lighter above the 
right shoulder. The colour is perfectly uniform, of a cool, coppery tone, 
similar to that of the iCsop and Menippus. 

Quevedo has left us in his poetry a detailed humoristic description of 
his outward appearance as the mirror of his inner man, and this description 
agrees altogether with our portrait. The brow is high, the strongest, 
broadest light being concentrated on the upper middle part ; broad bosses 
also ascend obliquely from the root of the nose, and he was rather proud 
of his broad open forehead with its two horizontal scars — iesiimonio de 

The eyes lie here behind the large round glasses of horn spectacles 
whose frame projects a shadow on the face. For this sharpsighted 
observer had been afllictt^ with intense shortsightedness since his university 
years in Alcaic, where he took the theological degree in his fifteenth year. 
H** had injured his vision by incessant reading in bed, at his meals, on 
his journeys, when he carried about in a leather pouch a hundred ver}' 
small volumes, some in Oriental type. 

**The eyes were large, round and open, clear as crystal," says Lerma; and 
were by himself described as at once **dim and bright." Behind the glasses, 
as N\e here see, they have a fixed, cold, steady, penetrating stare, and the 
painter has apparently distinguished this stare from the somewhat aristo- 
cratic side-glance which he elsewhere usually reserves for persons of 
rank. It is the look neither of poet nor philosopher, but rather of the 
politician, of the man of the world piercing through outward show to the 
motives concealed behind words and actions, a look calculated to embarrass, 
and accompanied by a touch of contempt, just as in the mouth itself are 
expressed scorn and defiance. 

Owing to the light reflected from the glasses he seems to emerge from 
a deeper and darker background. Despite his observant gaze, his whole 
features and pose of the head betray a certain combativeness, something 
of the swordsman as well as of a person quick at repartee. For he lacked 
the qualities neither of physical nor moral courage. Although when the 
occasion served a master of irresistible flattery and of diplomatic reserve, 
he was still of an outspoken temperament, possessing, through experience 
and vast knowledge, a right of uttering the truth such as mere freedom of 
speech and of the press is apparently incapable of imparting. That such 
a man could hold his ground at Court till his sixtieth year shows that 
there was at least nothing petty in the despotism of Philip IV. 

The black wavy hair, contrasting with brownish eyebrows, falls full 

Digitized by 


The Sculptor Martinez Montanes. 281 

and loose on both sides of the face, covering the ears, but rolling up above 
the forehead, and already revealing a few silver threads. The head rests 
on stout shoulders and a very high chest. The inflated nostrils enable the 
observer to read between the lines the man's true character, which it must be 
confessed is somewhat masked behind these apparently expressionless features. 

This restless, fiery character comes more to the surface in the remarkable 
terra-cotta bust in the National Library, the authorship of which has long 
been an unsolved puzzle. Although generally referred to Alonso Cano 
it shows not a trace of this artist's plastic manner. In my opinion it is 
the work of an Italian, and was probably brought back by Quevedo himself 
from Naples. It has something of the spirit of Lorenzo Bernini's heads, 
while its free Italian treatment contrasts with the reserved if not cere- 
monious manner of Spanish portraiture. It is the only instance in which 
Velazquez shows to disadvantage by the side of a contemporary treating 
the same subject. 

The bust has neither name nor signature, but is easily identified by 
the scars on the forehead. The likeness also is obvious, although the 
expression is somewhat different — less firm and defiant than that of 
Velazquez' portrait. It is the head of a man, whose life had no settled 
purpose, whose writings were pamphlets for the hour, whose poems were 
'* occasional pieces ; " a man, who in exile and in prison spun out long- 
winded treatises on some biblical or classical text, whose chief work in 
fact as well as in name resembled Dreams, a wreath of fancies strung 
loosely together; a man whose eye peered out into the infinite, but who 
like the helmsman in the storm catches glimpses only of his star between 
the clouds, and who at last makes shipwreck on the rocks. 

The Sculptor Martinez Montafles. 

In the year 1636, when Philip IV.'s equestrian statue was in progress, 
the already aged Sevillan sculptor, Juan Martinez Montanes, was summoned 
to Madrid to prepare a plastic model of the head for Florence. Although 
no mention is made of such a model in the voluminous correspondence 
between Madrid and Florence on that great work, and although there 
is no record of a bust of Philip larger than life in Italy, the fact is 
placed beyond doubt by the petition of September 19, 1648, addressed 
by Montanes to the Board of Trade for both the Indies discovered by 
Cean Bermudez in the archives of that Court. 

In the terms of this document the sculptor was invited by Philip 
*^ to prepare an effigy of His Royal Person, which was to be sent to 

Digitized by 


282 Velaz(^uez. 

the Grand Duke of Florence who had requested it for the equestrian 
statue. In consequence of this he had abandoned house and business 
and spent over seven months at Court, and also executed his commission 
so much to His Majesty's satisfaction that the effigy was forthwith 
despatched to Florence." 

The king, whose treasury must just then have been at the lowest 
ebb, had in lieu of fee given him an "order" on the Sevillan Tribunal 
of Commerce for a merchantman to be chosen by himself from the 
Indian fleet, which was to trade with America on his account But as 
no such ships had long been available, he had been kept waiting twelve 
long years, and now in his old age, encumbered by a large family and 
in needy circumstances, he was still petitioning in vain. He died soon 
after, and ten years later (1658) his widow at last succeeded in negoti- 
ating the order with a trader for a silver ingot worth a thousand crowns. 

The summons to Madrid was probably due to Velazquez, who had 
known the artist in Seville, and hearing from Pacheco of his poverty 
was no doubt glad of the opportunity to do him this service. 

In the year 1877 I had already conjectured that the portrait in the 
Madrid Museum bearing the name of Alonso Cano might really be that 
of Montartes. Doubts had already been expressed regarding the old title, 
which had been engraved with the head on the banknotes for one 
thousand pesetas. The aged Cano had quite a different appearance — long, 
haggard face, retreating forehead with high bosses above the eyes, 
languid yet still passionate look, delicate mouth, as figured in the only 
reliable crayon in the National Library, Madrid. ' These traits agree well 
enough with Cano's well-known restless, vehement, quarrelsome character, 
whereas ours is the head evidently of a very grave person. 

Moreover this portrait of an old man could have been painted at the 
earliest in 1656, when Cano had again returned from Granada to Madrid, 
in order to solicit the king's favour in his litigation with the Cathedral 
Chapter. But this date does not harmonize with the bust larger than 
life which the sculptor is in the act of modelling. And although the 
outlines of this bust are merely suggested with a few rough touches, 
the characteristic lines of Philip IV.'s head with the hair as worn about 
his thirtieth year cannot be mistaken. Nor should we overlook the 
animated turn of the face, which in fact distinguishes Tacca's equestrian 
figure from nearly all other effigies of this king. 

* The engraving in Stirling-Maxwell's Annals (ii. 780) from the Spanish collection 
in the ^Louvre represents an old clerg>'man, while the head in the Hermitage (353) 
is altogether different. 

Digitized by 


The Sculptor Martinez Montanes. 


My conjecture, which had also occurred independently to P. Lefort/ 
became a certainty when I soon after saw Varela's portrait of Montanes 
in the Seville Academy. For here, allowing for the changes due to a 
lapse of over twenty years, the unalterable substratum of the features 
is quite the same; only the hard, even harsh forms have been softened 
by age. It is noteworthy that the right hand with the modelling style 
is drawn precisely as in our portrait; but the left holds a statuette, or 
rather a sketch probably of a penitent St. Jerome. 

To Velazquez' portrait gallery should therefore now be added the 
most famous master of estofado sculpture in Andalusia. Montanes, who 
had already in 1607 executed a Bambino for the sagrario of the Seville 
Cathedral, and who called himself 
"old" in 1648, must have been 
approaching his sixtieth year when 
this likeness was taken. 

The painting has been referred 
to the last years of the master, 
probably to bring it into accord 
with Cano's age. Its unfinished 
state also gives it a seeming resem- 
blance to the so-called third manner. 
The lightly applied brown ground 
of the narrow shadows has been 
left untouched, while the texture 
of the canvas may also be detected 
through the yellowish and reddish 
flesh tones. Nevertheless these 
luminous parts have such a sunny 
brightness, and the modelling is 
so unsurpassable, that the artist 
may be said to have suspended 
already gained his object 


his work because he found he had 
The aged sculptor is represented modelling 
with his boldly sketched hand the bust, which is itself suggested with a 
minimum of lines on the priming. Thus on this canvas everything is 
being developed, and in every stage of development, for there are 
parts, such as the black costume, which are perfectly finished. 

That right hand is assuredly after Nature, rapidly executed with a 
brush saturated with colour. Four fingers hold the style, the little finger 
being left free and distinguished by a rich serpentine streak of light. 
' Gazette des Bcaitx-arts, 1882, ii., 409. 

Digitized by 


284 Velazquez. 

Although so simply treated few hands are more expressive than this; 
it quivers with life. The searching eye ieams its forms from Nature, 
chronicles them as it were ; we feel that this modelling activity of the 
brain will be presently set free by the impulse of this modelling hand. 
The left rests on the crown of the bust 

The head belongs to a type frequently met with in Castile ; on one of 
the first days of my arrival in Madrid 1 myself saw its double in the 
Variedades Theatre. Here we have a broad, finely arched forehead; thick, 
bushy, close-set eyebrows, overshadowing small eyes standing somewhat 
apart ; prominent cheekbones ; bridge of the nose broad and slightly 
depressed. The grey hair (mustachio and imperial almost white) is 
already very thin, especially over the brow. In these features we read 
the labour of a long life, the fruits of which are still so completely 
preserved in those numerous works in Seville and the provinces, works 
which for nearly three hundred years have realized for the people of 
South Spain the ideal of their national saints. 

The man impresses you with a sense of confidence, and even of 
dignity. The head agrees altogether with the impression derived from 
his statues ; we see that he was neither an observing nor a very 
fanciful artist, but an idealist endowed with noble taste, full of respect 
for tradition, a man of steady industry and genuine Spanish sentiment. 

The artist wears a loose black coat with leather girdle and a black 
silk cloak, scarcely a suitable working dress unless the sitter were some 
very distinguished person. Since the time of Titian and other Venetians, 
sculptors, in this differing from the painters, were fond of being depicted at 
work, holding a statuette and surrounded by plastic objects. Spain also 
had a good exemplar of this sort in the portrait of Pomj)eo Leoni with 
the marble bust of Philip If. and the chisel by El Greco. This work 
was in Sir W. Stirling-Maxwell's country seat at Keir in 1879. 

In most cases one is puzzled to know what the sculptor is doing ; 
but in the portrait of Velazquez we see it at once. Here the artist 
is represented in his most characteristic occupation, absorbed in his 
model. Apart from the attitude of the arms, the pose differs little from 
that of other portraits, where the subject is unoccupied. 

Cardinal Borja^ or Borgia, 

In 1636 a Spanish cardinal returned to Madrid after a twenty-tveo 
years' residence in Rome. Like all his fellow-countrymen he had very 

' Borja is the original Simnish form of the more familiar Italian Borgia. — ^Trans. 

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Cardinal Borgia. 289 

reluctantly quitted the Holy City and his prospects there. The reception, 
however, which he received at Court was doubtless calculated to sweeten 
the bitterness of — shall we say his exile ? 

Caspar Borgia y Velasco, son of Don Francisco Duke of Gandia, was 
born at Villalpando in Leon in 1582, and at the request of the king 
raised to the cardinalate by Urban VIII. in 161 1. The Dukes of Gandia 
were descended from Don Juan, eldest son of Rodrigo Borgia, and the 
family had given to the Church two popes (though, to be sure, one of them 
was Alexander VI.) ^ and one saint, the third general of the Jesuits. 

This was the St. Francis Borgia, whose departure from the world 
has been such a favourite theme with Spanish painters. After the 
canonization, when his body was solemnly consigned in 1625 to the Casa 
Professa (Mother House) in Madrid, Khevenhiller tells us that the bier 
and banners were borne by forty-six members of fourteen princely 
houses, branches of the Borgia stock, and that in the evening a mask 
tournament was held, in which nearly all the company were either blood 
relations or connected by marriage with the descendants of the saint's 
family. The ex-Minister, and now Cardinal, Lerma had borne the standard 
on which was embroidered the Borgia escutcheon, the ox, and over it 
the name of Jesus, with the legend: Ut poriet nomen meum ("To show 
that God had already entrusted His Church to two members of this 
House"). All will here recall the prophecy of St, Vincent Ferreri, Ter 
mugiet bos (" Thrice the ox shall bellow "), which according to some was 
fulfilled by this canonization (two popes plus a saint), while others still 
looked for a third successor of St. Peter from the House of Borgia. 

Cardinal Caspar, at that time residing in Rome as " protector " of the 
Spanish crown, would appear to have adopted the latter interpretation. He 
was highly esteemed for his sound judgment, revered by the people, and from 
his princely munificence known as '' Father of the Poor." But, although 
Giustiniani vaunted his "exquisite discernment, tact, and talent," others 
thought less of his endowments, and Cardinal Zapata sneered at the restraint 
he vainly imposed upon himself with a view to the tiara. The trait most 
conspicuous in his public career was energy of will, stooping to rudeness, 
and at times even to pettiness, combined with undoubted personal courage in 
defending the interests of the State. These seemed to be the only qualities 
still left to Spanish statesmen at a time when the wisdom, the military genius, 
the enterprise and the organizing faculty of former days had fallen into 

* The other was the feeble Calixtus III. (Alphonso Borgia) who reigned from 1455 
to 1458. — Translator. 

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In the history of this period Borgia's name is first heard in the year 1620. 
when he was entrusted with the delicate mission of removing Osuna from the 
government of Naples. The difficulty of the undertaking lay in the circum- 
stance that the cardinal had neither received full powers, nor had the duke 
been recalled by the Crown. 

As viceroy of the ** Two Sicilies " Osuna had inspired the highest respect 
for the Spanish fleet throughout the Mediterranean, reviving the memories 
of Lepanto. But he had earned universal hatred by oppressive imposts, 
alienated the nobles by his high-handed bearing, and so compromised himself 
by his scandalous life that the Court was no longer able to lend him any 

countenance in the face of the open 
hostility of Venice and the com- 
plaints daily arriving from Naples. 
Hence the necessity of removing 
him, but, as Borgia understood, with 
as much consideration as possible 
for his personal feelings. 

In the consciousness of his great 
name and services Osuna was con- 
vinced that by determined action he 
could hold his ground against the 
irresolution of the Madrid Cabinet. 
He was credited with the foolhardy 
project of setting up an indepen- 
dent principality in Naples. Any- 
how by underhand dealings he had 
so acted on the Neapolitan populace 
that in the spring of 1620 they 
rushed through the Toledo thorough- 
fare shouting, * 'We'll have no regent 
but Osuna ! " The nobles, fearing plunder and arson, fortified their palaces 
and armed their retainers. Borgia's letter announcing his approach he tore 
up, exclaiming, " I am Don Pedro Giron, and will let all know what I can do 
in Spain ; " adding that he hoped to pack Borgia off in a ship to his diocese of 

But Borgia, remembering how Mendoza had disposed of Cardinal Granvella, 
resolved to outwit him, surprising and crushing him by the accomplished fact 
of his own assumption of the supreme power. Coming to an understanding 
with the Governor of Castel Nuovo, in Procida, he repaired secretly to 
Nisida, and thence to the Castello ; and when everything was ready an hour 


Digitized by 


Cardinal Borgia. 287 

before sunrise the guns of the forts and the church bells announced the 
arrival of the new viceroy, Osuna starting from his slumbers hastened to 
the Castello to hear that Borgia was already in possession. That was a 
sudden fall to find himself in a moment forsaken by all. 

When Borgia reported to Madrid the bloodless solution of this dangerous 
crisis he ventured to read Philip III. a severe lesson, laying the blame on his 
shoulders, and admonishing him in future to look better to the public admini- 
stration, else similar and worse complications were sure to arise. This 
presumption, as well as his ignominious treatment of the otherwise renowned 
viceroy Osuna, induced the Duke of Uceda forthwith to remove Borgia 
himself, his government lasting only six months. 

His name became still more widely known in connection with the famous 
protest (1632) against the Anti-Spanish and anti-imperial policy of Urban 
VIII., a protest in which the conflict between this patriotic pope and 
Ferdinand II. found its dramatic turning-point. When Urban refused to 
grant the subsidies, or to exhort the Catholic powers to join in the struggle 
for religion, as was pretended by the Imperialists but by him denied ; that 
protest was drawn up at a gathering of the cardinals of the Spanish party, at 
which the imperial ambassador was also present. The document which had 
to be read in the Consisiorio by Borgia, as protector of the Spanish Crown 
and head of the party, concluded with the words that he protested on the 
part of his Majesty, with all dutiful submission and reverence, that for 
whatever harm might accrue to the Catholic religion through the pope's 
wavering policy the blame must fall, not on a most pious and obedient king, 
but on his Holiness himself. It was at the reading of this declaration on 
March 8, 1632, that at the word " cunctatur'* Urban interrupted Borgia, 
calling on him to stop (iace) and even to withdraw, while the pope's nephews 
threatened to take the law into their own hands. 

Henceforth Urban fostered a feeling of deadly rancour against Borgia, 
whom he reproached with base ingratitude, but whom the position of royal 
envoy protected from his vengeance. The nunzio in Madrid vainly urged 
his recall, and was flatly told that the Kings of Spain had never sacrificed to 
Rome a servant who had incurred her hatred through his zeal for the 
interests of the State.^ Thus Borgia continued three years longer to endure 
with Spanish phlegm the wrath of his Holiness, never failing to meet his 

* Once when the papal notary wanted to publish an apostolic rescript, which 
trespassed too closely on the royal privileges, Quiroga, Vicar of Alcali, snatched the 
document from his hands and tore it up. When summoned by the pope to answer 
for his conduct in Rome, he was protected by Philip II., and ultimately rewarded by 
promotion to the primacy of Spain. — De Pisa : Descripdon de Toledo (Toledo : 1619) 
i., 267. 

Digitized by 


288 Velazquez. 

bitter taunts with a dignified retort, and "cutting" his nephews in the 
Corso. For Urban nothing remained but to cut the knot by the bull Sanda 
SvftodiiSf which required all bishops, under the severest canonical penalties, 
to reside in their dioceses. Borgia, who was already Cardinal-Bishop 
of Albano, in vain expressed his willingness to resign the see of Se\ille, 
for just then (1635) Philip IV., needing his services, recalled him to 

Here he was laden with honours. But then the wealthy cardinal's name 
stood at the head of the list of contributors towards the heavy expenses 
of the war, and during the king's absence in Aragon he formed with the 
grandees, a Junta del Rey (regency) under the presidency of the queen. 
Here also he remained true to his character, and advised sanguinary 
measures to stamp out the Catalonian revolt. But while winning the 
hearts of the Court ladies by a lavish distribution of sweetmeats, fanq 
vases, and other gallantries, he found himself unable to cope with the 
haughty canons of Seville. He got to loggerheads with the Chapter over 
the appointments to the prebends and on the weighty question of titles, they 
insisting on vuestra seHorta, while he would condescend to nothing beyond 
a poor vuestra merced. Thereupon these reverend gentlemen complained 
to the king that he was arrogant and inexjDerienced, a mere tool in the hands 
of his father-confessor, an ignorant friar, and consequently incompetent 
to administer his diocese. They even went farther, and on the occasion 
of a diocesan synod the rural parish priests one night stormed his palace 
and smashed his furniture, while he thought it well to sleep through the 

At last in the new year, 1643, Philip raised him to the highest 
ecclesiastical dignity in the kingdom, which had already been given by 
Philip II. also in recognition of resistance shown to the Roman Curia in 
the interests of the State. The new primate accompanied his thanks with 
a substantial gift of fifty thousand crowns in hard cash, which "came in 
very opportunely." 

As the '* chair " of St. Ildefonso, Toledo, ranks in Spanish opinion next 
after that of St. Peter, Borgia may have accepted it as some compensation 
for his shattered hopes. But he enjoyed it only three years (ob. 
December 28, 1645), though he had still the satisfaction to survive the 
fall of the Barberini. '* 11 Signor Condestabile," wrote Ameyden, " reached 
Genoa and Cardinal Borgia entered Paradise, the better pleased that he 
had first seen the downfall of the Barberini" {Diary: September 15, 

The vanity of earthly greatness seems towards the end to have over- 

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Cardinal Borgia. 289 

come him. In his last will he left twelve thousand ducats for an altar with 
chaplaincy before the image of Our Lady of the Star in the cathedral, 
under which he wished to be buried. The tomb bears no inscription, and 
is indicated only by a glittering gold cross. 

The Chapter of St. Ildefonso possessed a portrait, which he probably 
presented on his induction, and which was intended to take its place in 
the long line of Toledan prelates kept in the Winter Hall of the Cathedral. 
But it was now decided to hang this above the unomamented tomb, and 
have another made for the portrait gallery. Here the new painting 
remained till the outbreak of the war of independence in 1808, when it 
was removed for greater safety to an ante-chamber in the underground 
office of works {pficina de la ohra y fdbrica). Owing to this circumstance 
the portrait, which was unknown to the early writers, has remained 
unnoticed by all biographers. 

A replica agreeing in all details was formerly in the Borgia Palace at 
Gandia. This cradle of the extinct family still survives, and by a strange 
fatality has passed with the title to the Dukes of Osuna, descendants of 
the cardinal's deadly enemy; but the stately building, dating from the 
fifteenth century, has by them been left in a sad state of neglect. The 
portrait was here seen by Palomino, and appears later to have been 
acquired by Cean Bermudez, passing from him to Salamanca and finally 
(1867) for twenty-seven thousand one hundred francs to the Stadel Institute, 

A third exemplar in black dress, a hasty one, apparently a studio painting, 
is owned by Mr. Walter Ralph Bankes, of Kingston Lacy, Dorset, and is 
said to have been given to one of his ancestors by a Duchess of Gandia. 

The Frankfort work excites more confidence than the Toledan, in which 
the tone of the face is fresher and more ruddy without the yellowish lights, 
while the shadows are grey and but slightly softened down. The red of the 
cap also is richer. Both the thick priming, whence incipient exfoliation, and 
the use of glazing are unusual. 

This portrait is the only known specimen of the Spanish hierarchy left 
us by Velazquez. 

For the date we are left the choice of any time between 1636 and 
1645, ^^^ cardinal having returned to Spain in his fifty-fourth year. From 
its appearance one would feel inclined to refer it to the end, but from its 
style rather to the beginning, of this decade. It is the lean head of an 
elderly man with delicate ossatura, thin grey hair on the temples, very thin 
grey imperial leaving contour and shadows of the chin to show through, wide 
mouth, tip of the nose reaching far down. In the firm, penetrating glance 


Digitized by 


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4- X 

^ ,r ,, 

* »• ■■ 1 -• 

^- '* * ." .-f- ^. : 3 :*"^r.i£i.'.tri -nor- -r^^w :t -si 

' " '^ - -«t, wmltr a yellowish tinge 

'- vr..:f-r '" .-: p^ ro a;^^ ^^ ^^ hit off ic 
,^ *"'-"'' ^•■^* -.-:-.-> -as h*^n acrompiished with mud 


'*^=^ us U^ ^,^Uxt th<: 

i?«^naily in the half-tones, 

•^>''U .loak i^ . "" ''^^'^' "^'^'^'^ "' '*'•' ^^^vas. The red of the 

Digitized by 


Duke of Modena. 291 

only in the folds, and becoming almost quite pale in the applied 

The St. Charles Borromeo in Stafford House attributed to Velaz- 
quez, is a spirited little Italian work, apparently produced at Rome. 

Francis d'Estc^ Duke of Modena. 

Six months after the visit of the Duchess of Chevreuse, Francis d'Este, 
the young Duke of Modena and Reggio made his appearance, and he 
also was granted the favour of a sitting to our artist. As this well- 
preserved portrait is one of those bearing a correct date, a few words 
may be acceptable on its personal associations. 

Francis II. (born 1610, ob. 1658) was the son of that Francis who, 
in 1629, exchanged the crown for the cowl. Spain and France both 
sued for his alliance, and his states lay so near the Spanish domain 
that it had long been a principle of the Italian Council on no account 
to allow his troops to be employed in other interests. With this object 
a' pension of fifteen thousand ducats was assigned to the house of 
Este — paid, however, with Spanish punctuality ! 

In the war of the Mantuan succession the young duke had done good 
service in the cause of Spain, and in order to cement the alliance Olivares 
urged him to visit Madrid, the Modenese envoy. Count Fulvio Testi, cordially 
co-operating. ''Great things are pending," mysteriously remarked the 
Minister ; " the duke is the only princely person to be employed. He is 
young and ambitious, and the world is out of joint." They wanted to 
get a near view of him, to take the measure of his capacity and intelli- 
gence. " Nothing venture, nothing have," wrote Testi to the duke, while 
Giustiniani was announcing his speedy arrival, " to solemnize the sacrifice 
of his thraldom " to Spain, and this was the common feeling of the 
Italians. He himself hoped to get rid of the Spanish garrison in Correggio, 
and secure the emperor's support in his dispute with the Roman Curia 
about Ferrara. 

At last the duke, who was to be won over by a high post in the 
fleet, landed at Barcelona on August 26, 1638. After a delay of eleven 
days at Alcald pending a settlement of the nice point of etiquette whether 
he was to be addressed as Highness^ to which he laid claim, or only as 
Serenity at which the grandees drew the line, he set out for the capital, 
and soon after entered Buen Retiro escorted by Olivares and a brilliant 
cortege. The king gave him a very cordial reception, and he generally 
produced a favourable impression, the people declaring he was a Spaniard 
because of his black hair. " He is really of fair aspect," wrote the Tuscan 

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envoy, " tall, of jovial mien, friendly, animated, frank." The aged Duchess 
Olivares " worshipped him." 

Now followed the usual round of festivities, and it was remarked that, 
as a special favour Philip invited him to the grand hunting-parties at 


Balsain, an honour shown neither to the Prince of Wales, the Duke of 
Parma nor the Elector Neuburg. Through his prowess in the chase, the 
young prince earned the king's esteem, and quite conquered his heart by 
his unfeigned admiration of Philip's pet creation, the Torre de la Parada, 

Digitized by 


Duke of Modena. 293 

Philip himself showed him over the Escorial, and on the feast of 
St. Michael took him for a drive through the capital, seizing this occasion 
to ask him to stand godfather to the Infanta Maria Theresa, future Queen 
of France, who was just then to be christened by Cardinal Borgia in 
the Palace Chapel. 

Then he received the chief command of the Cantabrian and Atlantic 
fleet, ^'a fantastic title" accompanied however with a stipend of fourteen 
thousand ducats. Lastly a chapter was held of the Order of the Golden 
Fleece, when the highest decoration at the disposal of the Court was 
conferred on the duke jointly with the crown prince. Had they but 
foreseen that eighteen years later he would be strutting about Paris 
in this '^ golden pelt!" 

Amongst the costly presents given and taken, special mention is made 
of the diamond ornament presented to the duke, which took the form of 
an imperial eagle, consisting of thirty-seven large stones and valued at 
eighteen thousand ducats. On the reverse of the eagle was a miniature 
of the king inserted by Velazquez — ** so like and beautiful,** wrote Testi at 
the time, "that it is certainly a thing of wonder." What has become 
of this ornament which Testi ascertained from trustworthy sources had 
cost the king altogether thirty-three thousand ducats ? 

"The duke," Palomino tells us (Museo iii., 331), "highly honoured Diego 
Velazquez and praised his rare gifts ; and when Diego painted him, much to 
his satisfaction, he generously rewarded him especially with a rich gold 
chain, which Velazquez generally wore, as was customary, on feast days in 
the palace." 

At the time when the Marchese Campori wrote his book about the Este 
artists, this portrait was unknown, and in Paul Lefort's Lt/e of Velazquez 
(1888) it is said to have disappeared. Nevertheless since 1843 ^he Modenese 
Gallery contained an undoubted original by Velazquez representing the young 
duke. In that year it had been purchased as a Van Dyck for three thousand 
lire by the historical painter and curator Adeodato Malatesta from Count 
Paolo Cassoli Lorenzotti. It is conjectured that a predecessor, the secretary 
of Duke Rocco Lorenzotti, had bought it from him. 

The portrait really gives the effect of a likeness hastily taken during the 
short intervals between the continual round of festivities. Many would call 
it a sketch ; but this sketch, especially in the colouring, is made from the final 

The head is disposed in the usual way facing right with the glance 
directed towards the observer, and across the armour is thrown the red 
scarf. So completely had the duke comformed to the taste of the nation, 

Digitized by 


294 VKLAZtjUtV.. 

with whom he was a guest, that but for the data his portrait would be 
Uken for that of a Spaniard. But, as it is, this proud, somewhat scornful 
air, the riLh, lo*»se, highly friz/led black hair falling in wax-es over the right 
side of the forehead, the still thin upturned mustachio, the golilla^ the 
Golden Fkxce, all pr^^Krlaiin the pliant Italian, the bom actor. The tip 
of the ni>se pri-jt-cts ixrrtly forward, while the chin recedes behind the full 

Ihe head has a certain youthful, unaffected air, with an expression which 
according to the thtn standard seems scarcely courtly. It shows a genial 
carelessness, a studied simplicity ver\- different from later portraits painted 
in the French taste, where he looks colder, paler, more refined. 

The face, originally pointed almost without shadows, is now much 
darkened by Yami^h. 

This reminiscence of his Spanish vtl lei ties may have later been looked 
upon askance, which would account for its disappearance from the ducal 

But besides this work intended for the duke himself, another on horseback 
was taken in hand for the king, who wanted an equestrian portrait, probably 
in memory' of their common hunting parties. The duke had left him a team of 
eight sut>erb black NeajK'litan horses, as mentioned in a letter of November 
21, 103S, from which we alsc) gather that he wanted a copy of the eques- 
trian portrait, ** but by the hand of the painter who is doing the original." 

It is not to be sup^x^sed that such a work would be entrusted by the king 
to any b;;t Wla/qv.e/, and we tind that in point of fact he was engaged in 
the spring of ic^39 on a p^'rtrait of the duke. ** Velasco," writes Testi, on 
March 12 of that year, *' is dting the portrait of your Highness, which will 
l>e admirable. But he has the failing of other excellent artists, that he never 
finishes right k^ and never tells you the truth. I have given him one 
hundred and fifty pitccs of eight on account, and the price has been arranged 
by the Marchcse Viigilio Malvezzi at cne hundred doubloons. He is dear, 
but does well, and ctrtainly his p^^^rtraits I regard as not inferior to those 
of any other of the most farce us old or modem painters. I will keep 
him up to it" 

But the duke, having soon after fallen away from his allegiance to Spain, 
this work was apparently allowed to drop out of sight. In 1647 he openly 
declared for France, and the lii'esize equestrian portrait in the Sassuolo 
Palace is in French costume, as is also that given in Litta's work, w*hich was 
in the possession of Count Valcntini, of McK^ena. 

Of our master's later relations with the Modenese Court, mention will be 
made when speaking of his seo^rd Ital:a:i journey. 

Digitized by 


Admiral Pulido. 295 

Admiral Adnan Pulido, 

But where are the figures of those Spaniards, whose courage and cruelty, 
haughtiness and genius for maladministration made them the terror of the 
nations ? On the whole the works of Velazquez smell less of powder than 
might be expected from the period in which he flourished. The most 
brilliant types of Spanish captains and governors, the Legan^s, Ferias, 
Moncadas, Bazans, Mirabels, Colomas, must be sought in the iconography of 
Van Dyck. Of the numerous figures brought by the boisterous times for a 
moment to the surface, but few found their way to the Court painter's studio 
and although one of these was a grandee they were mainly nobodies. 

Unquestionably the most interesting work of this class is the portrait of 
Admiral Pulido, one of the extremely rare pieces that Velazquez has signed 
and dated. This fact enables one to form some conjecture as to the circum- 
stances of its origin. The year 1638 had been so prolific in events, that the 
ensuing twelve months were entirely absorbed in their commemoration, and 
amongst the plays produced at Buen Retiro on this occasion one was entitled 
" The Victory of Fuentarabia." 

Richelieu's attempt to shift the operations to Spanish territory by seizing 
a frontier stronghold — and, of all places, in the unconquered land of the 
Basques — had thrown Court and public into a perfect ferment. The blow, 
said the Jesuit Joseph Moret, acted like a sudden thunderclap on a man 
sound asleep. Since the time of Charles V. no hostile force of any strength 
had invaded Spanish soil ; hence ^^ throughout the whole land nothing was 
now seen or heard but warlike notes, the raising of recruits, the formation of 
companies and squadrons, marching from province to province, but all 
directed on the province of Guipuzcoa. The city of Madrid was transformed 
to a great enlisting ground and place d^armes, through which daily passed 
brilliant, well-equipped troops, levied by towns and nobles." 

The result of the siege of Fontarabia, conducted by land and sea by 
Cond^ and Archbishop Sourdis, of Bordeaux, seemed scarcely doubtful. The 
place had been taken by surprise, and was so little prepared for a siege tha 
the Admiral of Castile had to throw in a few hundred men to put the garrison 
on a footing of defence. The Spaniards had also suffered some heavy losses, 
such as the burning of their fleet, the death of the commander Miguel Perez, 
and the destruction of a bastion, which rendered an assault possible at two 
different points. But they were allowed time to entrench themselves in 
the breaches, while the bickerings between Cond^ and the archbishop exposed 
the French camp to an attack, which ended in a general stampede, Cond^ 
saving himself by wading to a boat. 

Digitized by 


296 Velazqukz. 

This brilliant exploit, which took place on September 7, 1638, caused 
boundless jubilation in Madrid, and was celebrated by great rejoicings, which 
coincided with the visit of the Duke of Modena. 

A certain captain, Don Adrian Pulido, had especially distinguished 
himself on several critical occasions during the course of the siege. He was 
a Madrilefto, and we can well picture to ourselves how during the festivities 
all eyes were turned on him as the mirror of Castilian heroism. He had 
been wounded in the sortie of August 8, when Perez fell ; when the Queen's 
Bastion was blown up on September i, he stood in the breach for six hours; 
and was again wounded in the head during the last sanguinary assault of 
September 6. If this Don Adrian be identical with the person of the same 
name who afterwards became admiral, it would be difficult to imagine a better 
opportunity than the present for his promotion to such a position. The king 
decorated him with the Cross of Santiago, and our Court painter doubtless 
painted few others with such pleasure as he did this Don Adrian. 

Such would therefore appear to be the origin of that portrait, of which 
Palomino gives us a detailed account. *' In the year 1639 he made the 
picture of Don Adrian Pulido Pareja, a native of Madrid, Knight of the Order 
of Santiago, Admiral of the Fleet of New Spain, who about that time was 
here transacting various official matters with His Majesty. This portrait is 
life size, and is amongst the most famous painted by Velazquez, on which 
account he put his name to it, which he otherwise seldom did : LHdacus 
Velazquez fecit; Philip, /K, a cubiculo, eiusque Pictor^ anno 1 639, This 
excellent picture belongs at present to the Duke of Arcos."* 

Such an inscription, the authenticity of which, however, might need 
testing, is found on the portrait in Longford Castle, Wilts, which is said to 
have been acquired by a former Earl of Radnor some time befere the year 
1828. The legend, which stands rather high up on the left side, runs thus :-- 

Did, Velasq^' Philip, IV^ a cubiailo 
ciusq^ pidor 1639. 


where the name, in Roman capitals, has been added by a later hand. 

Palomino tells us that " the king one day, paying his customary xisit to 
the painter, mistook the picture for the admiral himself, and rebuked him for 

' Museo pictorico, iii. 331. With this may be compared the signature of the lost 
Moriscos : IHdaais Velazquez Hispalensis. Philip. IV. Regis Hispan. Pictor ipsiusqut 
iusu fecit, anno 1627 ; ibid. p. 327. 

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Admiral Pulido. 297 

tarrying in Madrid when he had been ordered away. Perceiving his mistake 
he addressed Velazquez with the words : 'M assure you I was deceived." 

Is such a deception possible ? We know that Vasari tells a similar story 
of Titian's Paul III., with his two nephews, which when placed on a terrace 
to dry in the sun deceived many, who did homage to his Holiness. Vasari 
speaks as if he had himself witnessed the occurrence {Lives^ xiii., 35). The 
king's words have rather a false ring, and the anecdote may perhaps have 
grown out of some smart saying, such as Verdad, no pintura — common enough 
in those days. In point of fact, so far as vigour and life are concerned, the 
portrait takes a very high place even amongst Velazquez' works. By means 
of his well-known processes he has here achieved a rare success. 

In accordance with earlier methods the light yellow-grey ground — darker 
above, and without any relation to the limits of wall and floor — has been 
specially prepared with reference to the black velvet costume. Don Adrian 
stands a little to the left, his glance directed towards the observer, legs again 
brought close together, feet almost at a right angle. The colour is applied 
more freely than usual, the otherwise rarely employed dazzHng white patches 
on the deep lace collar, flowered satin sleeves, plumes, bows on the knees,, 
accoutrements, helping the illusion. 

Nor is there anything of the courtier in the attitude, for he stands bolt 
upright like a soldier before his commanding officer. He is a broad- 
shouldered, robust person like Murillo's figure of Andres de Andrade in the 
Northbrook collection. We see at once that he is not the man to hesitate 
about risking his own life or that of others in the deadly jaws of a 

The browned face with gleams of white light belongs to a not uncommon 
Castilian type, of which this, however, is an exceptionally stout, sturdy, grim 
specimen. The thick black shady eyebrows, very bushy and nearly meeting 
above the nose, the perpendicular wrinkle right in the middle of the forehead, 
the uptwirled mustachio -the whole enframed in an abundant mass of black 
hair parted on one side and profusely crowning the defiant head, bespeaks the 
dauntless soldier as he stood on the ramparts of Fontarabia, as he will yet 
stand on the quarter-deck of the admiral's ship in the hottest of the fight. For 
he is the man who may be trusted to stand to his guns to the last ; and who, 
if it comes to that, will coolly apply the match to the powder magazine. 

Both hands wear the yellow leather gloves, the right holding the 
admiral's staff, the left a very broad-brimmed felt hat, the underside turned 
outwards. On his breast is the red, gold-hemmed scarf and the red- 
enamelled decoration of the Order of Santiago. 

According to Palomino Velazquez executed this work with brushes of 

Digitized by 


298 Velazquez. 

unusual length, in order to paint with greater force and effect, standing at a 
distance. It appears in fact to have been very broadly treated with more 
fiery \ngour than delicacy. Still Waagen detects " careful execution," while 
Thor(3 is reminded of Titian. 

Yet this work bears the same date as the Crucifixion. They are the 
opposite poles of his Art — a notable instance of how the genuine artist 
can lend himself to any subject, and keep his hand at all times free from 

A corresponding figure of the admiral had already passed in 1 8 18 into 
the possession of the Duke of Bedford, by whom it was placed in his country 
seat, Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire. Only here instead of the small ellip- 
tical medallion he wears a large red Cross of Santiago sewed to his doublet 
1 can detect no foreign hand in this work, which may well be a contem- 
porary replica by the master. But this would apply to the figure alone, 
for the whole environment, which originally was probably left as empty 
as in the first exemplar, was filled in at least twenty-two years later at the 
request of the then owner. 

Here the admiral stands before a wall, from which a red curtain hangs 
on the left down to the level of his shoulders. The brown floor is scored in 
broad polygonal cracks, and to the right the view opens on the sea with a 
naval engagement The sky, blue on the horizon, is overcast higher up with 
heavy clouds. All this betrays the hand of an inferior artist, who has also 
introduced the shield with the name* en the left below, the place it often 
occupied on portraits o( the period, as, for instance, the Spanish Capuchin in 
the Prado. This was probably done on the occasion of its removal to some 
large portrait galler>\ A collection of famous captains was possessed by the 
Marquis of Legam s, whose title was inherited by the Altamiras, at the sale 
of whose etVocts in 1833 a portrait of Pulido was included. Is this the same 
that is nuntioned with that of his wife in the sale of the Aston Hall 
paintings in iSco ? 

T/a- CoitNt of Bi'uavtnte, 

The only jx^rtrait of a soldier p^^ssessed by the Madrid Museum 
is that o\ Don Antonio Alonso Pimentel, ninth Count of Benavente 
(1-9 0S8 m.)* He was the ^^n of the famous Neapolitan viceroy, 
Pon Aloni^o, who died in 1621. Khevenhiller calls him ''a distin- 
gv.ishtxi Christian sub'tct, who rendered many services to the king, and 

> ••. // AV. /.V n I :: %^ /\ ; a /y. i (;././*»* ^.v*^.;/ dV U Anmsda y Flcia de 
mu^ia F.sfKi*u2 /V.Vi- ;. i'* 'a (;*.:*.;..• Jr ,\j \sir:\i IVrif Cnts l66a~ Size of the 

Digitized by 


The Count of Benavente. 299 

left fourteen children, fourteen grandchildren, and three great-grand- 
children, all living," The old renown of the name of Pimentel was 
revived by this posterity; no other family supplied the king with so 
many brave officers, or so freely shed their blood in his cause. In 
Calderon's Siege of Breda Vicente, brother of our Don Antonio, enters 
with one thousand horse from Lombardy ; Don Garcia, Don Alonso, 
and Don Diego, three other brothers, had all died in the king's service; 
and now in the Catalonian War (1542) the Count of Luna, son of Don 
Antonio, had joined the king's forces with a company of eight hundred 
men raised on his father's estates. 

Don Antonio himself, however, has left no brilliant record behind him, 
and despite his illustrious name, may be included amongst the "Obscuri- 
ties." He passed most of his days in the family seat at Valladolid, where 
he gave grand entertainments in the house of the Jesuits. After the success- 
ful Portuguese revolution the king appointed him governor of the frontier 
— a distinction, however, of which he was again deprived the following 
year (1642), much to his disgust. 

Don Antonio's portrait shows his sound constitution which, from the 
above family records, the Pimentel stock must evidently have enjoyed. 
He is a man whose well-knit frame and youthful carriage belie his fifty 
years and grey hairs. From a high, broad, finely-arched forehead and 
black bushy eyebrows springs a short, broad-rooted nose of the duckbill 
type, while a white mustachio covers an apparently long upper lip. 

This healthy face is solidly painted in a perfectly clear, soft, warm 
tone, with greenish-grey half-tones. The effect of the burnished steel 
armour damascened in gold is produced with broad sweeping strokes of the 
brush. His right hand rests on the helmet which with the baton stands 
on the crimson table-cloth, reflecting the red scarf. Turquoise may be 
distinguished in the chain round his neck. 

The luminous head rests against a heavy dark red velvet curtain. 
Sky and land to the right are a waste, greenish-blue surface. 

Like several others of the period this portrait also has a Venetian 
cast, and later passed even for a Titian. It bore this name when it was 
in the possession of Isabella Farnese, adorning the royal ante-chamber iji 
St. Ildefonso. 

Portraits of Unknown Persons. 

The Munich Pinakothek would appear at present to possess but one 
apparently genuine portrait by the master. This is the young, still 
beardless cavalier, with his left hand on his sword, and right arm 

Digitized by 


300 Velaz<^)Uez. 

planted against his side.* It is a noble specimen of the race — long head 
with short, square almost vertical forehead, glowing brown eyes, aquiline 
nose — which the obliquely projected shadow seems still to prolong; rather 
prominent under-lip. 

Although the brush traces the contours only sketchily, the artist's 
intention is unmistakable. It is perhaps the portrait of a friend, not 
carried out beyond what was just needed to realize the effect. The 
earthy-brown ground ser\'es without further addition for the empty back- 
ground, which below is so carelessly covered with grey that open spaces 
have remained here and there on the contours; the same ground serves 
also for the leather gloves, for one end of the golilla and for the shaded 
side of the face. 

Nevertheless this unfinished production is readily distinguished by the 
clear, true carnations in the luminous parts from similar hastily executed 
works of the period, as well as of the present time, painted as if with 
tobacco-juice. Its condition affords little means of determining the date. 
Possibly it belongs to the period before his first visit to Rome. 

Besides the Quevedo and the Pope, Apsley House possesses a third bust 
(No. 159), which was formerly taken for a portrait of Velazquez by himself, 
although the form of the head is quite different. The charm of this pale, 
aristocratic, somewhat lean though youthful face lies in the unity and 
rapidity of the first cast and the subsequent spirited treatment of light and 
shade. The head stands very fully out from the dark brown ground, which 
is somewhat lightened on the averted and shaded side of the figure. 

F'ew portraits have been modelled with such broad, scarcely toned light 
and shade surfaces. Thus, for instance, the line of the bridge of the nose 
on the quite uniformly coloured cheek is indicated by no adventitious aids, 
yet all the forms are clear. 

Palomino mentions several portraits of courtiers, for whose possible 
identification, however, no trustworthy data are now available. Amongst 
them were those of Don Nicolas de Cardona Lusigniano, and Pereyra,. 
Knight of the Order of Christ — the latter "very celebrated," and "painted 
with unusual mastery and skill." He also speaks of portraits of Don 
F^ernando de Fonseca Ruiz de Contreras, Marques de la Lapilla, Knight 
of Santiago, and of the queen's confessor. Fray Simon Roxas, painted at 
his death in 1624. 

In the Dresden Gallery there is the protrait of such a Knight of 
Santiago (No. 698 ; size 065^ x 056 m.), an elderly gentleman of aris- 

* No. 1 293 ; size 089 x 0*68 m ; from the Dusseldorf Galler>\ 

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The Marquis of Castel Rodrigo. 301 

tocratic appearance. The gold breast-chain perhaps bore the little shield, 
the red cross of the Order being indicated with a few broad touches 
on the cloak. The hair, already turned grey, painted in a strong 
light, speaks of past years of trouble; but his present full-bodied appear- 
ance seems to indicate that he has now exchanged the hardships of 
the field for a comfortable seat in some royal council chamber. 

The bust is interesting, as in its unfinished state it shows the painter 
in the middle of hi& work. The head is again sketched on a clear 
ground in light brown, and then uniformly treated with a medium flesh 
tone, the skull itself being apparently included. Then the elaboration 
was begun, when the work must have been interrupted for a somewhat 
lengthy interval. The hair, and even both sides of the mustachio, are 
in strikingly different colours, which would seem to point at two sittings, 
between which the original had turned grey. When retouched a fresh 
clear tone was applied to the face, where the spared locks, eyes and 
whiskers may clearly be seen. Possibly it may be due to chance that 
under this process the eyes, especially the lustreless right eye, have 
acquired an inflamed sickly look. Perhaps the modelling with grey half- 
tones was to have been worked into that clear carnation, which being 
omitted, forehead, cheeks, temples, neck formed a somewhat empty, feeble 
surface. They might possibly raise a doubt as to the authenticity of 
the work, but only if it had to be regarded as a finished production 
of our master. 

The Marquis of Castel Rodrigo. 

Room may here be found for a problematical portrait, which has hitherto 
remained unidentified. This is the Marquis of Castel Rodrigo in the 
palace of Prince Pio of Savoy at Milan, where it traditionally passes for 
an original by Velazquez. The signature Velazquez p on the arm of the 
chair may certainly be more than doubtful ; but the figure of the ancient 
Portuguese nobleman and the painting of the face would scarcely seem 
to need such an attestation. At least on my first visit to the palace in 
October 1880 I at once singled it out from the ancestral portraits, as 
bearing the cachet of our master ; Giovanni Morelli, the eminent connoisseur, 
also regards it as genuine. 

The three-quarter length figure, neither tall nor of powerful frame, 
is turned to the left, but with a searching glance on the observer, in 
black silk doublet and cloak by a chair also upholstered in black. The 
right hand holding a letter rests on the arm; the left witn extended 
index finger lies on the hilt of his sword. About the nape there is 

Digitized by 




a trace of the droop of old age, and the scalp shows clearly through 
the thin white hair. The complexion is very pale, the eyebrows dark, 
and mustachios imperial white. 

Delicacy and clearness of modelling, combined with vivid characteriza- 
tion and the air of authority, could scarcely be expressed with simpler means, 
or so much physical and mental reality imparted to any human figure 
with so little colour and shade. The aged statesman, his venerable head 
resting on a white ruff, stands in unshaded light on a perfectly clear 

empty ground, with only a 
slightly shaded triangular 
space in the lower left 

The glance, through 
which the man's person- 
ality works with the wonted 
magical effect, as if in a 
focus, and which is accen- 
tuated only by small dark 
points, tells of a long life 
passed in affairs of State, 
a life accustomed to com- 
mand and to closely obsene 

No other known portrait 
by Velazquez equals this 
in its clear tones; but 
it would be in accordance 
with his practice to at- 
tune the whole with refer- 
ence to the white of the 
grey hair. So full of 
expression is it that one feels irresistibly inclined to infer the nature 
of the man from this feature. I had myself the satisfaction, after con- 
structing his character on this foundation, to find it later substantially 
confirmed in an extract from the report of the Venetian envoy, Girolamo 
Giustiniani, for the year 1649, At the same time it must at once be 
added that the hand of Velazquez is not everywhere apparent in this 
picture. The ground, the dress, even the hands, too vigorous, plump, and 
smooth for such an old man, must have been either repainted or added 
by another artist. 


Digitized by 


The Marquis of Castel Rodrigo. 303 

According to the escutcheon in the upper right comer the work must 
at an early date have already passed for a portrait of Don Manuel de 
Moura, second Marquis of Castel Rodrigo ; for these are the arms of the 
De Moura family, united with those of Corte Real, the name of Don 
Manuel's mother. He is also indicated by the shield of the Order of 
Christ, conferred on him by Philip IV., when he resigned that of Alcantara 
in favour of Olivares. 

The chronologies both of the artist and statesman might also render 
it possible to assign a probable period to the portrait within somewhat 
narrow limits. From 163 1 to 1648 Don Manuel was entrusted with 
foreign missions, and during these seventeen years never came in contact 
with the painter till the beginning of 1648, when he returned to Madrid. 
The portrait represents him too aged to have been painted before 1631 ; 
and as Velazquez set out for Italy in December 1648, returning in the 
summer of 165 1, the work must have been executed either in 1648, or 
during the second half of 165 1, Don Manuel having died on January 28, 

The count had been received at Court with unusual marks of distinction ; 
over a quarter of a century previously one of the king's first acts was to 
make him a grandee, and his removal from Spain had been the result of 
an intrigue set on foot by Olivares. To reconcile all points, it need but 
be assumed that Velazquez finished the head alone, sketching the rest 
and leaving the canvas to be prepared by others for reception in the State 

The painting has experienced many vicissitudes. The name, which 
stood in the left comer facing the arms, has been partly coated over, so 
that the words Castel Rodrigo alone, without the Christian name, can 
now be deciphered. Rubens also painted Don Manuel earlier in life, and 
had the portrait engraved by Pontius. In that work the head presents 
a somewhat different look from the long and pronounced aquiline nose, 
whereas in our portrait it is almost depressed. On the other, hand other 
traits, such as the form of the long head and the eyes, correspond in both 

Noteworthy is the mff, which since the year 1623 was no longer worn 
at the Court of Madrid. It might lead to the suggestion that the work 
was executed abroad, and this is but one of the many questions and 
doubts in which the portrait is still involved. 

Digitized by 


304 Velazquez. 

The Equestrian Portraits. 

In considering equestrian portraits the first place belongs unquestionably 
to the horse. Velazquez, who in his magnificent hunting-dogs showed 
himself an unsurpassed animal-painter, was also profoundly acquainted with 
the build and different movements of the horse, and was particularly happy 
in depicting the physiognomy of incomparably beautiful and life-breathing 
heads. Nowadays the direct impression produced by these superb creatures 
is somewhat impaired by their strange, heavy forms ; but what enthusiasm 
must they have awakened in the cavaliers of those days ! 

Diego must have already made a study of the horse in Seville, for he 
opened his career in Madrid with an equestrian painting. Doubtless he 
knew by heart the famous lines preserved by Pacheco, in which Pablo de 
Ctspedes describes the Andalusian steed, adding that many artists, who 
might have made a name with much higher things, have established their 
present and future reputation exclusively on their treatment of the horse. 

Animals of the Velazquez type would probably in vain be sought for 
at present in Spain. They differ widely from the Arab, to which the 
Spanish breed is traced, although they really sprang from the Cordovan 
studs. Perhaps the Andalusian was crossed by the Flemish stock, to give 
the strength needed for the heavy armour and trappings. The Venetian 
envoys under Philip II. are full of the praises of these Andalusians, la 
razza del rd. As is evident from a glance at the relative size of rider and 
charger they were small, but well-proportioned, and at that time were 
looked on as the perfection of equine beauty in Europe. William Caven- 
dish, Duke of Newcastle, says of those in his possession that they had 
been models for painters, and made to serve as mounts for kings.* 

But notwithstanding their apparent strength, they were of delicate 
constitution, and being easily heated needed much watchful care. The 
noble animals were highly prized for their swiftness, intelligence, and docility, 
as well as their courage in battle and bull-fights. They had a good 
memory, and were guided more by words than other means, and seemed 
to read the thoughts of their riders. 

Their bulkiness in our pictures is also partly explained by the fact that 
a horse, once ridden by the king, could never again be mounted by others ; 
hence the remark that *' the royal steeds, through idleness, burst of fat in 
the mews." 

* A General System of Horsemanship (\ni\vQT\i \ 1658; London: I743)- 

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Equestrian Portrait of Philip IV. 305 

The Equestrian Portrait of Philip IV, 

One of Olivares' cherished projects in connection with Buen Retiro 
was the erection of a grand equestrian monument to Philip, " the greatest 
king in the world," as the poets proclaimed him. But such an under- 
taking being beyond the resources of Spanish Art at that time, it was 
proposed to entrust its execution to the Italian sculptor, Pietro Tacca, in 
Florence. It was to be a bronze statue after the model of that of 
Philip III., but in which the horse was to be represented as galloping, 
or curvetting, but in any case resting only on his hind legs. 

In the summer of 1635 the work of modelling was in full progress, and 
Tacca now requested a portrait of the king, as well as drawings of the 
costume and armour, in order to reproduce everything accurately. This 
portrait Velazquez had in hand in September 1635 ; but when it reached 
Florence, it became evident that the sculptor had missed the main point, 
and the model had to be done over again. At his request, towards the end 
of 1638 another lifesize portrait of the king was prepared by Velazquez 
to serve for modelling the head, and this was despatched in January 1640. 

This second work, painted in 1639, and according to Ponz^ a half- 
length figure, has not yet been identified. On the other hand the first 
equestrian portrait, executed in 1635, to serve as a complete model for 
Tacca's work, I now think may after all be the well-known small painting 
in the Pitti Palace, although I formerly (1883) questioned this view, misled 
by the commonly accepted but erroneous date of the large equestrian portrait 
in Madrid, of which it is an exact but reduced replica. I am now convinced 
that this cannot be the work executed by Velazquez nearly ten years 
later at Fraga during the campaign of 1644, as described by Palomino. In 
fact the Fraga work is still extant, while the large Madrid picture must 
have been painted about 1635, and consequently its small Florentine replica 
may well* be the work that served as the model for Tacca's statue. 

Palomino nowhere states that the Fraga work was an equestrian por- 
trait, as is generally but wrongly assumed. But he describes Philip's 
costume in that portrait as "a scarlet {encamado) gold-embroidered doublet 
and hose, a smooth leather collar, a short commander's baton of smooth 
wood, a white hat with red plume." Now such an original by Velazquez 
actually exists in two exemplars — one in the Dulwich Gallery (No. 309), 
the other owned by Mrs. Lyne-Stephens, of Lyndford Hall, Norfolk. In 
this fine portrait the king is represented three-quarters length, and about 

» Viage, vi. 109. 


Digitized by 




forty years old, which agrees exactly with the date (1644) of the Fraga 
picture, as he was born in 1605. It is also the only known portrait of 
him in red or scarlet costume, and is otherwise distinguished by its 
gorgeous colouring, and the graceful ease of the attitude. 

Coming now to the large equestrian portrait in Madrid, we find that it 
agrees quite well with the date 1635, when the work was painted which was 
intended to ser\'e as the model for Tacca's statue. 

These features and this carriage are not those of a man forty years old. 
Stirling-Maxwell s|>oaks of him as " in the glow of youth and health," while 


Bermudez and Viardot thought it might be the lost portrait taken in Philip's 
twenty-third year. But the date may even be determined by positive 
evidence. The long series of extant portraits of this king enables us to 
follow the slight changes that took place during the space of over thirty years 
in this face, which was otherwise so uniform in its fundamental traits. 
These modifications lie partly in the growing corpulence, partly in the hair of 
the head and face, which of course vary in style, colour and quantity at 
different periods of life. In our equestrian portrait we still see the short hair 
and thin gently curved mustachios, which have not yet developed into the 
bigote levantadoy which was popularly regarded almost as a special mark of 
a true national king. 

The picture also agrees as far as could be expected with Tacca's statue, 

Digitized by 


Equestrian Portrait of Philip IV. 307 

the head of which was retouched in 1642 by that sculptor's son in, 
when the monument was set up in Buen Retiro. The youthful, chivalrous 
bearing, the armour inlaid with gold, the fluttering scarf, the gold-embroi- 
dered hose and saddle, the long mane of the horse, all correspond, the hat 
alone differing. The action of the horse in the statue has been altered, for 
reasons that are now difficult to explain. The centre of gravity, which in 
the painting lies to the rear, has been shifted forward, and the animal itself 
is lighter and less bulky in the statue. 

From the foregoing it follows that the usual assumption of four equestrian 
portaits of Philip IV. by Velazquez falls to the ground. That of Fraga never 
existed, while that mentioned by Palomino (p. 334), on which he inscribed 
the word expinxit^ was probably the first executed in 1623. 

In the work under notice the full side-view has probably been chosen in 
order to give the Sculptor a clear model to work upon. The horse, a heavy 
sorrel or bay, diffused with a pale cast, and with sparkling eye, is properly 
poised, while his rider presents a charming embodiment of soldierly and 
kingly grace. The pose of the head, the upraised glance in the distance, the 
extended arm with the baton of command, might well become a renowned 
captain in the battlefield. The face itself is, to a marked degree, more 
animated than usual, as if the stiffness of traditional postures and the 
petrified weariness of the features had vanished with the shades of the 
gloomy apartments in the old Alcazar. For once the free light of heaven 
here plays the flatterer; we feel that the breath of the clear, penetrating 
morning breeze from the Castilian highlands has reached the lungs, causing a 
lighter, more fluid blood to course through the veins. 

The magnificent animal, which seems so thoroughly to understand its 
rider, has imparted to him, as it were, some of its own overflowing vitality. 
" Rider and horse," said Calderon of Philip IV.," seemed merged in one being." 

Here the landscape, where the eye ranges over hills, gorges, plains to the 
far-off mountains miles away, is destitute of every trace of living beings, 
their abodes and works. But this solitude is no dreary wilderness ; it invites 
rather to roam abroad, to hold converse with the spirits of air ; it gives man 
a feeling as if all this were his, better guarded by yonder mountain giants 
than by his own hosts. Nowhere else, not even on our master's canvas, 
have the Castilian uplands been at once so faithfully and poetically reproduced 
in colour, with their limpid atmosphere, rich blue and light-green tints, and 
deep silence, their bright woodlands and long line of primeval sierras. The 
prospect itself seems boundless, for the eye, guided by no very distinct 
landmarks as measures of distance, becomes lost in these azure bottom lands 
as in the depths of the trackless ocean. 

Digitized by 


3o8 Velazquez, 

. The sky is clearing up to the right, so that the rider seems plunging into 
the light But the range of mountains nmning in a line with the movement 
of the horse falls off in the same direction. 

The light itself is strongly reflected back in the glistening gold, the 
burnished steel, the silk, the youthful countenance, nearly all in warm rays. 
But obtrusive local colours are toned down, the plume being white and brown, 
the hose nut-brown, the pink scarf in a whitish reflected light In the 
landscape all the light is transmitted, but only in cold rays. The face alone, 
with its whitish blonde carnation and cool bluish reflected light, presents no 
contrast to the ground, but is placed directly against the clouded sky. 

The question arises, Is the small picture in the Pitti Palace, Tacca's 
model, a replica of the large one in the Prado, or was it Tacca's statue 
that gave occasion to the preparation of another equestrian portrait ? In 
any case this small portrait is an original work. Copies are naturally 
in demand, and are yearly produced in Madrid ; they are often even palmed 
off on the public as original sketches, vaunted by connoisseurs and paid for 

The best copy known to me is that in Hertford House (24 x 24 
inches), a pendant to the Olivares. This has been evidently painted by a 
very practised hand ; but the tone is heavier, and lacks the shimmer and 
limpidity of the original. That of Thomas Baring (23 x 17 inches) 
from the collection of the poet Samuel Rogers, and now in the possession 
of Lord Northbrook, is a sombre, unsteady botchwork with thick imptisto, 
wild strokes and glaring lights. Still less faithful was the copy formerly 
in Leigh Court (18 x 6 inches), where the king has the scowling look of 
a Bramarba with misrepresented lineaments, sketchily yet harshly painted. 

In the lifesize equestrian portrait in the Uffizi, supposed even by such 
a shrewd critic as Mr. Curtis to have been the work sent to Florence 
for Tacca's statue, the king appears surrounded by hovering allegorical 
beings, a goddess of war hurling thunderbolts and a Fides planting the 
cross on the globe, while a Moor runs behind with a helmet. From 
such Rubens-like figures others have suggested that it is a copy after 
Velazquez by some pupil of Rubens, or by Caspar de Crayer, who 
is known to have visited Madrid. This Antwerp painter was intimate 
with the Cardinal-Prince Ferdinand in his later years, and Caspar's 
portrait of the cardinal (1639) had so pleased the Court that the king 
wanted for once to swerve from his resolution of sitting only to Velazquez. 
Crayer's authorship, however, is excluded by the age of the king, here 
represented as well advanced in his forties, and by other reasons. 

How this equestrian portrait reached Florence is unknown ; but so 

Digitized by 


The Fraga Portrait. 309 

early as the seventeenth century it had already found its way to the 
Pitti Palace as a work by " Diego Velasco." 

The Fraga Portrait , 

Since the outbreak of the Catalonian revolt (June 9, 1640), a general 
desire had been expressed that the king should proceed to the seat 
of war. As this was also his own ardent wish, he at last set out from 
Buen Retiro on April 26, 1642, amidst the universal acclamations of 
the public. 

But their hopes were dashed from the first. Olivares following 
in the king's wake managed to detain him in Saragossa, where the 
round of festivities was resumed with an ''abyss of exj)enses." Philip 
took no interest in the operations, while the French General Lamotte 
was entering Barcelona to the mutterings of the ominous cry, EspaHa se 
pierde ("Spain is being lost"). 

When Perpignan fell, torn with Roussillon, from the monarchy for 
ever, he wept jointly with Olivares, who on the arrival of " Job's 
Messengers" craved leave to throw himself from the window. And 
when he really fell, the king endeavoured to rouse himself to a sense 
of the situation. " In one matter alone," he said in the State Council 
of January 1643, "I tell you that you shall not stand in my way; that 
is, my set resolution to enter the field and be the first to risk my blood 
and life for the welfare of my vassals, to reawaken their old energy 
which has greatly fallen off during the events of these years." 

On this journey to Aragon the king was accompanied by his Court 
painter; in this there was nothing remarkable, it being usual at that 
time for commanders to have artists at hand in order to take sketches 
of sieges and battles. In 1643, ^^^^ the recovery of Monzon, the . 
Aragonese, Jusepe Martinez was sent to make a painting of the siege 
works. To this artist we are indebted for a few notes on Velazquez* 
occupations during this campaign. "A cavalier of Saragossa asked him 
to paint his tenderly loved daughter. The painter consented, and did 
the work with pleasure, so that the result was an excellent picture, 
in a word worthy of him. On the completion of the head (it was a half- 
length figure) he took it away to finish it at home, in order not to put 
the lady to too much trouble. But when he brought it back she 
protested she would have none of it at any price. When questioned 
as to the reason, she told her father that it did not please her at all, 
but especially because the collar which she wore at the sitting was 
trimmed with the finest Flemish lace {valona)y 

Digitized by 




During the journey of 1644 Velazquez painted at Fraga the already 
mentioned portrait of the king. A bundle of accounts from the 
Jornada de Aragon has been found bearing on this transaction. First 
of all the Carpenter Pedro Colomo had to prepare an easel for six 
reals, and also put a window in the Court painter's windowless room. 
During the three sittings, reeds were spread on the ground, and at last 
a door put in, " for people were unable to get in." The king was kept 
amused by his dwarf, El Primo, who was also taken on this occasion. 

For both pictures cases were 
then made to send them forth- 
with to Madrid. The king 
wore the dress, in which he 
usually apf)eared before his 
army as commander-in-chief. 
From the figure itself it 
is evident that it was taken 
far from the atmosphere of the 
Alcazar. It is freer than those 
tall figures in black, which 
are perpetually receiving des- 
patches, and which are the 
incarnation of unrelenting 
monotony, of the weariness 
of etiquette. To this effect 
the colour contributes much, 
for the picture- is. _ail light 
and brightness. The legs 
seem to stand in profile, but 
the body and head face to 
the right; the white baton 
in the right hand is planted 
against the hip; the elbow 01 the left, which holds the hat, rests on 
the hilt of the sword, and curiously enough both arms are disposed 
in a somewhat parallel position. 

The lines of the king's features, now in his thirty-ninth year, are 
firmer, the colour fresher than hitherto. The otherwise inseparable 
golilla is here replaced by a broad lace collar falling on the shoulders ; the 
hands are white in unison with the white sleeves, the most luminous 
parts of the whole picture — well-nurtured, royal hands, ringless, but 
by no means "washed out," as has been supposed by those unac- 

PHILIP IV., 1644. 

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The Fraga Portrait. 311 

quainted with the artist's habit of dispensing with shade to indicate the 

Philip wears a rich light red doublet with hanging sleeves, the narrow 
opening showing the leather jerkin underneath. Of like colour and also 
covered with silver embroidery are the bandolier and hose. The 
only patch of gold is the golden fleece, all else — collar, sleeves of jerkin 
(" pearl tone "), lace cuffs, lace ruffle of boots, silver sheath — being white. 
/This white on the red produces the well-known effect of a lighter or 
V '* camelia red." The hat alone is black, which is not in keeping with the 
costume, and may probably be due to licence on the part of the artist, 
who here wished to avoid white on white, and who needed a dark part 
in softening contrast to the silvery red of the whole. At the same time 
the red of the bandoHer and plume on the red of the doublet shows 
the 'painter's indifference to such matters. 

To all this must be added the full flood of daylight^ which even 
projects an oblique shadow from the mustachios on to the cheek. The 
stuj)endous relief is effected by the empty dark grey surface of the ground, 
and by the spare brown shadows, which help to bring out the collar, arm, 
and hat. 

This picture was still in the palace when Palomino wrote under 
Philip v., but before the middle of the eighteenth century it had already 
found its way to Paris. It probably passed from Bouchardon's estate 
to the Tronchin collection, thence to King Stanislaus' agent, Desenfans, 
and lastly to the Dulwich Gallery.^ 

A second exemplar, corresponding ' in every respect with this, passed 
from Sebastian Martinez' collection, Cadiz, to the Salamanca Gallery, and 
was sold for seventy-one thousand francs at the first sale of that 
collection in 1867. It was sent to the Alsace-Lorraine Exhibition of 1874 
by Mrs. Lyne-Stephens, its present owner. It is only an old but carefully 
executed copy. i 

Equestrian Portrait of Prince Balthasar, ) 

Of all works of this class that of the young Prince Balthasar Carlos 
has always, and rightly, been the greatest favourite. Here is concentrated 
all that is captivating in a creation of the pictorial Art — life and motion, 

* In the Catalogue of Fran9ois Trouchin's sale (1798) occurs the entry // tieni heaucoup 
de Van Dyck. II est peint avec une naXveti^ ufte legirete^ et une fraicheur de couleur 
admirable. La viriti et Veffety sout au plus haul point. II vient du ceUbre Bouchardon, 
Thor6 also hits off the impression it makes in his usual unerring way : — *' Clair et tendre 
comme le plus fin Metsu, Chef-d^ceuvre de couleur et de distinction^ 

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all-pervading light and prospect in the distance, air and lustre, mass and 
contrast, the soul of the artist and consummate mastery of his technique; 
lastly, unclouded and intact state of the picture. The little fellow, now 
in his seventh year, is seated on his light chestnut pony as firmly and 
lightly as his father, the first rider in the kingdom, and he holds the 
marshal's baton extended over the animal's head in a style that could 
not be surpassed by Don Juan of Austria himself. His very mount, as 
Palomino remarks, ** smelleth the battle afar off," sure of victory under 
his rider. The part he plays is here scarcely more a pastime than with 

his father and grandfather, 
for the kings of Spain had 
long forgotten how to wield 
this staff of command in full 

The little steed bounding 
out of the frame athwart the 
scene is more fore- shortened 
than usual. In this fore- 
shortening the body is rounded 
almost to a ball, about which 
flutter the long mane and 
sweeping tail. And the prince 
is decked in all his bravery 
— broad plumed hat, dark 
green velvet jacket with white 
sleeves, red scarf diversely 
embroidered in gold, long, 
close-fitting leather boots. 
By contrast with the land- 
scape all this has made the picture the most shimmering and dazzling 
of equestrian portraits, "a gem of tone and harmony" (Imbert). It is 
a fresh morning sky in spring, streaked with bluish and lustrous white 
clouds, the heaven and mountain ranges permeated by a blue-green 
aerial tone, uninterrupted by a single jarring note. Hill and dale are 
bare, except for the sparsely wooded eminence behind a sandy steep in 
the mid-distance. From j^the depths rises a thin haze, leaving the snow- 
clad crests glittering in the sun ; but not a single tree to indicate the 

On the cool rich ground stand horse and rider, with their brown, 
yellow, red and green" harmonies. The golden sheen is again reflected 


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Equestrian Portrait of Olivares. 313 

in the silver of clouds, snow and haze, interwoven as with a silken 
tissue of metallic threads, a concert of guitars and mandolins. The face 
alone is soft and luminous, painted with thin pigment ; and here the 
quiet pleasure of the billowy galloping motion is well expressed in the 
dark eye steadily gazing in the distance. A second contrast is given by 
the deep stjU ness o f Njlyre and the metallic clatter of the steed galloping 
by, as if the magician's wand had suddenly conjured up this animated 
group in the midst of the surrounding solitude. 

This picture may be taken as the most perfect example of the ^ / 
master's second manner, more suited than any other to afford a measure / u^ 

of what he intended and was able to accomplish at the height of his | 

Art. Patriotic enthusiasm placing him as a colourist above Rubens and 
Titian here becomes intelligible. 

The small picture in Dulwich College is not a sketch, but an old 
copy without a trace of the colour and light effects of the original. The 
best reproduction (including paintings) is Richard Earlom's engraving, 
published by Boydell in 1784. A larger, but also inferior, copy formerly 
in the Salamanca collection is now in the palace of the Duke of Fernan 
Nuftez. The picture in the Hermitage (426) represents not Prince 
Balthasar, but probably Charles II. 

Equestrian Portrait of Olivares. 

The minister who had stirred up all those wars now wanted to see 
himself also in the saddle, as a general of cavalry, although he had never 
smelt powder. 

The famous equestrian portrait of the "great protector and Maecenas" 
was in the last century in the possession of the Marquis of Ensenada, and 
later acquired by Charles III. for the new palace. In this work, generally 
known through a feeble etching by Goya (1778), Bermudez considered that 
the master strove to outdo himself, for in Rubens' equestrian effigy of the 
Duke of Lerma, also painted in full armour (1603), he had a prototype 
not easily to be surpassed. 

The ambitious minister wished to be depicted in the attitude of a 
field-officer leading thousands to the attack, and showing them the path 
to honour at the risk of his own life. Thus we see him in rich armour 
damascened in gold, with broad plumed hat, gold-embroidered red scarf, 
mounted on his Andalusian gray in the correct pose charging at full 
speed in a diagonal line towards the background. He seems to have 
emerged from the woods on a spot commanding a view of an extensive 

Digitized by 




plain, where squadrons of horse are already engaged. He turns round 
to his men calling upon them to join in the combat towards which his 
baton is directed. From the hamlet beyond the battle-field rise columns 
of smoke, which were later interpreted as a symbol of the cohflagration 
which he had kindled to the ruin of the land. Quevedo afterwards 
compared him to Nero rejoicing over burning Rome from the Tarpeian 

The picture thus takes the form of a defi nite actio n^ recalling the 
battle-pieces in Buen Retiro, and particularly Jos^ Leonardo's treatment 

of the Duke of Feria ; 
only here the attitude is 
explained by a message 
which the officer in -the 
rear is communicating to 
the duke. Although he 
had never taken part in 
military operations, or pos- 
sibly for that very reason, 
Olivares was always raving 
for war, protesting that 
he could not live without 
war, assuredly the most 
frothy, bellicose dilettante 
in the annals of Spain. 
** He lacked none of the 
qualities of a great cap- 
tain," wrote the Qjurt his- 
torian Virgilio Malvezzi, 
"except that he had never 
seen active service." 
The academic generalship and stage battle-scene may raise a prejudice 
against the picture, for the general is undoubtedly a humbug, just as his 
brown hair is a sham. His habits were anything but military, and his 
enemies sneered at this *' heroic minister " and " grand old man," who was 
so delicate that he refused to go on board a vessel, as at Barcelona in 
1632, for fear of seasickness. When his portrait was exposed for sale in 
Madrid in 1635 it was pelted with stones, and the same occurred again 
at Saragossa in 1642. 

But these are outward considerations, and it must be admitted that 
the figure suits well the assumed rO/e. So true is this that, were the sub- 


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Equestrian Portrait of Olivares. 315 

ject unknown, he would perhaps be taken for some leader of invincible 
" Ironsides " in the great war. In fact the French critic Charles Blanc 
describes the picture as that of a hero leading the charge without bluster 
or ostentation. 

The attitude of horse and rider was no invention of the artist, but 
was probably derived from the schcK)l of Rubens, though likely enough 
to suggest itself independently as suitable for the portrait of a military 
captain. It must, however, be admitted 'that the rider does not give the 
impression of sitting gracefully in the saddle, which is due partly to his 
humf)€d back, partly to the strongly fore-shortened front part of the horse, 
which seems too small, disappearing behind the rider. The saddle also 
seems shifted forward a little too near to the horse's neck, as in Van 
Dyck's equestrian portrait of Francesco Maria Balbi in the Balbi Palace, 
Genoa. The Olivarez in other resj)ects bears a remarkable resemblance 
to this work, which Velazquez may have seen and sketched when passing 
through Genoa in 1629. 

Of our portrait there exist two smaller replicas, half lifesize, one 
belonging to Lord Elgin of Broomhall, Fifeshire, the other in the 
Schleissheim Gallery. Both are genuine originals, the former perhaps 
better executed than the large work, which may probably be later than 
either. It differs from both in some particulars, such as the colour of 
the charger, the treatment of the middle distance, of the battle-field, 
clouds, and trees to the right 

Lord Elgin's seems the first both in time and excellence. This splendid 
painting comes perhaps nearer than any other to that sense of colour, 
unrivalled specimens of which were produced in every period of Venetian 
Art. All observers speak enthusiastically of its wonderful animation, 
astounding mastery of colour and chiaroscuro^ learned draughtsmanship 
in the horse, unsurpassed artistic power in so small a space.* Seldom 
has the inimitable shimmer peculiar to Velazquez been more delightfully 
rendered. The light-blue azure sky, traversed by luminous white clouds, 
supplies the ground for the figure lit up by a ray of sunshine. The 
inlaid gold of armour and accoutrements, the brocade embroidery of the 
saddle-cloth and hose, the flash of the muskets, all sparkle like a rich 
display of gold, gems and diamonds. 

Although the large work is referred by the Madrid catalogue unhesi- 

* Athencnim^ 1876, i. 62. Waagen also praises its "great life and animation o 
conception, admirable in keeping, and broad and masterly in execution" {^Treasures iv. 
444). Size of Lord Elgin's 49 x 40 inches; of the Schleissheim 1*35 x i'i4 m. ; of the 
Prado 3-13 X 2-39 m. 

Digitized by 


3i6 Velazquez. 

tatingly to the period between 1639 and 1642, no reasons are given. The 
head of Olivares certainly lacks the elderly and somewhat bloated look 
already seen in the print engraved by Panneels after Velazquez, in 1638. 
Hence it can scarcely have been painted later than 1637, while, to judge 
from the tone and chiaroscuro, the work might be referred even to an 
earlier date than the portrait of Prince Balthasar, executed about the year 

The Portraits of Philip III. and Queen Margarita of Austria, 

About this time the mania for equestrian portraits would seem to have 
run high, and as none remained amongst the living worthy to be enrolled 
in such exalted company, they were fain to fall back on departed royalty. 
Such pictures already existed of Charles V. and Philip IL, executed by 
Titian and Rubens, and Velazquez was now called upon to fill the gap 
between those rulers and the reigning sovereign. Hence equestrian por- 
traits of both his parents, enframed in gold, were duly supplied by our 
master for the Salon del Reino. 

Having never seen them in the flesh, it may be asked whether Velazquez 
had any such portraits by former Court painters to guide him ? Or did he 
entrust them to associates ? For these figures show nothing of his peculiar 
Art at any j)eriod of its development. But then no other artist in Madrid 
could any longer paint like this in the fifth decade of the century, when 
Velazquez undertook to complete the series of equestrian portraits. Nor 
do they give the impression of being copies; and anyone, apart from 
other considerations, would no doubt refer the heads at least to a Pantoja 
de la Cruz or a Bartolom^ Gonzalez. They must have been painted before 
161 1, when Margarita died. 

Hence old equestrian p)ortraits must have already existed ; only the 
style now seemed somewhat old-fashioned, and it was decided to have 
them thoroughly recast. The heads, costumes, and housings were left un- 
changed ; but horses and landscapes, which no longer pleased, were so 
completely repainted that, in one case, it is impossible even to conjecture 
the nature of the original outlines. 

Philip III. (Prado, No. 1604; size 3-oox3'i4 m.) is mounted on a heav^ 
white animal, galloping three-quarters right, and stirring up the dust, while 
mane and tail flutter in the fresh Seabreeze down to the pasterns. Here 
something has been revised in the figure, as in the right arm holding the 
baton, which has been brought more forward, the original being only loosely 
covered over. 

Digitized by 


Last Portraits of Olivares. 317 

The scene is a spacious marine inlet, where the shore beyond the restless 
curling waves shows blue hills and a square-shaj)ed summit. 

Colour of the horse, sea, clouds, hills have all been retouched in a white 
tone. This imparts to the picture a somewhat feeble character, which, ^^ 
however, accords with the head, where there is a striking absence of 
intelligence, energy and expression. 

The picture of the queen (No. 1065 ; size 2*97 x 3*09 m.) is much 
deeper and heavier in the colouring. She seems aged, with harder features 
than in the delicate, beautiful portrait by Pantoja de la Cruz in the Museum 
(No. 926). The face, with its hawk-nose and small contracted mouth, has 
acquired somewhat the look of a cockatoo, with which the small high hat 
and white plume is in keeping. 

She mounts a suj)erb chestnut-and-white palfrey, which also moves 
obliquely left, so that king and queen appear as if riding towards each 

Here the landscape is broken, with hills brought close together and dense 
underwood in the ravine^. But underneath the slopes and thicket may be / 
detected the original park and ornamental grounds, with hexagonal parterre 
enclosed by tall trees, and a sumptuous fountain with three tiers of shell 
basins and statues — probably Aranjuez. The distant view is painted a dark, 
dull green, the evening sky overcast with layers of yellow-red clouds. 

To appreciate the effect intended to be produced by all these equestrian 
portraits they should doubtless be seen in juxtaposition. Richard Cumber- 
land describes in eloquent words the impression they made on him in the 
large banqueting-hall of the new palace, where both royal couples, Olivares, 
Philip II. by Rubens, and Vauloo's Philip V. were brought together. 

Last Portraits of Olivares- 

Of portraits of Olivares dating from the last years of his power three, at 
least, are extant, in which Velazquez had a greater or less share. There are, 
moreover, three or four copper-plates, two of which have been ascribed to 
the master himself, and several copies. 

All must have been executed before the fall of the minister in January 
1643. It is also reasonable to suppose that Olivares would have scarcely 
granted sittings to any artists, except his own protege^ and this inference is 
borne out by the character of these portraits. There may be shades of 
diflference in the expression, or in the tone, according to the greater or less 
number of colours on the palette, and according as he is depicted full-length, 
half-length, or as a bust. But outlines, features, modellings, details, all agree 
almost as completely as in mechanical reproductions. 

Digitized by 


3i8 Velazquez. 

Thus all point back to one prototype, and are in fact studio works, in 
which the hand of the master took more or less a part. But I should 
scarcely venture to single out this prototype from amongst the extant 
exemplars. Nor is the original of Hermann Panneels' engraving now 
known. On the other hand, Germany possesses a well-painted replica in 
the Dresden Portrait Gallery (No. 622), originally from Modena. Here 
Olivares, a half-length figure, wearing the large green Alctotara Cross on 
doublet and cloak, stands on the right side of the frame, receiving or deliver- 
ing a letter. A change in the treatment of the wig, which was at first drawn 
broader and deeper, seems to exclude the idea of a copy. In harmony 
with this false hair, which completely covers the ears, the face has received 
a ruddy tone, which is still further accentuated by the whitish ground. But 
doubts as to the authenticity of the work are suggested by the weakened 
plastic effect due to the lack of high lights. 

After the same original is the broad, vigorous, fiery bust in the Hermitage 
from the Coesvelt collection. But, as is often the case with hasty works, 
this is almost a monochrome, of a dull earthy tone, giving the impression of 
a person stricken with fever. The expression is repellent. 

The Hermitage also possesses a full-length portrait in black velvet Court 
dress, which, with the companion piece, Philip IV., was acquired in 1850 for 
thirty-eight thousand eight hundred and fifty florins, from King WOliam 
of Holland's collection. It had previously fetched only eleven thousand five 
hundred and twenty francs at the Laf)e3rri^re sale, Paris 1825.* This some- 
what overvalued picture can be accepted only as the work of a pupil with 
corrections by the master. Attitude and surroundings agree in every respect 
with the portrait executed in the third decade (p. 1 19), except that the head 
is that of the fifth, while the tone resembles that of the Dresden work, only 
with lustrous lights. The glance is that of a nervous, broken-down old man, 
the mere ruin of the high-bom nobleman, the smooth favourite and wily 
politician {Stirling- Maxwell), 

Since the disastrous year 1640, and more particularly since the treason- 
able proceedings of his cousin Medina-Sidonia, a notable change had 
taken place in Olivares' features and complexion, combined with symptoms 
of mental disturbance. The heroic lineaments, which at one time 
reminded the Austrian envoy of an emj)eror, have here disappeared, giving 
place to a swollen, bloated appearance. Owing to the loss of teeth the 
mouth has contracted, causing the chin to curve more upwards, thus 
imparting a somewhat compressed, cunning expression to the features. 
The eyes also appear sunken, with lowering, false, even cruel cast. The 
* It had passed to the Lapeyri^re from the Delahante sale, London, 1817. 

Digitized by 



thick, reddish wig enframing the whole completes the picture of a really 
sinister countenance. 

The bust formerly in the collection of the Prince of Peace, brought 
to England by Buchanan and sold in 18 14 to Lord Lansdowne, is 
described by a critic in the Athenoeum (January 27, 1877) as the genuine 
original of countless rej)etitions. But the qualifying and correct addition : 
" Excessively dark, somewhat crude in the shadows, and rather heavy 
in the half-tones," will relieve all connoisseurs of Velazquez from the 
trouble of testing this statement. It is in fact a sombre, crudely painted 
botchwork, with red carnations. 

The portrait brought over by General Meade and formerly in Richard 
Ford's p)ossession is better, but also painted in that heavy brown tone, 
which is foreign to our master. 

Some interest is presented by two small copper-plates, each known 
only in one extant print. Velazquez' conception of Olivares' features is 
in both so carefully and so accurately reproduced, that they have been as- 
cribed to the painter himself, who however would surely have preferred 
the etching needle. 

The first, in the Madrid National Library, with hard metallic cross- 
hatchings in the face, is evidently by a very indifferent engraver. The 
second, now in the Berlin Copperplate Cabinet, belonged to Cean 
Bermudez, who wrote a memorandum on the back of the sheet, to the 
effect that it was "engraved by Velazquez." The head alone is finished, 
the face being evidently stippled by a practised Flemish engraver. The 
incomplete state of the work may possibly be due to the minister's 
sudden downfall. 


This event was preceded, perhaps precipitated, by an occurrence of 
which a reminiscence survives in Velazquez' portrait of Olivares' natural 
son, Julianillo. The picture, representing a cavalier about thirty years 
old, was seen in the Altamira collection by Lord Francis Egerton, who 
afterwards (1827) acquired it at a sale in London for the nominal price 
of £^7 1 6s. It is now in Bridgewater House. 

This Julianillo, son of Dofta Isabel de Anversa, a notorious Court beauty, 
had in his time played many parts : in Madrid a street-singer ; in Seville 
page to the archbishop ; in Mexico mendicant, peasant and gaol-bird, 
there narrowly escaping the gallows. And now after serving in Flanders 
and Italy he had again turned up in the capital where he married Leonor 
de Unzueta, a dama publica dc la Carte. 

Digitized by 



320 Velazquez. 

Otivares had lost his only daughter, the Duchess Medina de las Torres, 
in 1626, and it now (1640) suddenly occurred to him that this scape- 
grace son might serve, faute de mieux, to perpetuate his name and title. 
He accordingly publicly adopted JulianiUo, and decided with his wife's 
consent to leave him the Olivares estate together with the duchy of San 
Lucar. Philip also not only recognized the act of adoption, but received 
him at Court and assigned him quarters at Buen Retiro as getUiihombre 
de la cdmara and companion to the crown prince ! Then the ominous 
name Julian^ regarded in Spain as synonymous with Judas, was 
exchanged for the more sonorous Enrique Felipe de Guzman — "for I 
wish," remarked Olivares, **that he shall worthily sustain the memory 
of my great father, and atone for my errors and my less worthy 

His wife, who had been banished to Seville, having just then oppor- 
tunely departed this life, Olivares married him to the first lady of the palace, 
Dofta Juana Fernandez de Velasco, daughter of the Duke of Frias, 
Constable of Castile. The wedding took place on May 28, 1642, the 
royal couple being witnesses to the marriage contract, and the haughty 
Castilian nobles, the cardinals and other dignitaries obsequiously paying 
their respects to Don Enrique in Buen Retiro. 

Velazquez painted this heir of the Guzmans in his new Court dress, 
his hand playing with the shield of the Order of Alcantara, But the 
artist was too proud to take much pains with his work, which he executed 
with only "half of his spirit," leaving the sumptuous new costume to 
a pupil. The taste of the upstart here obtrudes itself in the garish 
colours otherwise avoided by our master. 

The figure is that of a slim, comely youth, with straight bushy eye- 
brows, kindly brown eyes, broad-bridged nose, thick red upper lip, high 
narrow oj)en forehead. He wears a leather jerkin, wide white linen 
sleeves, with deep lace cufTs, puffing out through the slashings ; red scarf 
and hose; top-boots with lace trimming; in his left hand he holds a hat 
decked with white and blue ostrich plumes. Pose and expression, half- 
pleased, half-embarrassed at all this finery, betray the parvenu. 

This event was followed the very next year by the long pending 
catastrophe, when Olivares discovered, like all fallen favourites, that "no 
creature loved him." He withdrew first to Loeches, and then to the 
small Castilian town of Toro, where he died on June 20 of the same 
year, 1643. 

Don Enrique was banished from the Court, dying within the same 
decade; Dofta Juana — their son having died in his infancy — retired to a 

Digitized by 


Prince Balthasar. 321 

convent ; and the title of Duke of San Lucar passed to the Duke of Medina 
de las Torres, who had married Olivares' only daughter. 

Olivares' nephew and successor, Don Luis de Haro, appears never to 
have given Velazquez a sitting. The equestrian portrait formerly in 
Lord Northwick's collection, Thirlestane House, and purchased by Baron 
James Rothschild for ;^966 in 1859, had no doubt been described as 
a superlative specimen of Velazquez' Art. But this work is the production 
of a Flemish painter executed in the style of Van Dyck, and has 
absolutely nothing to do either with Velazquez, Haro, the Spanish school, 
or the Spanish nation. 

^ Prince Balthasar Carlos^I 

Velazquez was still in Rome when the glad tidings arrived that at 
last (October 17, 1629) after ten years of disappointed hopes an heir 
had been born to the ruler of two worlds. It now became the duty of 
the Court painter to chronicle the growth of the young prince in a long 
series of portraits from his second to his sixteenth year, when this " light 
of the palace " was suddenly extinguished — a bright dawn followed by no 
mid-day sun. Yet what an inexhaustible fund of shifting phenomena 
lies embodied even in the feeblest flower of mortality when disclosed by 
the magic touch of Art ! Painters with a world of prominent personalities 
at their command have left us nothing but monotone repetitions. Here 
from monotony itself has been extracted a little world of ever new, ever 
fascinating creations. 

The Child. — According to Bermudez Velazquez painted the child the 
year after his return from Rome, and reference to the charge for such 
a portrait occurs in an official document of 1634, From the same period 
dates the picture in Castle Howard, which formerly bore the title of 
"the Prince of Parma," and which was ascribed to Correggio. It was 
first recognized as a Velazquez by Waagen, who, "judging from concep- 
tion, colouring and treatment," pronounced it "an admirable picture by 
Velazquez" (Treasures, iii., 323). 

The flaxen-haired little figure, in a long dark-green gold-embroidered 
frock, stands somewhat back, the oval surface of the face painted in a 
soft light, and animated only by the brown eyes which it had of its 
mother. The left hand rests on the sword, while the right holds the 
baton with the grip of an heir to a throne, although using it as a walking- 

The scarf alone is red, but the whole figure is enveloped by a flood of 


Digitized by 


325 Velazquez. 

imperial purple and scarlet — curtain, hangings, carpet, cushion on which 
lies the black velvet hat with its gold band and white ostrich plume. 

Two steps in advance a dwarf, also in dark green coat with large 
white apron, is encouraging the child to follow, holding out a silver bell 
in one hand and an apple in the other. 

Of the whole series this is perhaps the most carefully executed, 
affording an excellent example of the master's middle style. 

The same figure of the child, but quite alone and in a light grey 
silver-embroidered silk frock, was formerly (1853) in the Standish Gallery, 
but has now joined two other portraits of the prince in Hertford House. 
A woodcut of this appeared in the Art Journal^ 1852, p. 361. It fetched 
;fi68o, Ford remarking that *' the fortunate possessor will have added to 
his gallery a specimen such as the Queen of Spain only can furnish 
the means of rivalling when she shall break up the Museum at Madrid."* 
Waagen also speaks of "its marvellous charm. The conception is highly 
animated, the delicate flesh tones positively luminous, and the careful 
execution of every part unusually sustained." * 

The Little Rider,— ^Tht young prince showed from the first a talent for 
horsemanship, which naturally delighted his father. Philip often referred to 
the matter in his correspondence with his brother Ferdinand, who on his 
part sent back encouraging presents, such as a suit of armour and two 
Italian greyhounds from Lombardy in 1633. There also came a pony 
stallion, described as " a little devil," who before being mounted was to be 
carefully bridled and to receive half-a-dozen lashes, after which "he would 
go like a little dog." Perhaps this is the identical pony on which the 
prince is mounted in the scene where he is represented taking his first 
lessons in the riding school. 

Two sketches of such scenes are extant, both in English collections. 
The first, the smaller of the two, but with more figures and better 
executed, belongs to Sir Richard Wallace ; it was apparently painted as a 
memento of these first efforts in horsemanship. In the background of the 
arena we see the blank wall of a house, perhaps the royal mews on the 
Palace Square, with turreted dovecot and a balcony where are two 
ladies and a dwarf. Below stand some ten figures ranged against the 
wall, two mounted; in the middle an object which looks like a lai^e red 

' AtliencBum, 1853, i.,710. 

* Treasures, iv., 80. George Scharf calls attention to the quaintness caused by " the 
discrepancy between the age of the child and the costume, which is pleasantly old-fashioned.'' 
^Manchester Exhibition, p. 81. 

Digitized by 


Prince Balthasar. 



sedan-chair. On the right is a narrow course between hoardings with 
spectators, and a rider followed by his groom. 

Quite in front, on the left, is the four-year-old prince on his stout 
pony, executing a correct pesade. Dressed in a black jacket with red 
sash and plumed hat shading forehead and eyes, he wheels round 
triumphantly, hand on hip, " quite jauntily," and, like a very great man, 
''cool on a mettlesome steed" {Tliore), Before him to the left stands 
the aged riding-master and a thin dwarf with the long riding-whip (?), 
and behind the horse another of the same height, but stouter. To 
ehlarge the space in the foreground another figure is introduced in the 
right-hand corner, a cavalier facing 
towards the background. Above 
the dwarf to the left is a coach 
with a man leaning over the roof. 

All these and other figures are 
executed in a limpid grey, like 
shadows, knocked off with a few 
strokes almost exclusively in black 
and white. Walls, floor; sky are 
not very clearly distinguished, so 
that it looks like the view of a 
camera obscura with its movable 
shadows. But the rider stands 
out all the more massively in this 
shadowy company. " It expresses 
to perfection the talent of the 
master," again says Thore. 

In 1828 Wilkie saw such a 
picture in the house of Jose 
Madrazo, director of the gallerj', 
painter and Art dealer — ''a dupli- 
cate of the Velazquez of Earl Grosvenor's of the little Infante Don Balthasar 
on horseback in the courtyard."* On his recommendation Woodburn 
purchased this specimen for the poet Rogers, from whose collection it 
passed for £iy270 lOs. to Lord Hertford. 

A few years later the same subject was again treated on a larger 

scale (57 X 83 inches) and with modifications. In this picture, which is 

also a sketch, the prince rides a piebald horse, and here both parents 

occupy the balcony of the red mews roofed with grey tiles. The features 

* Cunningham: Life of Wilkie^ ii., 466. (Size, 51 x 40 inches.) 


Digitized by 


324 Velazquez, 

and costume of Philip can clearly be distinguished in his black jerkin, 
plumed hat and leather boots, as well as of Isabella accompanied by 
the little princess, and between them farther back two ladies, one in the 
convent habit. Here also Olivares is now introduced as the prince's 
caballerizo mayor^ with white scarf, hose and shoes, holding his hat in his 
left hand, and extending his right to receive a lance from the riding- 
master. Behind the latter is a bare-headed figure with large ears and 
white ruff in submissive attitude. 

Here again all the figures are shadowy, but still quite clearly delineated 
and reduced according to their several perspective depths. Had Velazquez 
conceived and executed many such little pictures, the Spanish school 
would now be in possession of cabinet pieces needing to fear comparison 
with none. 

This sketch passed in 1806 from the Welbore Ellis Agar collection to 
Earl Grosvenor. Is it the highly-prized picture which in Palomino's time 
was in the possession of Olivares' nephew, the Marquis of Heliche? 
Palomino's words, however, would suggest a much larger canvas, and in 
fact this abozzo might well supply the foundation for a magnificent painting. 
It gives a foretaste of the Meninas, forming an open-air pendant to that 
chamber scene. 

The large equestrian portrait of the prince (p. 312) places before us the 
result of the noble equerry's training. 

The Little Sportsman, -'—Don Balthasar was also an accomplished sports- 
man ; nor7 young as he was, were his exploits in the field mere child's-play. 
In January 1638 he shot a wild boar in the Sierra, the bullet going right 
through, and the same year, firing from his seat in a buU-ring, he struck a 
steer in the forehead. To commemorate these two events a copper-plate 
was engraved in 1642 by Cornelius Galle in Brussels. Here he is presenting 
his gun to Don Alonso Martinez de Espinar, both trophies lying in 
front, two dogs in leash on the right, and an attendant holding up the 
royal arms emblazoned on a lion's skin (Curtis^ p. 59). 

About this very time must have been executed the portrait in the Prado 
(No. 1 1 18; rs8 X ri3 m.), where the prince stands near a large open 
balcony-window in the Pardo in black dress like that of the equestrian 
portrait, his right hand grasping the little gun, his left resting on the sword- 
belt. This picture has been doubted, and in the catalogue for 1872 is even 
entered amongst the works by pupils, the hand of the novice being supposed 
to be betrayed by the poverty of invention in the accessories, by the thin, 
sketchy impasto, and hesitation in drawing the features. 

Nevertheless its authenticity does not appear quite so questionable. The 

Digitized by 


Prince Balthasar. 325 

colouring is unlike that of any known contemporary painter, while not a 
trace can be detected of the copyist's hand. The thiri flat modelling occurs 
also in the head of the equestrian portrait, and the landscape bears the 
unmistakable stamp of Velazquez' hand. 

A replica of the figure is still extant, which may have been the portrait 
painted for Prince Ferdinand in Flanders. It is now in the Duke of 
Abercorn's collection, having been purchased in 1837 of Sir George War- 
render for ;^4io (size 62^ x 52^ inches). Here the prince has put on his 
black embroidered plumed hat, and is surrounded by three hounds, two 
of which are repetitions from the Madrid hunting portrait ; but the brown 
greyhound has now found a companion, the couple being possibly those 
presented by Prince Ferdinand to his little nephew. 

In a letter received in the spring of 1639 thanking the king for a pic- 
ture of Don Balthasar by Velazquez, Ferdinand writes : " The portrait of 
the prince, whom God preserve, is splendid ; I was quite beside myself 
with joy, and kiss your Majesty's hand for this memento. . . . God protect 
him, he is a handsome lad." Whether this be the Abercorn painting it is 
difficult to decide, owing to the present condition of that work, in which the 
figure, and still more the sky, have suffered. On the mountain range lies a 
heavy dark-green layer as of repainting,* while the clear light-blue sky above 
has remained unaltered. 

A picture, in which Don Balthasar is represented loading his gun, was 
purchased by Sir W. Knighton, physician to George IV., at the Lapeyri^re 
sale (1825) for one thousand francs. I saw it in May 1885 at one of Christie 
and Manson's sales, where it fetched only a hundred and fifty guineas. In 
February 1888 it was sent by S. H. Fraser to the Exhibition of the Old 
Masters in the Royal Academy ; but in this work there is not a touch of 
Velazquez, and it may be doubted whether it is even a copy, and not a 
modern forgery. 

\ The L ittle Wooerl — ^When the hopes of a dynasty depend on a single life, 
thoughts run on the choice of a bride from the very birth of the future heir. 
As Don Balthasar approached his tenth year, the age when his father had 
been betrothed to Isabella of Bourbon, his portrait was sent off to friendly 
Courts, sometimes dressed in black gala costume, sometimes in military 
uniform. The variety of expression is remarkable, making it probable that 
his features underwent great changes according to circumstances. 

Until his fourteenth year the prince had been the unwilling associate ) 
mainly of women and priests. This was a subject of general comment even 
abroad, and in Job Ludolf's Theatre of Universal History there is a copper- 
^ " Here Reynolds' hand has been suspected." — Athenceum, 1878, p. 56. 

Digitized by 


326 Velazquez. 

plate illustration of his education, where he is figured dancing with Court 
damsels. Still, in the curriculum of his studies a comer was left for letters, 
and his teacher, Don Juan de Isassi Idiaquez, vaunted his quick apprehension 
and rapid progress in Latin, rhetoric, geography and so forth. To the 
king, who was thrown into ecstasies at his prowess in the chase, such 
accomplishments seemed ridiculous. But when the teacher ventured to 
suggest that the time had come Xo initiate him in statecraft, Philip put his 
foot down, remarking that ** he should not meddle with things his ancestors 
had not meddled with." Utterances were already heard, which seemed 
ominous for the future. 

Amongst the portraits in Court dress painted for presentation is the full- 
length figure in the Belvedere (Room 7, No. 6 ; size 48 by 38 inches). Don 
Balthasar's betrothal with Mariana, daughter of the Emj)eror Ferdinand III., 
had long been planned, although it was not formally settled and announced 
~-^ill the year 1646. He here appears on a rich purple ground in a black 
velvet dress with silver embroidered loops, bandolier of silver tissue, short 
black cloak, left hand on his sword, right on the arm of a red upholstered 
chair, red table-cloth and curtain, broad-brimmed hat on the table. Above 
the stiff go/t7/a rises an indifferent, almost sulky face. 

This portrait is repeated as a bust in the picture seen at the Manchester 
Exhibition, which belonged to Colonel Mugh Baillie, and again in the 
much-lauded figure in Lord Hertford's gallery, which came from the Wells 
collection. The latter, where the dress is dark-green, does not inspire 
confidence in its authenticity, though the colouring has been spoken of as 
"quite Titianesque,'* and though the same critic assures us that the work 
''is highly esteemed and deserves much admiration."* The colouring matter, 
especially in the brown of floor and sky, shows wide cracks and is even 
clotted, and moreover altered by the gold tone of the varnish, probably due 
to repainting in England. Behind the prince is a casket covered with red 
velvet, which Stirling- Maxwell thought exactly like a dressing-case presented 
by Philip IV. to the Prince of Wales. 

Our •' little wooer " appears in a much more sympathetic mood in two 
pictures, where, as in the equestrian portrait, he is represented as a bom 
captain, but in resplendent gold armour like his great-grandfather in Titian's 
magnificent portrait in the Prado, and like Pietro Tacca's statues of his father 
and grandfather. In this panoply he was wont to appear with his mother at 
reviews during the Catalonian war, to the intense delight of the Madrilefios. 

On December 31, 1639, the Tuscan envoy wrote: "A portrait of the 
crown prince has been made in coat-of-mail and full gala, and sent to 
' G. Scharf : Manchester Exhibition^ p. 81. 

Digitized by 


Prince Balthasar. 327 

England, as if his Highness' marriage with that princess were close at hand. 
But many think it has been done only to keep the king in good humour and 
hope." In the catalogue of Charles I.'s collections there accordingly occurs 
the entry (No. 14, p. 170): **The picture of the now Prince of Spain," and 
the same recurs in the papers of the sale under the Commonwealth.^ A 
portrait answering to the above description has lately come to light in 
Windsor, where it had been packed away, and now hangs in an apartment 
in Buckingham Palace (size 39 by 22 J inches). 

This time we have the picture of a cheerful, healthy, bright lad, proud of 
his armour and golden spurs. The attitude with the right leg well advanced 
is bold and spirited ; the right hand holds a baton, the left in a steel gauntlet 
rests on his baldric. The broad white lace collar, the large gold-embroidered 
red sash, the metallic sheen, produce a brilliant effect on the dark ground 
between the crimson of chair, curtain and table. The warm saturated tone 
of the interior with the play of the broad silver and gold reflected lights of 
armour and lace forms a contrast to the equestrian portrait with the cool, 
uniformly diffused shimmer of the free air. 

A replica in The Hague Gallery from King William Il.'s collection may be 
traced back to the Rainer Cabinet (1821). It would be difficult to determine 
the mutual- relations of these works without studying them side by side, 
especially as in the English specimen allowance has to be made for the 
varnishing. But both were obviously produced about the same time in 
Velazquez' studio. A certain harshness and dryness even in the face strikes 
a discordant note in the Dutch picture, where the ground is light grey 
inclining to green. 

When the prince reached his fifteenth year, it seemed at last to be 
remembered that the future "greatest monarch in the world" should also 
begin to understand that there was such a thing as public business. He was 
now accordingly admitted to take part in the Cabinet Councils. In order to 
give him a vivid impression of his great-grandfather's large mind, Philip took 
him for the first time to the Escorial, and showed him in one day the *' one 
wonder of the world." 

Now he received his separate establishment, and was henceforth free from 
the "confinement of the palace." Soon after (June 1646) his betrothal with 
Mariana of Austria was officially announced, and when he accompanied his 
father to the seat of war, a Court poet described "the new Adonis of a 
Teutonic Venus, as he strode along pike in hand, bold as beautiful." 

The portrait in the Prado (No. 1,083; size 2*09 x 144 m.) probably 

* ** Oct. 23, 165 1 : To Mr. Edward Harrison and Company, Prince of Spain, i. loo.'* — 
Hunter's Certificates^ British Museum. 

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328 Velazquez. 

represents him in the last year of his life. It forms a perfect pendant to 
those of his father and uncle executed twenty years previously. Don 
Balthasar stands facing to the right, in sombre black Court dress with short 
cloak, his left hand resting on the arm of a red chair, which is partly hidden 
by a curtain. The gloved right hand holds his hat, in which is the left glove. 
The well-grown figure, on a dark greenish ground, stands firmly with dear 
brow, sunburnt complexion, brown lustreless eyes, somewhat dull shadows 
on the face, a figure about which one can scarcely say anything either good 
or bad. It is one of the few indifferent works of our master, the only one in 
the gallery which runs the risk of being passed by. 

Soon after the betrothal the prince caught a cold in Saragossa, which 
taking a bad turn brought his young life to a close. When the secretary's 
hand faltered in the attempt to communicate the terrible tidings to the gov- 
ernors, Philip took the pen and wrote to Leganes : " Marquis, — We must all 
of us yield to God's will, and I more than others. It has pleased Him to 
take my son from me about an hour ago. Mine is now such grief as you 
can conceive at such a loss ; but also full resignation in the hand of God, and 
courage and resolution to provide for the defence of my lands, for they also 
are my children, and if we have lost one we must preserve the others ; and so 
I beseech you not to relax in the operations of this campaign until Lerida 
is relieved, as I trust in the Lord. From here you shall be energetically 
supported." Well may Giustiniani have remarked that the king might have 
sought a more suitable occasion to display his command over the affections ! 

With this death the fate of dynasty and monarchy was sealed. Doubtless 
fifteen years later the ruler, broken down with age and ailments, saw the 
birth of yet another heir, who also bore the ominous name of Carlos. But 
what a contrast between the feeble, languid figure of this ** child of old age," 
also frequently depicted by painters, and the blithe, lively youth, who had 
perished in his prime I The manly sports and exercises, in which the one 
displayed such skill and delight, acted depressingly on the other, a weakling 
more suited for tonsure and cowl than for the crown placed on his head within 
five years of his birth. One a young life, wasted by " the worm in the bud," 
the other an " apple rotten at the heart." 

Town Views : Saragossa. 

In the year 1645 Philip had taken the crown prince northwards to receive 
the customary homage of the Navarrese and Aragonese states, which was to be 
followed by the betrothal. In August the privileges of Aragon were solemnly 
confirmed by him in the Seo at Saragossa. As a reminiscence of these days 

Digitized by 


Saragossa. 329 

Philip commissioned Velazquez' son-in-law, Mazo, to prepare a view of the 
city with figures representing the royal suite. The point of view, said to have 
been chosen by Don Balthasar himself, lies on the left bank of the Ebro, 
below the stone bridge in the Altab^s suburb, and according to the local 
tradition in the rich monastery of San Lazaro, a foundation of King James 
the Conqueror. This structure was destroyed during the War of Inde- 
pendence (1808-9) ^>ut it stood near the site of the present railway station. 

This view of Saragossa (p8o x 3 '31 metres) is the best landscape left 
us by Mazo, painted with a clearness and conscientiousness that reminded 
Stirling-Maxwell of Canaletto. It gives us not only a true picture of 
the ancient Aragonese capital, that genuine type of old Spanish towns, 
but also an "instantaneous photograph" of the varied company at the 
time grouped round the sovereign. 

Although Mazo has introduced his own name alone in the Latin inscrip- 
tion,* certain critics have been led to conclude on strong internal evidence 
that the numerous figures are by the hand of Velazquez himself. They 
seemed in fact too good for Mazo. Nevertheless, a closer comparison might 
perhaps show that Velazquez' peculiar touch and coloration cannot here be 
recognized with absolute certainty. 

Under a deep-blue sky, broken by thin streaks of clouds, and higher up 
by a few light cumuli^ the mighty stream rolls down its dark-green volume, 
now at its lowest summer level, animated by craft with violet awnings and 
sails. But it has left a memorial of its fierce periodical ravages in the old 
seven-arched bridge erected in the fifteenth century (1437). The great 
central arch, with a span of one hundred and thirty feet, had been swept 
away during the floods of March 1643, and the costly repairs had met a 
similar fate in the February of the present year (1645). Many houses and 
convents were washed away, and the traces of all this devastation are seen 
in the picture, where the bridge is the most conspicuous object. 

Beyond the river the city spreads out from west to east with its tall 
belfries, massive palaces with their lofty galleries and watch-towers, huge 
churches looming up above the sea of houses, a prospect closely resembling 
^hose of mediaeval Italian towns. Even still in a period of decadence, 
symbolized by the broken arch in mid-stream, the spirit of that once 
powerful and highly-endowed race speaks eloquently through these stones 
of dogged energy, followed by indolent neglect. 

»This inscripti on ru ns:— IVSSV / PHILIPPl. MAX. HISP. REGIS / lOANNES 

Digitized by 


330 Velazquez. 

The stone bridge, lying on the main highway between Madrid and 
Barcelona, leads to the Puerta del angel^ a strong gateway flanked by two 
buttressed towers ; between two balconied windows is seen a picture of the 
tutelary angel. Here a coach-and-six is approaching, followed by a long line 
of pedestrians. It is the king, seen as usual only in the distance, returning 
to the palace, that large building standing out on the left of the gate with 
high tiled roof and balconies, decked with arras hangings. This was the old 
residence of the Aragonese kings, now the archiepiscopal palace. Behind it 
rises the Seo, with cupola disfigured by wooden acroteria. 

On the opposite side of the gate is seen the municipal consistory, 
connected with which is the Lonja (Exchange), recognized by its four corner 
towers, a grand pile completed in 155 1. The site of the Pilar, the foundation 
stone of which was not laid till 1686, is here occupied by the modest church 
of Sta. Maria la Mayor. Further east rises the famous leaning tower (Torre 
nueva) of San Felipe, three hundred and twelve Castilian feet high, whose 
singular ornamentation commemorates the fact that Christians, Jews 
and Moors co-operated in its erection. Then follows San Pablo with 
its slender Gothic belfry, and lastly, beyond the town walls, the massive 
Moorish citadel of the Aljaferia, where St. Elizabeth of Portugal saw the 
light in 1 27 1. 

Brick being here the only building material everything has a pale, dusty 
tone. Nothing can be imagined more dreary and inhospitable than these 
river banks, whose clayey bareness is unrelieved by a single tree. And here 
the artist has conjured up a motley company, whose picturesque Court and 
national costumes supply the place of flowery meads. Some groups linger 
below by the waterside ; but the chief persons are higher up, probably 
in the convent garden, shut off from the promenade by a wall with 
crumbling parapets. They are disposed some in groups, some (the ladies) 
seated on carpets spread out on the grass, or else are sauntering down to the 

All whose faces are shown are portraits, some of which recall figures 
in the hunting- pieces and in the Louvre Group. On the left we notice a 
tall ecclesiastic, and very striking is the young blonde cavalier in a stiff 
red cloak standing apart and looking in the distance, horse and equerry 
not far off*. The head had evidently been intentionally injured or effaced, 
and had to be repainted. In the left corner front is seated a trim fruit- 
woman in provincial garb (blue smock, broad white sleeves, a rose in her 
bosom) selling peaches. Of low-born persons mendicants alone enjoy the 
privilege of intruding on this company. Here we have the esprit of Callot, 
the truth and variety of Hogarth, and Van Dyck's aristocratic air. 

Digitized by 


Pamplona. 331 

The picture thus consists of four sections disposed horizontally — the 
still, luminous' sky, the expanse of grey houses, the dark green limpid 
stream, and its margin occupied by motley groups. To this stillness and 
gaiety is presented a contrast, one however which lies beyond the visible 
horizon, seen rather in the crowded memories of destructive floods in past 
years, of the present storms of war in the East, and of the former great- 
ness of the metropolis of the North Spanish kingdom. The decaying 
city with its modern visitors, the frivolous listless Court company of 
Philip IV., gives us a picture of times when States are founded and 
when States are lost. 

This scene, which was to be a souvenir of the crown prince's brightest 
days, could not fail to awaken painful feelings in after times. Hence the 
painting, completed after his death, was never hung in the royal apart- 
ments, but relegated to the passages over the Treasury. In Palomino's 
time it was in the gallery leading to the Encamacion. 

The Fortress of Pamplona. 

A hitherto enigmatical painting, which assuredly owed its orgin to 
the same journey of the Court to the north, is now in Apsley House 
(CuriiSf 61: "Landscape — a festival near a fortress, about 18 x 24 inches"). 
Here also we have a prospect, but one of a stronghold surrounded by 
lofty mountains; a royal procession in the mid-distance moving towards / 
the gateway, and in front a festive company diversified with figures in 
provincial costume. Although Thor6 calls it a masterpiece, it is not by 
the hand of the master, but apparently a production of his school. It is 
painted on coarse canvas, and despite the crude application of the pig- 
ments the varied details of figures and landscape are characteristically 
determined and can be recognized. 

Now we learn from the inventory of 1686 that in the time of Charles II. 
a picture hung in the passage over the Treasury, representing ** the fortress 
of Pamplona, with landscape and many inhabitants of that district looking 
at the entry of Philip IV., with the arms of Navarra." It was valued 
at four hundred doubloons, one hundred more than the view of Sara- 
gossa, and it was again seen by Cean Bermudez in the Cuarto del 
Rey of the new palace. It may possibly be still somewhere stowed 
away amongst the lumber of the Prado Gallery inaccessible to ordinary 

Anyhow this picture was four ells wide and nearly as high, con- 

Digitized by 



sequently it cannot be the work in Apsley House. In the latter also 
instead of the Navarrese arms we see above, within a heavy wreath of 
flowers and fruits, a shield with wheel supported by two cherubs. Hence 
this can only be either a first sketch or a reduced replica. 

The work had its origin in the king's visit to Pamplona in the spring 
of 1646 to hold the Cortes of Navarra, at which homage was to be paid 
to the crown prince after confirmation of the statutes of the kingdom, 
and requisition made for a contribution of three hundred men and money. 
As the requisition had been refused by the stubborn Navarrese " Home 
Rulers," Philip, as related by the Venetian envoy, had returned in anger 
to Saragossa the day after the act of homage. Then this picture was 
painted as a memento of one of the last incidents in the life of Don 
Balthasar. ■ 

We learn further from a document in the palace archives {Museum 
Catalogue^ 443) that Don Francisco Borgia had recommended for the 
purpose the painter Mazo, who was to receive two hundred crowns travelling 
expenses in order to proceed to Pamplona and "paint the view of that 
city and citadel." On the picture itself, however, we see the citadel alone, 
which stood in the south-east over against the St. Nicholas Gate, on the 
spot where the basilica of St Ignatius Loyola was consecrated in the year 
1694. For it was here that the Guipuzcoan hidalgo ^ Don Iftigo Lopez de 
Recalde, had receiyed the memorable wound, on recovering from which he 
exchanged the sword for the cowl, and became the founder of the Order of 
the Jesuits. 

Here is unfolded the view of a broad river valley some seven miles in 
circumference, with a triple coronet of lofty hills, which are wooded on the 
right, and on the left fall abruptly with rugged ravined slopes. Beyond 
a saddle-back miles away there still towers a blue mountain range. 

Within the stout ramparts and flooded moats of the stronghold the 
ground is laid out with garden plots and some scattered houses, while 
close to the ditch on the left a path leads to the main gateway in the 
centre. Along this track two coaches, one a six- the other a four- in-hand, 
are driving between dense rows of spectators. 

The foreground is occupied by an animated motley throng, conspicuous 
amongst whom is a circle of eighteen ladies and gentlemen on the left, 
linked with pocket-handkerchiefs and dancing a " merry-go-round." It was 
the custom for ladies to dance in gloved hands except with the king, and 
princesses with grandees in the manner here represented. 

Further in front is a gentleman, perhaps the crown prince, in red 
doublet and plumed hat, mounted on a prancing horse, and surrounded 

Digitized by 


The Conversation. 


by seven others in black Court dress, four of them bareheaded. In the 
centre of the foreground are three ladies seated on the grass, and round 
about women in the Navarrese costume, with white tocas like the head- 
dress worn by the Roman campagnuole. 

The Conversation. 

No words need be wasted to show that the choice work depicting a 
collection of thirteen Spanish cavaliers full-length, now in the Louvre,* 
does not represent so many Spanish painters, as is often assumed. It 
can scarcely even be regarded as an independent work at all, or as the 
sketch for a pendant, for instance, to some group of Dutch sharpshooters. 
It is rather a collection of studies for groups of spectators suitable for 
such works as the View of Saragossa and the royal hunting parties, 
unless it be the fragment of some large painting that has disappeared. 


A couple are distinctly seen turning towards the background, one of 
them waving his hat, the only manifestation of feeling betrayed by any 
of the assembly. Another, on the left, has just stepped up to those two 
distinguished persons, one of whom places his hand confidentially on his 
shoulder, and explains the state of affairs. The majority, however, some 

* This little work was presented by Don Gabriel, son of Charles III., to the Duchess 
of Alba. After passing through several hands it was acquired for the Louvre by 
Laneuville for six thousand five hundred francs in 185 1. 

Digitized by 


334 Velazquez. 

seven or eight, turn their backs on the spectacle, as in some of the 
hunting scenes, and take the opportunity of exchanging ideas or passing 
remarks on the actors in the arena. Even when out of hearing, we do 
not willingly face the subject of our comments. 

The grouping of this leisurely company seems to be carefully studied, 
although the general connection of the five several circles is loose 
enough. No one troubles himself about his neighbours in the other 
groups, which are figured at varying though slight distances in the 
perspective. A gradual falling off in social rank may be noticed in the 
direction from left to right, those on the left mostly wearing their hats, 
and conducting themselves more listlessly; these are also more elderly 

The picture is an authentic document on the subject of good manners 
and the becoming demeanour of well-bred Spaniards on such public 
occasions, where each individual regarded himself as the cynosure of all 
eyes. Hence this seeming indifference, this ignoring of others, who are 
none the less carefully considered in every gesture, glance, and attitude 
The fourth figure from the left takes the pose in which the king had 
himself frequently painted 

Quite similar groups of courtiers, which however cannot be mere 
studies for larger works, occur in two small pictures, that are said to 
have come originally from the Madrid Alcazar. They are not mentioned 
in the royal inventories ; but Stirling-Maxwell (iii., 1408) states that 
they were brought to England by Mr. Bourke, Danish Minister to Spain, 
about the year 1 8 14, and were exhibited by him at the British Institu- 
tion in 1 8 16. At present they are in the Marquis of Lansdowne's 
country seat, Bowood, Wilts. ^ 

Here the scenery is not a park, but a rural district, although the 
figures instead of wearing hunting or travelling garb, appear in gorgeous 
Court costumes. They are merely portraits, and evidently in very studied 
situations. How greatly would their charm be enhanced, did we but 
possess the clue to the incident 1 

The first group transports us to a broad glen, with a slope on the 
left caused by erosion of the surface soil; here is seated a woman with 
a child on the grass. In the distance rises an imposing summit in 
irregular lines, while to the right the landscape merges behind some 
dark brushwood in an expanse like a marine surface. In the green glen 
two rivers meet. A cavalier in deep red doublet and hose with wide 

• Curtis, 53, 54; Waagen Treasures iii., 164. 

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The Conversation. 335 

slashed yellow sleeves, mounted on a stout black horse, rides straight 
from the background towards a second awaiting him on a bay piebald 
animal, and wearing a light blue doublet. A third on foot in the 
foreground to the right in a wide leather doublet and riding-boots has 
placed his plumed hat on a large stone in front. 

In the second and richer picture we see beyond the mead a shady 
valley with sparkling streaks of water; in the middle a mountain range 
with a deep saddle-back, at the foot of which is a town, and in the 
distance a blue crest. 

In the middle of the field an aristocratic lady is seated on the grass. 
She wears a rough grey-green wrap, which serves the purpose of our 
modem dust-cloaks, for underneath we catch sight of the flaming red 
gown with wide gold braid. Her head is enveloped in a black man- 
tilla; in her right hand she holds an unfurled fan, while the left is 
coquettishly withdrawing the mantilla from one eye, thus letting a ray of 
light fall on this comer of the face. The glance is directed towards the 
cavalier to the right, who is addressing her, and who wears a pale red 
doublet with wide falling lace collar; his left hand, holding a pair of 
long yellow gauntlets, rests on his sword-belt. 

Near this chief figure a second young cavalier, in a stiff blue cloak 
and top-boots, stands somewhat aside, looking straight out of the canvas. 
Behind the young lady is seated an elderly dame in dark costume, a 
duenOf towards whom an elderly cavalier holds out his hand. He is 
wrapped in a loose brown mantle, and his strongly wrinkled olive- 
coloured features interest us despite their ugliness. 

That the lady belongs to the Court is evident from the figures of 
two Court dwarfs in loud motley gala dress on her left. The ntfio de 
coria showing his plump figure from behind, wears a blue smock with 
wide silver trimmings, fiery red slashed trunk-hose and sleeves to match. 
His head is turned directly towards the lady, at whom he points \vith a 
jeer. Beside him is his comrade, no taller but more shapely, laying his 
hand condescendingly on the other's shoulder. He wears doublet and 
hose of a yellow brocaded fabric. In the mid-distance is still another 
slightly sketched group. 

That these scenes originated in the Court of Philip IV. is beyond 
question. The name of Velazquez will occur to everybody, but chiefly, 
no doubt, because the figures belong to types represented by him. A closer 
examination raises many doubts, and the transparent grey tone of the 
landscape, the outlines of the mountains, the somewhat scanty foliage 
are certainly suspicious. The elegant, party-coloured figures in a light 

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336 Velazquez. 

hazy landscape treated with glazing suggest the name of Wouwerman. 
Mention has also been made of that famous Dutchman Terborch, who had 
been to Madrid and painted at the Court, although nothing of his has 
ever yet turned up there. 

Both pictures have been enlarged on all sides, but most above, and 
the marks of the original square frame running close to the groups are 
still quite perceptible. The i>ainting, however, has been uniformly retouched, 
and is now covered with tiny cracks, apparently in consequence of 
repainting by another and later hand which had for its object to render 
these sketches suitable for public galleries. * 

' The Landscape in The Hague Gallery (No. 258) is wrongly ascribed by Thor6 to 

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Occasion of the Journey. 

A FIRST visit to Rome never fails to leave a yearning to return, at least 
amongst those worthy of entering the Eternal City. The second 
visit is then also not seldom the most enjoyable and profitable. Such a 
yearning, possibly combined with the anticipation of here still enjoying 
some of the most brilliant and eventful days of his life, drew our artist, 
now in his fiftieth year, once more to the land where, two decades previously, 
he had experienced the delight in store for contemplative minds amid 
the Art and antiquities of Rome, in the freedom of a place where everything 
is pervaded by an air of grandeur. 

That first trip had had study mainly for its object; the second was 
at least officially a business affair, although the secret motive was doubtless 
the desire to revisit the scenes now endeared to him. Under the improved 
relations of Spain with the papacy, he may have also perhaps wished to 
establish a more friendly footing with the Roman Court and society, and 
present himself as a perfected artist in that great arena of all talents. 

The mission, which served as the pretext for his long conge\ was 
connected with his present official position as director of the works 
undertaken to partly rebuild the Madrid Alcazar. Of late years several 
old apartments had been fitted up afresh and some splendid additions made. 
Their pictorial embellishments could scarcely be entrusted to natives, 
especially since the names of two decorative painters, just then very popular 
in Italy, had reached Madrid. Fresh Art treasures were also needed for the 
new apartments, some of which were now being converted into a veritable 
Pinakothek ; and as for such treasures Madrid was a very humble market, 
compared with Venice and Rome, Velazquez readily undertook to procure 
them in Italy. 

In March 1647 he had been appointed inspector and paymaster of the 
works connected with the octagonal apartment over the main entrance and 
new flight of steps, where the *'01d Tower" had been pulled down. For 

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340 Velazquez. 

the adornment of this as well as of other apartments, statues, casts from 
the antique, bronzes and the like were needed quite as much as paintings. 
Hence the purchase of such plastic works naturally came within the scope 
of his mission to Italy. 

It has been suggested that the main object of the journey was to 
procure the materials required for a projected *' Royal Academy " of 
painters. But this suggestion, for it is nothing more, probably rests on 
the circumstance that certain casts after Velazquez* modelling subse- 
quently found their way to the academy founded by Philip V. According 
to Jusepe Martinez such an institution had already been proposed in the 
time of Philip III. by Carducho, at whose advice the painters of the 
capital had drawn up a memorial embodying a series of statutes. On 
the accession of Philip IV. the project was again discussed, and encouraged 
by Olivares. A programme had been framed, embracing lectures, prizes, 
diplomas ; but its realization, which had been also favoured by the Castilian 
Cortes, fell through owing to the " discordant views " of the painters 

Velazquez left Madrid in November 1648, and as war was still raging 
in Catalonia and the plague was rife in Alicante, Valencia and Seville, 
he embarked at Malaga on January 2, 1649. The sea voyage was not 
free from danger, owing especially to the French privateers, who the next 
year captured a Spanish ship with Don Juan's secretary and despatches 
of the nunzio on the route between Alicante and Genoa. 

Our artist joined the suite of the Spanish envoy, who was proceeding 
to Trent to receive the new queen, Mariana of Austria. Landing on 
February nth at Genoa, Velazquez again passed on without delay through 
Milan and Padua to Venice, tarrying only in the Lombard capital long 
enough to give a hasty glance to Leonardo's Last Supper and some of 
the churches. 

Picture-dealing in Venice. 

Amongst the distinguished persons of all nationalities, who at that 
time visited Venice as one of the gayest cities in Europe, there were not 
a few provided with the means of purchasing paintings. For this " com- 
modity " the " Queen of the Adriatic " was the chief mart, amongst other 
reasons because in the seventeenth century the Venetian school itself 
held the foremost place in general estimation. Besides Italian and foreign 
artists, the European potentates, Charles 1. of England, Philip IV., 
Ferdinand II. of Tuscan}^ Christina of Sweden, the Archduke Leopold 
William, were all eager to secure specimens of this school. 

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Picture-dealing in Venice. 341 

Some reigning princes even personally visited the place, amongst them 
Duke Francis II. of Modena (1648), Anthony Ulrich of Brunswick (1656), 
the Marquis Charles II. of Mantua (1660). The Dutch painter, Daniel 
Beck, came as agent for the Swedish queen, giving out that she had some 
lofty plans in view. Rumours were afloat of two painters about to be 
sent by the emperor ; and in his poem dedicated to the Archduke Leopold, 
Marco Boschini speaks of the hunters coming from all quarters, spreading 
out their nets, and spending gold lavishly in order to carry off "our 

But if Velazquez fancied one had only to appear in the market with 
a long purse in order to get the first offer of works by Titian or Veronese, 
he was soon undeceived. The wares did not wait for buyers, but on the 
contrary buyers had to wait very patiently for the wares. Scarcely a single 
historical piece by Titian was any longer to be had, though a portrait turned 
up now and then, fetching one hundred doubloons or so if the hands were 
shown. The picture of a doge, perhaps Landi (ob. 1545), was the chief 
attraction in the Senator Landi's collection, which was bought by the 
Widmans for three thousand two hundred ducats in 1656. 

In order to pick up bargains it was necessary to be on the spot, or else 
to be represented by some thoroughly experienced agent, half connoisseur, 
half dealer, who could be on the look-out for the good things thrown on 
the market by the pecuniary difficulties of a nobleman, the secularization 
of a convent, the caprices of an abbess or a cure') a person in the con- 
fidence of the Art Shylocks, and not above accompanying them in disguise 
through the halls of some ancient palace. The chronicles tell us little 
of the countless *' knowing ones," who were always discovering apocryphal 
Leonardos, Correggios, Holbeins, Giorgiones. The great Pietro da Cortona 
himself on one occasion bought a sham Veronese for Cardinal Bichi. 

But whoever possessed a really wideawake representative in Venice 
might doubtless with princely means in twenty years or so scrape together 
a princely collection. Such brokers were Niccol6 Rinieri, owner of some 
fine Veroneses and Bassanos ; and Paolo del Sera, a wealthy trader and 
collector, who had a house on the Grand Canal, and who had taken lessons 
in painting from Prete Genovese. He was agent for Ferdinand IL of 
Tuscany, and whenever anything choice had . to be parted with he had 
always the first offer "in the strictest confidence." But strangers rarely 
presented themselves who were able to come to terms with these men. 
Sera, as he said himself, wanted a king's ransom for his "Old Curiosity 
Shop," and he received it from Archduke Leopold. Shortly before Velaz- 
quez' arrival one of VincenzQ Grimani Calerge's three sons and heirs sold 

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342 Velazquez. 

to a Genoese a trapestry, after a cartoon by Raphael, for which the Earl 
of Arundel had previously offered ten thousand ducats. 

Of paintings purchased by our master Palomino specifies four, the best 
doubtless being a Venus and Adonis by Veronese, who had several times 
treated that subject; it is now in the Prado (No. 526). Others were 
two works in distemper, scenes from the life of Christ, one the Healing 
of the Blind Mto, "a marvel of Art," which he did not venture to 
expose to the risk of transport Of works of Tintoretto he brought 
back, besides the Conversion of Paul (?), a ceiling-piece from the history 
of Moses, representing the Purification of the Daughters of the Midianites 
(No. 415), and lastly a Gloria abounding in figures (No. 428), a finished 
sketch of Tintoretto's chief work in the Gran Consiglio. 

Boschini, who on this occasion made Velazquez' acquaintance, and who 
describes him as the mirror of a distinguished and courteous cavalier, 
tells us that the last-mentioned was his most cherished prize. The poet 
met him one day in the ducal palace lost in admiration of the artistic 
grouping and animation of the figures in this stupendous work. ** This 
picture alone," he declared, " would suffice -to immortalize that painter ; 
it seems like the labour of a generation." 

Boschini tells us further that Velazquez laid out altogether twelve 
thousand crowns for five paintings ; but besides the Paradise, he men- 
tions two Titians and two Veroneses. It seemed rather poor gleanings^ 
but "there was nothing further to be had." 

Nevertheless Velazquez showed sound judgment enough, when he 
assured the king before leaving Madrid that, if sent to Italy, he would 
be able to secure some of the best things **by Titian, Paolo Veronese, 
Bassano, Raphael, Parmigiano and the like. For there are few princes 
who possess pictures by these masters, and least of all to such an extent 
as Your Majesty shall acquire through my zeal." * But unfortunately he 
arrived too soon, as appeared from the records of the Venetian picture 
market for the next few years. 

Thus some of the first masterpieces were unexpectedly offered for sale 
in 1657, when the republic, with the consent of Pope Alexander VII., 
suppressed the religious Orders of the Crociferi and the Holy Ghost, 
sequestrating their estates to defray the expenses of the Turkish war. 
Amongst these masterpieces were Titian's Descent of the Holy Ghost 
and Tintoretto's Marriage of Cana (1561), a wonder of golden light full 
of the most lovely female heads. Even before the publication of the bull 
dissolving the Crociferi, this work, which hung in their refectory, was 
* Jusepe Martinez: Discursos practicadles, p. 118. 

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Naples in 1649. -343 

secretly offered for sale to the Florentine Court (March 1656). The 
provincial, however (Pater Barbaro), wanted four thousand silver crowns, 
whereas the grand duke would not bid higher than fifteen hundred piastres, 
and meantime the bull appeared followed by the intervention of the republic. 
Ultimately Tintoretto's Marriage Feast was secured for the Salute. 

Naples in 1649. 

Scarcely had Velazquez reached Rome when he had to start for 
Naples in order to present his letters of recommendation to the viceroy, 
Count Oftate. In these letters the viceroy was instructed to further in 
every way the objects of his journey, and a notice in Passeri's Lives of 
the Painters (p. 267) throws some light on the nature of those objects. 
They had reference more especially to certain plaster castings and some 
bronzes after the antique, and as these objects were not despatched to 
Madrid till 1652, it is probable that Velazquez -had not to prepare the 
castings, but only to select the antiques from which they were taken. 

On this occasion he renewed his acquaintance with Jusepe Ribera. 
Twenty years had elapsed since their first meeting, twenty years which 
for both had been the greater and more fruitful half of their artistic 
career. What a series of creations had been despatched from Ribera's 
studio to distant lands during those two decades! There was the great 
Immaculate Conception executed in 1635 for Monterey, followed in 1637 
by the incomparable Piet^ for San Martino, a work before which, as an 
embodiment of the solemn majesty of grief, all similar representations of 
the century sink to mere theatrical spectacles. 

Then had come the stimulating times, when Domenichino appeared on 
the scene, in order to teach the Neapolitans what monuniental painting 
meant. Ribera, who was no fresco painter, made no attempt to rival 
him in this department. Nevertheless he desired to show that he too 
had at his command what those North Italians regarded as a monopoly 
of their grand style. It was then (1643) that he painted the Holy 
Family with St. Catharine for Genoa, now in Stratton Park. It is a 
genial family group, in which both women, drawn with a delicacy and 
nobility of outline, breathe a spirit of grandeur, grace and subdued 
fervour that cause us reluctantly to tear ourselves from the picture. 

Next year Ribera received the Cross of the papal Order of Christ, 
and in 1646 he was gratified with the commission to paint one of the 
altar-pieces for the Chapel of the Tesoro, an honour much coveted by 
contemporary artists. The subject was the Martyrdom of St. Gennaro, 
a work which stands here as an eloquent monument over against 

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344 Velazquez. 

Domenichino's feeble performances aloft in the lunettes of the cupola. His 
opponents had here expected a gloomy execution scene, and he gave 
them a glorified, calmly triumphant figure, a poem in light and colour. 

But the fates, which had steadfastly befriended Ribera for well-nigh 
thirty years, had now in store for him a crushing blow. He had two 
charming daughters, the same whose features we so often meet in his 
pictures of holy w^omen. Maria Rosa, the younger, was then in the full 
bloom of her beauty, and so lately as 1646 he had used her as his model 
for a very large painting of the Conception destined for the high altar of 
the new church in the Convent of Sta. Isabella in Madrid. 

The following year witnessed the revolt headed by Masaniello, when 
Philip's natural son, Don Juan de Austria 11., was sent to Italy. During 
his busy life in Naples Don Juan made the acquaintance of Ribera, who 
painted his equestrian portrait and multiplied it by an etching (1648). 
But his first and last contact with a member of the ruling dynasty 
proved fatal for the Spanish artist From his native land he had never 
expected any boon, and years before had expressed himself to that effect 
** Sp>ain," he was wont to say, " is a tender mother for strangers, but a 
hard stepmother for her own children." Hence his determination never 
to quit Naples, acting on the Spanish maxim : Quien esid bien no se mueva 
("Let well alone"). 

But now Maria Rosa fell a victim to the seductive wiles of Don Juan, 
who removed her to a nunnery in Palermo. The grief of the stem father 
is said to have bordered on despair. He cursed himsejf, for his vanity 
had been the occasion of his daughter's being thrown with the young 
prince, whom Ribera had once ventured to invite to an evening enter- 
tainment. According to the local tradition he now withdrew to a country 
house at Posilippo, whence he soon after disappeared. His paintings, 
however, bearing his signature down to the year 1652, as well as this 
visit of Velazquez, make it evident that he survived the catastrophe at ail 
events a few years. The works dating from this period betray a maturit}' 
of finish and a depth of feeling, which show that his mental powers had 
not been impaired by sorrow. The St. Sebastian in the Naples Museum is 
the last and most glorified replica of this tlieme so often treated by him ; 
but here the transfiguration takes place after death. In the Shepherds 
now in the Louvre he seems to have sought consolation in his affliction by 
giving the features of his lost daughter to the Virgin gazing heavenwards. 

Then came the song of the dying swan, his Last Supper in San 
Martino, richest in . figures and most artistic of all his compositions. Here 
his youthful impressions of Titian's glorious colouration are again revived. 

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Rome in 1650. 345 

combined with an expression of sacramental devotion unrivalled in its 
truth and depth of feeling, in the dignity and solemnity of the attitudes. 

A daughter, issue of the unhallowed union, obtained admission to the 
Royal Convent of Barefoot Nuns in Madrid, where so many ladies of the 
House of Habsburg lived and died. 

Rome in 1650. 

Velazquez entered the Eternal City on the eve of the Universal Jubilee, 
which, thanks to the restoration of peace, was more numerously attended 
than usual. Amongst the swarms of pilgrims that flocked to Rome on 
this occasion, besides princes and nobles, there were also many sinister 
figures, who after the suppression of the Masaniello riots had passed into 
the Papal States, thence occasionally raiding into Neapolitan territory. A 
band had even for a time pitched their tents in the Coliseum, while others 
found refuge in the palace of the French ambassadors, who also extended 
their right of asylum over the neighbouring houses. Here were lodged 
hundreds of these " Masanielli," as they were called ; and Cardinal 
Barberini, who in 1648 had introduced the first Frendh wigs into Rome, 
was now dubbed // principe di Casa Masaniello, 

Then the fury of the Roman populace was fanned by the Spanish 
enlisting agents, who with the sanction of the government carried on their 
operations in a high-handed way. They even fell upon the pilgrims; but 
the peasantry with their silver-ferruled staves were a sturdy race, and 
when a troop of- these pious folk were on one occasion attacked in the 
Piazza San Pietro, with the aid of the populace they overpowered the 
recruiting officers, and carried them off to prison. Thereupon Don Pasquino 
uttered the threat : " Rome also produces its ' Masanielli.' " 

In short, the Holy City was a classic land for the study of military 
subjects. The Italian national sentiment had altogether been deeply stirred 
by the Neapolitan outbreak, and just then the position of the Spaniards 
in Rome was none of the pleasantest. The pope himself was at heart a 
good Italian. During the Venetian contest with the papacy he once 
exclaimed : " It is impossible for the ecclesiastics ever to forget their duty 
to their country; the voice of Nature is too strong. We have ourselves 
experienced it in our own person: when, on our arrival from Spain, we 
entered this city by night, we hastened to throw open our palace window, * 
in order at the sight of the Piazza Navona and of Pasquino^ to enjoy 
the return to our fatherland." 

^ The famous torso named after Pasquino, the tailor, stands at the converging point 
of two streets opening on the Piazza. 


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346 Velazquez. 

This pope had censured as impolitic and inhuman the sanguinary 
repressive measures of Don Juan of Austria, and the very force of 
circumstances generally alienated him from the Spanish party. The sight 
of the envoy, first of the Portuguese clergy, and then of the "Tyrant," 
(that is, John IV. of Braganza), driving down the Corso had filled the 
Spaniards with sullen rage, which presently found vent in bloody brawls. 

Even at Court they were regarded with feelings akin to hatred. The 
Spanish agent Ameyden, questioned as to the character of the Duke of 
Arcos by the prelates and cavaliers assembled in the ante-chamber during 
that ambassador's first audience, answered that he was "clean of hands, 
a justice (Justiciero^ as the people had called Peter the Cruel), and 
courteous." "Oh! as to that," he had to hear in reply, "other Spanish 
ministers had occasionally been seen of clean hands and just, but courteous 
never," * 

A copper-plate lies before us by the Marseillese Dominique Barri^re in 
the taste of Callot, which vividly illustrates an event that occurred in this 
year 1650, and in which Velazquez himself may well be supposed to have 
taken a leading part. It represents the feast held at dawn on April 17, 
Easter Sunday, by the Confraternity of the Glorious Resurrection, founded 
in 1579, and comprising the Spanish colony in Rome presided over by 
the ambassador and Ferdinand Brandano, oficial mayor of the papal 
secretariat f of whom Velazquez made a portrait. 

The perspective shows the whole of the Piazza Navona seen from the 
south-east comer. This most characteristic of Roman squares, used as a 
market since 1477, owes its present conformation to Pope innocent X., who 
was bom on the spot, and who here erected the Palazzo Pamfili with the 
contiguous church and the obelisk, the latter bearing the date 1651. These 
constitute the more solid architectural features amid the varied festive 
scenes, temporary triumphal arches, processions, fireworks, and illumina- 
tions figured on the engraving. 

The Jubilee had also caused a stir in Art circles. For some time 
back great efforts were being made to have everything ready for the in- 
augurations and unveilings that were to take place on this occasion. Fore- 
most amongst these was the interior of St. Giovanni Laterano modernized 
by Borromini, of whom it was boasted that, without touching sustaining 
walls, ground plan or hallowed memorials of the past, he had made this 
basilica so much more pleasing, richer and lighter than before. Prince 
Ludovisi also managed to get completed the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola 
with Algardi's facade. St. Peter's had received its marble pavement, the 
* Diario di Ameyden, January 25, 1646. 

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Rome in 1650. 347 

marble dressing of its side aisles and other embellishments. Lastly, the 
Campidoglio Museum was op)ened in accordance with Michael Angelo's 
original design for the new Capitol. 

In other respects the economic times of the Pamfili were rather " years 
of dearth" for the Art world, which sorely missed the liberality and 
fostering hand of the Barberini. Doubtless Innocent X.'s nephew, Camillo, 
who had been a cardinal for a twelvemonth, and had then married Olimpia 
Aldobrandini, the richest heiress in Rome, gave painters and sculptors 
more than enough to do ; but he was a bad paymaster, and had even 
gone to law with Mola over a disputed fee. All the suggestions for 
projected works came from his mother, who held the strings of the papal 
purse with a tight hand. Hence foremost amongst these projects were 
those associated with the glorification of the Pamfili family, the Piazza 
Navona with its palace, church and fountain, and the Villa Bel Respiro 
on the Janiculum, the finest and largest gardens of the century. 

Doubtless the pope himself now and then showed a lively interest and 
sound judgment in matters of Art ; but he cared as little for painters as he 
did for men of letters. He was wont to remark that he disliked having 
to do with painters, at whose hands he had never experienced aught but 
annoyance and deception. 

Velazquez' Relations to the Roman Artists. 

In the Roman Art circles even then all imaginable types were represented 
— Bohemians, fops, idealists, and "Odd Fellows." In Passeri's Lives we 
see them not only at work in the studio, but going about their daily 
pursuits, and seem to hear their very voices. Amongst the foremost were 
such "melancholy Jaques" as the unhappy Pietro Testa, // Lucchesino (born 
at Lucca 161 7), whose body was found in the Tiber on Ash Wednesday of 
the Jubilee year — a spirited etcher, but no painter; the uneducated and 
greedy Michael Angelo Cerquozzi (born 1602), battle and genre painter; 
the Roman Angelo Caroselli, who imitated Caravaggio to the life, who 
conducted himself like a lazzarone, and who painted his highly finished 
pieces in the society of buxom wenches. 

Guercino, who also strictly speaking belonged to this category, had long 
withdrawn to his retreat at Cento, where commissions from all parts had 
to follow him. 

The transition to the next group is formed by the swaggerers and 
fire-eaters, such as the sculptor Francesco Baratta of Massa, who was at 
that time jointly engaged with Claude Adam (eldest of this family of 

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348 Velazquez. 

French sculptors) and two Italians on the four colossal river-gods for the 
fountain in the Piazza Navona. 

Then came the Court painters and cavaliers, who, like Algardi, strutted 
or rode through the streets with decorations on doublet and cloak, and 
rapier dangling at their side. Such were Matteo Preti, Lorenzo Bernini, 
and the great fresco painters. These looked with scorn on cabinet 
painters, whose productions circulated among the second-hand dealers, mere 
dilettanti and tavern painters. 

Amid these motley groups there still lingered in solitary grandeur some 
high priests, worshippers of the beautiful and of classic antiquity, such as 
Poussin and the excellent Francis du Quesnoy, whose Susanna, pace 
Winckelmann, is a more charming example of " imitation of Greek works " 
than many executed in accordance with the precepts of this great Art 
teacher. In Salvator Rosa there is something of all these three classes. 

Our Spanish Court painter and royal agent can scarcely have had 
much to do with any except those greater cosmopolitan celebrities. Those 
mentioned by Palomino as associates of Velazquez are without exception 
representatives of the modern style of movement and bravura. 

He may have already met in Madrid the Cavaliere Calabrese^ the best 
travelled of contemporary painters, who by his thirtieth year had 
already visited S[>ain, Paris, and the Low Countries, who had made the 
acquaintance of Rubens, and since 1642 had been a Knight of St. John. 
Hearing in Venice of Lanfranco's death (1647), he hastened to Rome to 
compete for the frescoes in St. Andrea della Valle left unfinished by him. 
But although he carried off the first prize offered by the Academy of St. 
Luke, Calabrese failed in St. Andrea, because he was so ill-advised by 
Cortona as to attempt to outstrip Domenichino's frescoes in magnitude. 
Later he wanted to revisit Rome in order to pass the sponge over those 
fiascos. The Madrid Palace already possessed of him the Water from the 
Rock and the Infancy of the Baptist, now in the Prado (Nos. 343, 344). 

Pietro Berettini of Cortona had adorned two apartments in the Pamfili 
Palace with scenes from the J£neidf which were much lauded and even made 
the subjects of Flemish tapestries. An anagram was formed from his name 
which read " Corona d^ pittoriy^ and d*Argenville called him the greatest 
painter produced by Tuscany. In the time of Charles II. there was a 
Combat of Gladiators by him in Buen Retiro, and the National Museum 
still possesses his Feast of the Lupercalia (No. 141). 

Velazquez also found here the aged Nicholas Poussin, who in November, 
1642, had returned to Rome, henceforth his true home. In the interval 
since Velazquez' last visit he had sent works to Madrid, and Philip IV. 

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Algardi. 349 

possessed a Purification of the Temple and a St. Laurence by him, which 
appear to have been lost. All the other Poussins now in the Museum date 
only from the time of the Bourbon dynasty. In 1650 he was engaged 
on a Healing of the Man blind from Birth, and on that glorious portrait 
of himself (Louvre, No. 426), with which he was occupied altogether two 
years. This very summer he sent it to his patron, M. de Chantelou, 
together with a copy for his friend Pointel executed by himself. 

The Bolognese Alessandro Algardi (born 1602) patronized by the Pamfili, 
was a person of stately presence, amiable and accommodating, jovial and 
combative. This year 1650 was the culminating point of his career. The 
bronze statue of Innocent X. on the Capitol, which he had wrested from 
the hands of Mocchi, the portraits in the refectory of Trinity dei Pellegrini 
founded to commemorate the foot-washing of the Jubilee pilgrims, and in 
the loggia of the Palazzo Gonfaloniere in Bologna ; the busts of the pope's 
brother Benedetto and of Olimpia in the Doria Gallery, are all by the hand 
of Algardi, whose early death (1654) was deeply regretted by Innocent. 

But Algardi's most admired production was the Leo I. and Attila for the 
altar of St Leo in St. Peter's, the grandest relief of later sculpture, in the 
execution of which in marble his associate Domenico Guidi had a large 
share. Philip IV. received a silver cast after the original model, which was 
set in an architectural mounting of gilt-bronze and lapis lazuli^ the whole 
resting on a lion. 

The part played by Velazquez in connection with this and other works 
prepared by Algardi for the Madrid Court can only be conjectured. The 
Bolognese sculptor may possibly have been consulted by him in the choice 
of the antiques, after which castings were to be taken, and the same artist 
may have supplied him with many objects suited for the new apartments in 
the Alcazar. Algardi*s last works were the four chimney-pieces for the 
king, the wax models for which he finished, and which were cast by 
Domenico Guidi and Ercole Ferrata. 

But the chief event in this Art circle was the restoration of Lorenzo 
Bernini to Court favour. The death of his patron Urban VIII. had been 
the signal for the storm by which the architect of St. Peter's had long been 
threatened, the immediate pretext being the defective structure of one of the 
clock towers, which had to be pulled down. But, thanks to his buoyant 
nature, he survived this disgrace and occupied himself with the lovely 
statue of Truth, like a Rubens in marble, while watching the opportunity 
to triumph over his enemies. 

This opportunity came in connection with the removal (1648) of the 
obelisk formerly in Caracalla's Circus from Capo di Bove to the Piazza 

Digitized by 


3 so Velazquez. 

Navona to form the central piece of the new fountain. Innocent was so 
delighted with Bernini's competitive design for this monumental work, with 
its four river-gods personifying the eternal flow of life and water, that he 
declared it impossible to dispense with this artist's services, adding : *' One 
must not look at his designs unless one is prepared to adopt them." 

A gilt-bronze group after the original model, but surmounted by the 
Spanish arms, was presented to Philip, who also received a cast of Bernini's 
earlier work, the David in the Villa Borghese, besides his Head of Seneca, 
a study after the antique, and the large bronze crucifix for the chapel in 
the Alcazar. 

As this remarkable genius was also one of the most admired portraitists 
amongst contemporary sculptors, one would gladly like to know something 
of his relations with Velazquez. Although both were children of the same 
epoch, the difference in their character and natural bent was fundamental 
^-one a phlegmatic, formal Spaniard, a calm observer averse from applause 
and incapable of courting popularity, the other a fiery, ambitious Neapolitan, 
a man of glowing fancy and restless activity, striving after ever new and 
unheard-of effects. We may fancy how Bernini extolled that portrait in the 
Doria Palace with characteristic hyperbole, and how Velazquez expressed 
his hearty agreement with the sculptor's views on portraiture. 

gernini held that Nature lacked no charm needing the supplemental 
hand of Art ; that Nature knew how to endow the several parts each 
with its own beauty; that for the artist the question was to recognize 
these beauties each in its place. He strove to discover in each subject 
its characteristic qualities, those qualities that Nature had imparted to 
no others. Thus he created those wonderful heads of popes, in which 
we fancy we detect a spirit akin to Velazquez* last style. The resemblance 
lies in the consummate command of the material of their respective Arts, 
in the animation and breadth of treatment, in the intensely vivid yet 
supremely free characterization of the individual. Later such qualities in 
plastic portraiture were continually on the wane, and most of all in the 
period of the so-called renaissance of that Art, as appears nowhere more 
depressingly than in St. Peter's. 

At that time Salvator^-Resa was amongst the chief celebrities of Rome, 
unquestionably the most romantic figure of the contemporary Art world. 
His house on Monte Pincio was the resort of princes and prelates, and 
not a member of the Sacred College but had shown himself there once 
or again. If he walked abroad of an evening, behold him surrounded 
by a throng of admirers — poets, musicians, and singers of the first 
rank; for the great man's nod was an honour eagerly sought by all. 

Digitized by 


Salvator Rosa. 351 

Nevertheless it was an open secret that on the report of Masaniello's 
insurrection he had hastened to Naples; nor had he ever concealed his 
strong patriotic sentiment, a circumstance which may have obliged the 
Spanish Court painter to avoid his society. 

It is noteworthy in this connection that in the Madrid inventories 
of the seventeenth century amongst so many Neapolitan works there is 
not a single painting by Salvator Rosa. Yet this master's landscapes and 
battle-pieces must have greatly interested Velazquez, even though he may 
have smiled at Rosa's conceit that he was a great historical painter 
and that those other things of his were merely passing fancies. The 
Spaniard, who "preferred to be the first amongst subordinate painters 
than second amongst the foremost," never attempted anything beyond his 
powers ; the Neapolitan, blinded by his vanity, exposed himself to public 
derision by historical pieces, whose heroes and saints were mostly 
malignant fiends demeaning themselves like bad actors and painted like 
straw puppets. 

That the two artists were acquainted with one another seems evident 
from the conversation recorded by Boschini which if not verbally may 
at least be substantially correct. Here Velazquez, questioned by Rosa 
as to his opinion of Raphael, whether he did not consider him still the 
best, after all the good and the beautiful he had seen in Italy, is made 
to reply with a somewhat ceremonious shake of the head : " Raphael, 
to be plain with you, for I like to be candid and outspoken, does not 
please me at all." Whereupon Salvator remarked : " In that case there can 
apparently be nobody in Italy to your taste, for to him we yield the 
crown." But Don Diego retorted: "In Venice are found the good and 
the beautiful ; to their brush I give the first place ; it is Titian that 
bears the banner." 

This sentiment is in accord with the painter's two visits to Venice, 
his studies, purchases, and affinity with that school. He and Raphael 
were in a certain sense antipodes. * With Raphael the bias was so 
decidedly towards draughtsmanship, that he might be supposed to be 
better understood from his drawings than from his paintings. But 
of Velazquez we possess extremely few drawings, and those hasty. 

At the same time Raphael may still be duly appreciated and even 
loved by those who may be unwilling to accept him as a model. Here, 
however, Velazquez seems to speak of him harshly, asserting that he 
thought nothing of him. Were this so we should regret it for Velazquez* 
sake. But he may have possibly expressed himself somewhat differently, 
or Salvator may have understood him too much in his own sense, and 

Digitized by 


352 Velazquez. 

may have even himself quite well uttered these words. Passeri, whose 
acquaintance with Rosa was of long standing, tells us (p. 434) that he spoke 
of Paolo Veronese more than of any others, and that the Venetian style 
was altogether according to his heart. On the other hand his relations 
to Raphael were not specially sympathetic, as was the case with most 
Neapolitans, who thought Sanzio "stony and dry." 

It is further to be noted that Velazquez speaks, not of Raphael!s_^grace 
and expression, nor yet of his drawings but of his technique* . j:iving__the 
preference in this respect to the Venetian process. His incisive language 
seems influenced by the spirit of contention, perhaps by way of protest 
against the prevalent '* Sanzio-mania " of the times. Raphael was 
probably at no time more studied and -glorified than during the seventeenth 
century, especially in Rome, although the fact may not always be evident 
from the productions of that period. In the sixteenth century he was 
overshadowed by Michael Angelo, in the eighteenth by the classical 
spirit, while at present he interests Art students and the emotional 
public alone. 

Juan de Pareja. 

When his Holiness announced his intention of granting a sitting to 
Velazquez, the master felt the necessity of preparing himself, and getting 
his hand, as it were, again into working order. Prevenirse is the term 
used by Palomino, and it is probable enough that he had not handled 
the brush since leaving Madrid, being mostly busy with picture-dealers, 
brokers, owners, curators, stucco-casters, and sculptors. Nothing is more 
detrimental to creative Art than much inspection and discussion about 
works of Art. In short he wished to make a preliminary trial, and the 
"corpus vile" he found opportunely at hand in his servant and colour- 
grinder, the Morisco Juan de Pareja. The trial may have been all the 
more needed that he would have to deal with a specially repulsive subject. 
The Italians apply the same word, olivastro, both to the pope's complexion 
and to the colour of this portrait of Pareja. 

When finished he sent the picture by the hand of the original 
himself to some friends to have their opinion on its merits. They beheld 
text and copy with amazement, "doubting which they should address, 
from which receive answer." The painter Andreas Schmidt, at that time 
in Rome, afterwards related in Madrid that when it was taken with 
other good paintings, old and new, to adorn the cloisters of the 
Pantheon on the Feast of St. Joseph (March 19, 1650), as was at that 
time customary, " it met with such universal approbation that in the 

Digitized by 


Juan de Pareja. 


unanimous opinion of the painters of various nationalities, all else seemed 
painting, this alone truth. In recognition of this, Velazquez became a 
Roman Academician in the same year, 1650." 

Such public exhibitions on festivals took place in other churches 
besides the Pantheon, as for instance, in San Giovanni Decollato, and in 
San Bartolomeo dei Bergamaschi. Printed verses, both laudatory and 
the reverse, were affixed to the more important works, the latter giving 
rise to lively rejoinders and worse. Salvator Rosas success with a 
Prometheus exhibited on such an occasion led to his removing to Rome. 

In the last century Francisco Preciado, Director of the Spanish 
Academy in Rome, thought he 
had rediscovered this portrait of 
Pareja in the residence of Car- 
dinal Trajano d'Acquaviva. This 
is probably one of the two almost 
identical exemplars now in Eng- 
land, preserved respectively by the 
Earl of Carlisle in Castle Howard, 
and by the Earl of Radnor in Long- 
ford Castle (size 30x25 inches). 

The half-length figure of the 
mestizo stands out on the light 
grey ground, traced with a broad, 
firm brush, and spare impasto on 
the canvas. Thus he stood in the 
presence of his master, facing to 
the right, his hand holding the 
cloak with a somewhat plebeian 
grasp, the head carried very erect. 

The flashing black eye has almost a haughty gaze, taking the measure 
of the observer, as if he felt highly exalted at being painted by his master, 
and at the honour of appearing before the Roman virtuosi. 

A certain sly air seems to betray the secret, of which the master is 
still unaware, that " I also am a painter." The refractory kinky hair 
has been adapted as well as may be to the Spanish mode of frizzling. 
Eyebrows and beard are thin, and in other respects the African type is 
shown in the narrow forehead bulging about the glabella^ the large 
cheekbones, nose depressed at the root, everted red lips, and coppery- 
brown shiny skin. 

That it is really the portrait of Pareja is evident from its agreement 



Digitized by 


354 Velazquez. 

with his own likeness in the Calling of Matthew now in the Madrid 
Museum ; only Velazquez has accentuated the racial features, whereas 
Pareja has with intelligible vanity assimilated himself to the European 
standard. Both stand in somewhat the same relation to one another, as 
do, for instance, the heads of Dumas father and son. 

Pareja wears a smirched dark green doublet buttoned up, and a broad 
white collar with lace border, which is very becoming to the dark 

The impression conveyed by the picture in Castle Howard, published 
in Lord Gower's Historical Galleries ^ agrees in all respects with Schmidt's 
description. Even in that rich assembly of good portraits its truth to 
life arrests attention. To judge of the relations of the two exemplars, 
which so closely resemble each other, they should be seen together. 



Although now in his seventy-fifth year Innocent was still a tall, 
majestic figure, with " the voice, complexion, and carriage of a young 
man " (Ameyden), His robust constitution had not been injured by close 
study in his youth, for he had always shared in the distractions and 
pursuits of his associates, and was still an active, lusty walker, laughing 
to scorn the warnings of his physicians. Mignard's portrait had been 
admired for the happy way in which it depicted a ripe old age without 
decrepitude. After the haughty reserve of his Florentine predecessor, 
Urban VIII., Rome once more rejoiced in a pope for whom the giving 
of audiences often to large numbers, as in the Quirinal garden, was 
rather a relief from toil than a labour. He himself spoke with lively 
gratification of the throng of pilgrims, who on May 27, 1650, accompanied 
him with deafening shouts of jubilation from the Chiesa nuova to his 

Although of a saturnine temperament, and often a prey to moody 
thoughts, Innocent freely unbended and indulged in playful or caustic 
badinage with those who enjoyed his full confidence. He had reached 
the throne through his services as a diplomatist and nunzio, where his 
taciturn disposition passed for depth. He was wary and sceptical in his 
judgments of men, not quick to grasp the situation, but tenacious and to 
the last unwearied in the conduct of affairs. On all weighty public 
questions his administration marks the transition from the aggressive 
policy of his predecessors to the temporizing attitude required by the 
changed relations of the spiritual and temporal orders. 

Personally he held military display in no account ; yet he was 

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Innocent X. 


destined by the irony of fate to avail himself of the Barberini's warlike 
preparations. His character revealed itself in that outburst of papal 
anger on the occasion of the Castro war (1649), a manifestation of 
righteous indignation worthy of the heroic times of the papacy. That 
campaign was occasioned by the assassination of a bishop, whom 
Innocent had appointed to the see of Castro against the will of the Duke 
of Parma. This opportunity^ was now utilized to level with the ground 
the fortress of that place, which had been a standing menace to the 


States of the Church. On its site a column was raised with the 
inscription: Qui fn Castro (''Here stood Castro"). 

The strong sense of clanship peculiar to the genuine Italian completes 
the picture of this pope's character. But in this instance it so happened 
that the only person fit to play the part of the ''cardinal nephew," still 
regarded as indispensable, was a woman, Olimpia Maidalchini, his 
brother's widow; the three nephews that had been successively raised 
to this position had to be set aside as incompetent instruments. Donna 

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356 Velazquez. 

Olimpia was a person of masculine will and intelligence, although her 
political sagacity had hitherto been displayed only in conversations; of 
feminine qualities she possessed nothing but insatiable greed and ambi- 
tion. She had been a spur and a guide to her somewhat vacillating 
brother-in-law during his upward career, and he now felt himself tied by 
gratitude and habit to this woman, thanks to whom he was exposed to 
a storm of jeers and gibes.* 

Contemporary writers vied with each other in their descriptions of 
his ugliness; they dwelt on his course lineaments, broad heavy forehead, 
the lowering almost malignant glance of the deepset eye, vulgar mouth 
and nose, bloated and blotched countenance, flushed colour, thin beard, a 
certain innate roughness rendered more repellent by age. When Guido 
was painting the History of Attila in St Peter's, his dilatoriness having 
been reproved by the then Cardinal Pamfili, he is said to have revenged 
himself by giving the features of his Eminence to the satan under the 
feet of his St. Michael in the Church of the Capuchins, although according 
to others the original of this particular satan was the Cardinal Spinola. 
In the Conclave of 1645 his satanic aspect was stated to have been ui^;ed 
as a disqualification against his election to the pontifical chair. It seemed 
a sort of fatality that here in Rome the most repulsive head amongst the 
successors of St. Peter should have fallen to the lot of Velazquez, who in 
Madrid had to paint the most odious of ministers and the least interesting 
of royal types. 

There are few portraits, few paintings of any kind, that have at all 
times so instantaneously taken possession of all classes of observers. To 
liave auricular evidence of this, we need but linger some ten or fifteen 
minutes in the vicinity of the picture. From the unsightly features a 
glance of the blue-grey eye reaches us, which is more potent than the 
brilliant purple and the glistening gold. Some one remarked that if he 
gazed any longer at the head, the man would haunt him in his dreams. 

The inner angle of the eye is, so to say, the magnetic pole of the head. 
Here is the deepest patch of shade ; here the furrow of thought on the 
forehead cuts in, pressing the eyebrows down, while close by flashes 
the moist mirror of the eye. Here lies the spark of animation, the 
germ of youth still surviving in old age ; here is the psychic contact with 
the spectator, but above all the most potent impulse of the aged ruler to 
search the hearts of men, that determination to penetrate to the thing 
itself through the veil of whispered promptings and half-truths. The 

> Thus Don Pasquino: // Papa atna piu Olimpia che VOlimpo (••The Pope loves 
Olympia more than Olympus "). — Translator. 

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Innocent X. 357 

glance, drawn from the deepest recesses of a character at once suspicious ^, 
and reserved,, concentrates in itself the whole being of the aged statesman, 
''who was ever unfathomable" (Passeri), Like the style of the portrait, 
this glance has at the same time an eminently papal element. 

Painters cannot possibly remain indifferent in the presence of this 
portrait. " How that hand is advanced I" " What a very modern painter !" 
some may exclaim. It is not, however, the obvious tricks of legerdemain 
of the practised artist that impress them, but rather the absence of these 
tricks ; not the harmony of the colours, but the effect produced under the 
most unfavourable combinations; in short, the seemingly unstudied way 
the eagerly sought-for goal of the portrait painter appears here to be reached. 
"It looks dashed off just anyhow ! " 

The impression is due not merely to the Spanish painter's general 
qualities, which here have the charm of novelty for most observers. Com- 
pared with his other productions, the portrait was really an extempore 
affair. The persons who usually sat to him, were members of the Court, 
with whom he was in daily contact. But not so here, for the artist can 
only have seen the pope for a short time at the audience, or else from a 
distance. The study of the features must have been made during the 
brief interval that he was permitted to stand at his easel in presence of 
his Holiness. How much more favourably circumstanced were other 
painters of famous pontifical portraits ! 

Hence the hesitations, the discordances, the technical solecisms, the 

evident wrestling with the optical difficulties. Impasto has occasionally 

been applied to the glazing ; the lace handkerchief falls over the surplice (/ 

of a quite identical white colour, and the hands show signs of revision. 

The right hand, with the signet ring hanging over the arm of the throne, 

was originally more bent, and traces of the old fingers can still be seen, 

partly covered with white, partly giving the half-tone for the present fingers, 

which are applied with a light flesh tint. The extremely plastic appearance 

of this hand is due to the dazzling white ground, and perhaps also to ^ 

the faltering contours producing on the eye a stereoscopic effect. The 

left hand holding a letter,^ although more finished, still seems to have 

undergone revision, and is of somewhat vulgar form. 

* The inscription on this letter runs : — 

Alia SanttJi di Nro Sig« : 
Innocencio Xo. 

Diego de Silva 
Velazquez de la Ca 
mera di S. Mt^ Cattca. 
Then follow some words that have been effaced. (Size 1-40 x 1-20 metre.) 

Digitized by 


358 Velazquez. 

Yet to this haste the portrait is partly indebted for its powerful effect. 
^ It has the charm of directness; it concentrates within the space of a 
few hours all the powers of observation and exposition. It differs from 
ordinary paintings, as the works of sculptors who take the marble in hand 
at once, and without models, differ from those in which not a step is ventured 
without rule and compass. They may occasionally stumble; but in return 
they acquire qualities alone capable of standing the severest tests. 

To judge of the resemblance we possess exceptionally good material 
in some excellent effigies by Roman sculptors, whose sure hand or boldly 
realistic execution inspires confidence in their accuracy. Such are Algardi's 
bronze statue in the Conservatorio, Bernini's marble bust and his gilt- 
bronze head with porphyry bust in the Dona Gallery, the bronze in the 
South Kensington Museum, and the marble statue on his monument in 
St. Agnese. 

But here we are confronted by a remarkable circumstance. Whoever 
first makes the aged pope's acquaintance through Velazquez, will find 
that these busts by no means answer to the idea he has formed of the 
man's personality. They seem at variance in the modelling of the head 
as well as in the character and expression, in some fundamental traits no 
less than in numerous details. 

In the painting we seem to recognize a head with a compact bony 
/ frame and tolerably full flesh covering; the lower jaw appears somewhat 
prognathous, imparting to this region a touch of defiance and harshness, 
which, combined with the searching glance and rubicund or flushed com- 
plexion, gives a far from agreeable general effect. The impression of an 
unbridled temper, in fact, outweighs the intellectual qualities, and in his 
survey of the different portraits the pope's latest biographer finds in the 
painting " something crude, material, trivial, and an air of passion -due to 
the sanguineous complexion." * 

But the marbles and bronzes give rather the impression of phlegm 
with predominant intelligence, of the experienced statesman and jurist. 
Thus Edwin Stowe remarks that ''the portrait in metal [the bronze in 
South Kensington] is suggestive of majestic dignity and high intellectual 
faculties, qualities which we fail to discern in the more truthful canvas."^ 
In the sculptures the glance is calm and attentive, sometimes perhaps with 
a dash of cold scepticism and contempt, sometimes with a touch of genial 
humour. At the time of his accession Innocent was a man who had 
grown old in the work of the Congregations and of the Roman Curia. 

* Ciampi : Vita di Innoccnzo X., p. 200. 

* Velazquez y p. 61. 

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Innocent X. 359 

In harmony with such a career is the forehead, projecting above the bushy 
eyebrows and shading the small eyes with their wrinkled surroundings. 

Pontifical portraits leave little scope for a choice of colours. Cap, 
short cloak or cape, chair, hangings, are all alike of a brilliant crimson 
with unimportant shades, and varied only, as well as heightened, by the 
snow-white surplice. Here, therefore, the problem was to give due 
prominence to the features amid these overwhelming masses of gorgeous 

In this case the problem was rendered still more difficult by the fact 
that the pope's complexion was itself ruddy, a tinta accesa, or ''flushed hue." 
The general result is doubtless an unusual uniformity, which becomes 
almost isochromatic, and on which unquestionably to some extent depends 
its direct and irresistible effect on the eye. But the redness of the 
countenance being considerably less surcharged and pure than those homo- 
geneous purple tones, this main feature seems the least conspicuous part 
of the whole. 

This result might have been avoided by a vigorous use of chiaroscuro ; j^ 
but the figure is painted almost without any shadows. The dazzling 
white of the surplice is also injurious to the face and the lights on forehead, 
nose and cheeks, which give more lustre than relief. This defect had 
already been noticed by Richardson, who censures the artist for not 
having painted the linen of the surplice transparent 

From the portrait of Innocent in Apsley House, the head of which is 
by Velazquez himself, we may see what a different effect might have been 
produced with a different arrangement of the surroundings. Here the 
ground is blackish brown, and the pontifical cape has a dull rose tone. 
How great was my surprise at the striking difference, as I beheld this 
work in the early light of a March sun struggling through the foggy 
London atmosphere ! The contiguous tones of the bright red cap, of 
the pale collar and the vivid fresh complexion of the hale old man, instead 
of injuring mutually heightened each other. Although this carnation was 
the same as in the Doria picture, the suppression of the red curtain had 
not only removed the injurious glare, but had even given rise to contrasts. 
The flesh colour seemed bright and clear on the dark ground, soft and 
tender under the gleamiAg red of the cap, and warm by the side of the 
collar inclining to violet, while it assumed even a golden tone in the 
solid lights, the light grey half-tones and the reflected lights. 

In token of his approval Innocent presented Velazquez with a gold 
chain and medal bearing his own likeness in relief, a distinction which 
was commemorated upon the painter's tomb, and which to my knowledge 


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360 Velazquez. 

was shown to no other artist except Algardi after casting this pope's 
bronze statue. 

It is also related {^des IValpolianop, p. 6j) that "when the pope sent 
his chamberlain to pay the artist, he would not receive the money, saying the 
king, his master, always paid him with his own hand. The pope humor'd 

After the extinction of the Pamfili family (1760) the picture passed to the 
Doria Landi branch, and long held the place of honour in the palace on the 
Corso over against Sebastian del Piombo's Andrea Doria. Lately it has 
been removed from the tribuneita in the gallery and placed under a canopy 
in the large entrance hall. 

From the first the work met with great approbation amongst Art circles 
in Rome, " which is more partial to strangers than to her own children " 
(Passen). " Our Velazquez," writes Palomino, "came to Italy, not however 
to learn but to teach ; for the portrait of Pope Innocent X. was the amaze- 
ment of Rome ; all copied it as a study, and looked on it as a marvel " 
(ii., 63). Much Italian testimony might be adduced to the same effect, and 
even so late as 1794 Salvatore Tonci spoke of the work as " a misfortune for 
all its neighbours ; the glorious Guido amongst the rest (the Virgin wor- 
shipping the Child) appears by its side mere parchment." In Th. Moore's 
Memoirs^ it is stated that Sir Joshua Reynolds pronounced it "the finest 
picture in Rome. This and the St. Michael of Guido were, they say, the 
only ones he condescended to copy." 

Curtis mentions sixteen such copies and replicas, all professing to be 
original repetitions or sketches. But the little faith in their authenticity is 
shown by the low figures for which they were knocked down at public sales. 
Curtis states that '' the first auction sale of a picture by our artist known to 
the writer, in England or elsewhere." was such a head of Innocent X., sold 
at Cock's in Poland Street, London, February 19, 1725. 

At the same time Velazquez may probably enough have repeated the 
portrait at least for the king, and have kept a study for some such purpose. 
Palomino in fact tells us that he brought back a copy by his own hand, and 
a half-length figure three feet high occurs in the inventories of the new 
Bourbon Palace, where it was seen by Cean Bermudez (v., 179). 

This work probably disappeared during the Napoleonic wars, for the 
large painting in the Escorial is by another hand, although the figure agrees 
altogether with that of the Doria work. It is ascribed to Pietro Berettini. 

The only repetition known to me that has been beyond doubt executed 
by our master is the already mentioned work in Apsley House. As the 
' Edited by Lord John Russell (London: 1853), iii., 62. 

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Innocent X. 361 

measurements also agree, this might be regarded as the replica mentioned by 
Palomino, although it has the appearance rather of a study afterwards com- 
pleted. Its genealogy also militates against that assumption, for it agrees in 
all respects with the outlined engraving published in Le Brun's RecueiL 
This amateur had purchased in Madrid the greater part of the D'Azara 
collection, and we also know from Ponz that this envoy had discovered in 
Rome a head of Innocent, which he regarded as a study for the Doria 
portrait, the bust having been added by Camail or some other painter. At 
the Le Brun sale (18 10) it fetched one thousand and fifty francs. 

In the presence of this canvas we begin to form some idea of the con- 
scientious care and sure touch with which this remarkable head has been 
studied and delineated. The surfaces were solidly prepared in the clear note 
of the carnations, and then the crimson tone glazed on with exclusion of the 
high lights. The small brown shadows were also applied afterwards. 

The so-called sketch in the Hermitage might also with some probability 
be attributed to Velazquez himself. But if so, it can be no sketchy but a 
spirited replica executed directly by the artist, who, being master of his 
subject, needed no preliminary studies. Whoever calls such a work a sketch 
puts the cart before the horse. 

The best complete copy known to me by a strange hand is that in Lord 
Bute's collection, London.* It skilfully reproduces the luminous purple, the 
lustre and the pose, but has nothing of Velazquez' touch and manner. The 
copyist's vacillation is betrayed in the hands, where with far more appliances 
he tells us far less than the master. These laboriously executed extremities 
are less defined and less plastic than the originals dashed off with the 
scantiest means. 

Another copy acquired in Rome for the Gordon Gallery at the beginning 
of this century was thought by Wilkie sup)erior to the original in the tone of 
features and hands. But when these parts are spoken of as "more complete," 
we begin to suspect that they are somewhat in the style of the Bute copy 
The price also (nineteen guineas) contrasts strangely with such warm praise. 

The head in Lansdowne House must be classed with the inferior wares 
manufactured for the market, while the portrait in Chiswick House is the 
work of an eccentric and repulsive mannerist. His Holiness, enthroned and 
wrapped in a loose purple mantle, raises a very large hand to bless the 
faithful, and repels them by his glassy stare and pallid, long-drawn features. 
I can call to mind no similar painting of the Spanish or Italian schools, and 
one begins to suspect the forger apeing according to his lights the sparkling 
splendour and spirited touch of the master. 

» No. 6 in J. P. Richter's Catalogue (London: 1883); size 54 x 45 inches. 

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362 Velazquez. 

After this triumph in the higher places all the palace wanted itself painted 
by the great Spaniard. Palomino mentions Donna Olimpia, Cardinal Pamfili, 
Monsignor Camillo Massimi (whom he apparently confounds with the painter 
Massimo Stanzioni) ; the chamberlain, Abate Ippolito ; the major-domo, the 
pope's barber and others. 

But of any such portraits not one has hitherto been identified, not 
even the Major-domo disposed of at the Salamanca sale, January 1875, 
declared to be " unquestioned and unquestionable " by an expert, and sold 
for nineteen thousand three hundred francs I 


But meanwhile Velazquez had not lost sight of his special commission, 
the selections and castings from the antique intended to decorate the new 
apartments of the Alcazar. Now it so happened that the very year of his 
arrival witnessed the opening of the Roman Museum of Antiquities. On 
March 9 Innocent X. paid his first solemn visit to the Capitol in order to 
inspect the now nearly completed building of the Capitoline Museum. 

At this juncture, when the Treaty of Westphalia had set its seal to the 
anti-papal tendencies of the European Cabinets, efforts were being made at 
the papal court which were destined in other relations to constitute Rome a 
chief centre of modem culture. During the Anti-Reformation period a hostile 
spirit had frequently been stirred up against pagan antiquity ; but henceforth 
papal munificence was directed more and more towards the preservation and 
public display of the classic remains confided to the safekeeping of the 
Roman pontiffs. 

One of the first measures of Innocent X.'s administration was the 
completion of the buildings on the Campidoglio, which at that time were 
spoken of as la fabbrica nuova del Popolo Romano, But the interior ap- 
pears to have remained for some time tolerably empty, for the Pamfili and 
other great families required the antiques to adorn their own spacious palaces 
and villas. Still a great step had been taken ; an asylum had been erected 
which was well stocked by the highly cultured popes of the eighteenth 
century. The true founder of the present Capitoline collection was 
Clement XII. , of the Corsini family, who reigned from 1730 to 1740. 

According to Palomino's account {Museo iii., 337-40) Velazquez had to 
get castings of thirty-two statues, besides full length figures and busts of 
many Roman effigies, together with the head of Michael Angelo's Moses. 

At the head of the list stand the statues of the Belvedere, Laokoon, 
Apollo, the so-called AntinOus (Meleager), the so-called Cleopatra (Ariadne), 
the Venus, and the Nile. 

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The Antiques. 363 

The Hercules and the Flora of the Palazzo Farnese, now in Naples. 

A Daughter of Niobe and the Group of Wrestlers in the Villa Medici, 
now in the Uffizi. 

The so-called Gladiator ; the Mars erect ; the Hermaphrodite ; the 
Hercules (Germanicus) ; the Satyr with the Infant Bacchus of the Villa 
Borghese, now in the Louvre. 

The Dying Gladiator; the Mars seated; and the Mercury of the Villa 

The Youth extracting a Thorn, in the Capitol. 

Public opinion had already singled out most of these works as the finest 
relics of antiquity. The study of the antique itself was most popular in 
Rome, where its influence on artists had never been so great as at present. 
Castings of many of these statues must have long existed, and so early as 
1645 Evelyn found copies of the Dying Gladiator in stone and metal 
" scattered over all Europe." 

Velazquez could not fail to meet with influential and competent advisers 
and agents. Amongst the persons at Court painted by him was the learned 
Monsignor Camillo Massimi (born 1620, ob. 1677), who later became 
a nunzio in Madrid and a cardinal. His happiness was wrapped up in a 
collection of antiquities and coins, inscriptions and manuscripts, which he 
had brought together in the palace of the Quattro Fontane. Here was the 
resort of Roman and foreign artists and men of letters. 

The Spanish Court was already personally acquainted with the Cavaliere 
Cassiano del Pozzo, who had accompanied Cardinal Barber ini to Madrid in 
the year 1626. His museum of drawings, coins, reliefs, and paintings, was 
also one of the sights of Rome ; here Poussin made his studies of the antique, 
and in gratitude painted the Seven Sacraments for Cassiano. He had 
procured drawings of the reliefs and statues in Rome from Pietro Testa 

Lastly there was the antiquary and papal librarian Ippolito Vitelleschi 
who had purchased a piece of ground in Neapolitan territory with a view to 
excavations. An enthusiast of the temperament of Winckelmann, he held 
converse with his statues as with living beings, reciting sentences, poetry, 
and speeches to them. 

These three men were all friends and patrons both of Poussin and of 
Francois du Quesnoy, who were the first to form their style on the study of 
antiquity in deliberate opposition to the current taste. 

No member of the Sacred College stood in closer relation to the Spanish 
Court than Cardinal Girolamo Colonna (born 1604, ob. 1666), whose bust 
is in the Colonna Gallery, Rome. As a young abate he had been attracted 
to Madrid by Philip IV. ; he had taken his degree at Alcaic, and had later 

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364 Velazquez. 

been again summoned by the king to Spain in order to accompany the 
Princess Margaret to Germany, but died on reaching the Spanish coast It 
is uncertain whether it was on this last occasion, or during Velazquez* \4sit 
to Rome, that he presented Philip with the famous Apotheosis of Claudius, 
which had hitherto been preserxed in the Colonna Palace, and which was the 
most important original antique possessed by the Spanish monarch. 

Extant accounts are at variance as to the extent to which Velazquez 
personally executed his commission in Rome. According to Bellori,* he 
procured not only the forms, but the castings themselves in bronze 
and stucco, and Malvasia gives the price — thirty thousand crowns. But 
Palomino's statement is that he obtained the forms alone in Rome, and that 
the castings were not made till after his return to Madrid, by Gerdnimo 
Ferrer and Domingo de la Rioja, who had come with the forms from 
Rome. Passeri's account is partly to the same effect. 

All the best statues were set up in the new apartments, and others on the 
steps of the Rubinejo, while several were sent to the B6beda del Tigre and 
the lower north gallery. On the portrait of the Queen-widow Mariana in 
Castle Howard is seen the statue of the Dancing Satyr. 

The palace inventory for 1686 mentions without giving any details 
twenty-six statues and twelve heads in bronze ; eleven and ten respectively 
in marble ; thirty-one reliefs ; thirty-one statues and thirty-four heads in 
stucco and clay, eighteen statues and scenes of bacchantes, besides the 
planets and the twelve bronze lions. Most of the bronzes by the two 
Leoni would appear at that time to have been in Buen Retiro. 

Four of the bronzes, the Hermaphrodite, Venus, Thorn Extractor, and 
AntinOus, seen by Ponz in the new palace, are now in the Prado, as is also 
the seated Nymph with the conch. 

The stucco forms passed later to the San Fernando Academy of Arts 
founded by Philip V., where the same Ponz still saw many (Hercules, Flora, 
Venus, Gladiator) in bad condition or patched up. But Raphael Mengs must 
have found both these and the old castings unserviceable, for he makes no 
allusion to them at a time when his most earnest desire was to acquire such 
moulds of the statues from the Belvedere, the Borghese and Ludovisi villas. 

Metelli and Colonna. 

Besides the purchase of pictures one of Velazquez's chief objects was to 
engage Italian decorative painters for the new works in the royal palace. 

There was no lack of engineers ; but Spain was absolutely destitute of 
any school of decorative painting, and even the fresco technique had died out 

* Vita di A. Algardi^ p. 399. 

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Metelli and Colonna. 365 

with the sixteenth century. Cloisters, archways, cupolas and such places 
were usually covered with scenes nearly always painted in oil on canvas 
nailed to the surface. 

Hence the Art-loving monarch saw nothing for it except to convert his 
palace into a picture gallery. So long as he had the treasures of Venetian 
Art to fall back upon, or could command the services of a Rubens capable 
in a few years of covering a whole hunting-seat with mythologies, he had no 
reason to complain of the result. Yet it was impossible to shut one's eyes 
to the fact that even a Pinakothek of masterpieces is not the only, perhaps 
not even the most agreeable, form of pictorial embellishment, especially for 
apartments in daily use. 

On the other hand the performances of Cano, Arias, Camilo, and the 
other native artists, could hardly be called successful. The realistic tendency 
of the Spanish school at that time, destitute of all imagination and nurtured 
on conventional religious pabulum, was ill-adapted for the treatment of the 
free poetic painting that was here required. No one was quicker to make 
this discovery than the king himself, who ridiculed Camilo's scenes from 
Ovid's Metamorphoses in Buen Retiro, remarking that Jupiter looked like 
the Saviour and Juno like the Madonna. The physiognomies of these 
Hellenic gods and goddesses were too Spanish, too gloomy ; and in any case 
such hasty and ill-paid works must have cut a sorry figure compared with 
those of the Venetian apartments. 

The few Italians, or It alo- Spaniards still surviving in Madrid even now 
gave most satisfaction. Angelo N^j^ supplied all manner of fantastic things 
for the royal private apartments. Francisco Rizi and Pedro N unez p ainted 
the new theatre ; Julius Caesar Sginin adorned the west gallery and the king's 
boudoir " with flowers, festoons, children," but in oil and water colours. 

Hence the constant efforts of the Spanish Court to secure renowned or 
competent fresco painters from Italy. Velazquez appears on this occasion to 
have paid special attention to mural painting, although personally despising 
that technique. Palomino tells us (iii., 336) that in Genoa he at all events 
gave a cursory glance to the works of Lazzaro Calvi (bom 1502, ob. 1595), 
who had imitated Perin del Vaga. 

But on his return journey Velazquez had an opportunity of studying 
nearly all the best works of the two artists of the Bolognese school, 
Agostino Metelli (born 1609 in Bologna) and Angelo Michele Colonna 
(born 1600 near Como), who were universally regarded as the inventors 
or perfecters of a new system of wall-painting, and who enjoyed the 
patronage of several princes connected with the Spanish Court. According 
to Palomino he visited them in Bologna, where most of their " galleries " 

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366 Velazquez. 

and decorated apartments were to be seen. The Oratorio of San Giuseppe, 
which contained one of their finest works in that place, was destroyed 
a few years ago. But the Chapel of the Rosary in San Domenico, their 
last masterpiece in Italy, was not executed till 1656 — that is, subsequently 
to Velazquez' visit. In Rome, however, he also saw one of their best 
productions in the Capo di Ferro Palace, which had lately been purchased 
and redecorated by Cardinal Belardino Spada. 

The system introduced by these two little-known artists may be 
regarded as a counter-movement or protest against the overcrowding 
with figures especially on ceilings and vaulted surfaces, which is usually 
supposed to characterize the decadence period, but which is really much 
older, as seen in the woful treatment of the Florentine Duomo. They 
developed the taste for architectural painting by transforming the given 
space, walls and roofs on an independent plan combining poetic and per- 
spective features. The figures thus played only a subordinate part amid 
the decorative surroundings. The general approval and adoption of this 
system by numerous though greatly inferior imitators show that they had 
come at the right moment, and that the public were tired of the crowded 
historic scenes which had prevailed since the fourteenth century. 

This process had certainly never died out in Italy, but had fallen to 
a subordinate position until it was raised to the dignity of an Art by 
Girolamo Curtis (// Dentone), As his associates Metelli and Colonna 
cultivated the same manner, the former giving it the name of \vedutd\ 
("view," "prospect") because he departed from the unity of the visual 
point. The fundamental idea was a moderate opening up of walls and 
ceiling by some apparent architectural structure, in which the various 
parts of the real building were still echoed at intervals. The result are 
narrow perspective vistas, more suggestive than manifest, in clear inte- 
riors, colonnaded halls, houses with flights of steps, courts; all in marble 
colours, and disposed for the most part obliquely on the wall surfaces, 
and surmounted by low carved galleries. 

The four walls thus resemble a courtyard on which open magnificent 
apartments. But the ceiling,, being first prepared with rich mouldings 
in strong profile, was transformed to a lofty dome suspended above the 
whole space, with a large elliptical opening, as in the Pantheon. 

The simulated architecture of the walls is set off with niches showing 
marble and bronze tablets, or medallions with reliefs where Dentone 
had learnt to apply the Hghts with gold. All this necessitated a com- 
plete command of Vignola's precepts, as well as of perspective and relief, 
and Metelli himself had in fact been applied to by architects for designs. 

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Metelli and Colonna. 367 

The impression of such surfaces however would Jiave scarcely raised 
the enthusiasm of the observer but for a lavish, although still finely toned, 
employment of light. For this purpose Metelli created an extremely 
solid and durable fresco technique, mixing, for instance, selenite powder 
with the lime, as in Pompeii. He passed in Bologna and elsewhere for 
the first fresco painter of the period. 

To animate and complete the poetic illusion living figures were indis-^ 
pensable; but they were sparingly distributed in suitable places. In this 
respect also the system agreed with that prevalent during the Roman 
Empire. A page hurr3ang down the steps, a lady culling a few roses 
from the mass of flowering plants in the vase on the gallery, a negro 
hanging a rug over the balustrade, a few figures connected with some 
simple daily incident, watching for instance the flight of an escaped parrot 
from various parts of the room, sufficed for this purpose. Or perhaps 
they were replaced by ideal figures above the cornice, amorini with 
wreaths of flowers and fruits, allegorical women and the like. 

Probably the horizontal perspective for figures has nowhere been so 
happily applied as here. These figures at the same time complete the 
general pictorial effect; sparingly dispersed over the scene they stand 
with their vivid colours in pleasant contrast to the prevailing colourless 
tone of the marble, bronze and gold. 

Although both artists had mastered the perspective and figure paint- 
ing, since they began to work jointly each devoted himself to a separate 
department; Metelli painted the architecture only, Colonna the figures, 
statues, flowers, but after the sketches previously prepared by his asso- 
ciate. Although Colonna was a skilful and prolific historic painter, as 
shown by his works in the Bolognese churches and palaces, he was never- 
theless self-denying enough to confine himself henceforth entirely to these 
ornamental accessories. '* During a fellowship of twenty-four years they 
shared fame and profits," working so that nobody would suspect two hands. 

Velazquez appears to have concluded the negotiations, at least as he 
supposed, with the two artists either in Florence or Bologna, it is not 
quite clear which, as may be inferred from a letter of the Modenese 
official Gennaro Poggi, addressed to Duke Francis I. on December 12, 
1650. After stating that he was unable to let Velazquez inspect the 
collections in the palace, of which the duke " had the keys," offering 
to show him over the neighbouring palace of Sassuolo instead, Poggi 
adds : " Touching the fresco painting he has told me that he takes 
S"^ Michele Colonna and Agostino [Metelli] with him to Spain in order 
to paint for His Majesty, and that in a few days they would meet in 

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368 Velazquez. 

Genoa. This news was as displeasing as it was unexpected to me, and 
really one may well fear that Colonna will run greater risk of losing his 
life than [have prospects] of acquiring wealth." 

But on reaching Genoa Velazquez must have been sadly disappointed to 
find they had left him in the lurch. Nor have I been able to discover any 
motives for their conduct. We learn, however, from Malvasia that in the 
same year, 1650, they were again busy in^ Florence, working for Cardinal 
Giovanni Carlo dei Medici. They painted his house in the Via della Scala 
and a saloon in the Pitti Palace, as well as a villa at Camugliano for 
the Marquis Niccolini. Probably the cardinal, in order to appease the 
Spanish Court, with which he stood in close relation, afterwards used his 
influence with the artists, who at last undertook the journey to Spain in 
1658, through the mediation of the cardinal and the senator Marquis Cospi. 

These days in Genoa, his last on Italian soil, were probably the most 
unpleasant Velazquez ever experienced. He went reluctantly, but was fain 
to obey, and here also he became aware that his efforts had been bootless 
in another matter, which the king appears to have had greatly at heart. 
This had reference to the acquisition of some Correggios in Modena, and 
especially the Nativity, which Velazquez failed to obtain, as appears from 
Ottonelli's letter of January 13, 1652, sent from Madrid to the duke. 

On the arrival of the two Bolognese artists in 1658, all the arrange- 
ments for their reception, entertainment and especially the work they had 
to take in hand, were left by the king to Velazquez. But everything that 
they executed during nearly four years of incessant activity perished with 
the old palace. Detailed accounts, however, are given of these works 
by Malvasia,* Passeri,^ and Palomino.^ Some of Malvasia's statements, 
however, are, even for such a writer, unusually confused and inaccurate. 

Metelli's last work was the dome of the Church of the Mercenaries, 
which he had scarcely begun when he was carried off by fever on 
August 2, 1660. Colonna completed this work, surviving his associate 
till the year 1662. 

» Felsina, ii., 406. » ViU dei Pittori, 272. ' Op, cit, p. 344f ^t seq. 

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1651 — 1660. 



Digitized by 


Digitized by 



The Last Years. 

ON this occasion also Velazquez had put off from day to day his 
departure, doubtless feeling that this would be a final farewell to 
Italy. Repeated reminders appear to have reached him, and at last the 
king's express command was communicated to him through the secretary, 
Don Fernando Ruiz de Contreras. For some time he thought of returning 
through France, and had already had his passport prepared at the embassy, 
but his courage failed him at the last moment, damped by the war rumours 
then flying about. 

After a boisterous passage from Genoa he landed at Barcelona in June 
1651. On reaching the capital he at once presented himself before the 
king, who in a letter to Don Luis de Haro expressed his pleasure at 
Velazquez' return and at the paintings he had brought with him from Italy. 
In November his stipend as Court painter and inspector of the works in 
the octagonal hall during the period of his absence was duly discharged. 

Henceforth he continued for the nine remaining years of his life in 
closer relationship than ever with his royal patron, honoured, constantly 
employed and even loved. His last public service was the organization 
of the Court journey to the Pyrenees in connection with the marriage 
of Philip's eldest daughter. Remarkable coincidence ! His introduction to 
Court had occurred about the time war had again broken out with the Nether- 
lands; and now his life was brought to a close after he had witnessed 
the conclusion of the treaty of peace with France. During these seven-and- 
thirty years of uninterrupted and exhausting wars, of waning political and 
military capacity, of constantly increasing financial embarrassment, he had 
calmly practised his Art in the very midst of the surrounding calamities. 
He seemed like a forest tree shooting up amid the scattered boulders on 
some storm-swept cliff. 

Velazquez must be classed with those whose career has been cut short 
while the stream of life was still on the flow ; for although he had completed 
his sixty-first year, he cannot be said to have entered on "the sear and 

Digitized by 


372 Velazquez. 

yellow leaf." In fact it was not till this last decade that his brush acquired 
the language that appeals most eloquently to artists and non-professionals 
alike. Now also he was gratified with those outward marks of esteem, 
honourable and influential posts and decorations, that men of his position 
and training still delight in. 

Yet, whereas men cultivating the intellectual faculties usually consider 
that years give them the right to live at ease, exempt from all disturbing 
and absorbing outward cares, our master became now for the first time 
so burdened with such occupations, that he could henceforth give little 
more than his spare moments to his Art. These changed conditions, how- 
ever, would scarcely be surmised from the works produced during this period. 
His manner of painting doubtless became more summary, more expeditious 
than heretofore ; but no one knew better than he did how to make a virtue 
of necessity. While he belonged less than ever to himself, he, as it were, 
now for the first time thoroughly discovered himself, producing works in 
which he least resembles others. 

This third and last style we meet in pictures, which again completely 
illustrate his many-sided genius — mythologies, echoes of his Roman 
inspirations; grotesque figures from town and Court circles; religious 
subjects; royal persons, especially those princesses whose star rose in 
these years above the horizon : the young queen who had made her 
appearance during his absence in Italy, and her daughter, bom a few 
weeks after his return to the capital. 

But everything produced at this time, however excellent in itself, seems 
merely casual ''fallings" compared with two incomparable creations, the 
profoundest pictorial visions of this master. 

The Office of Palace Marshal 

{Aposentador de Palacio), 

In the opinion of competent contemporaries Velazquez was the mirror 
of a Spanish nobleman and courtier. Since the days of the "stately" 
Antonio Moro, no cavalier of the profession in Madrid could be remembered 
comparable to him in this respect. J. Burckhardt in the Cicerone points 
to '* something almost affectedly noble " about his portrait in the Uffizi ; 
and in fact that likeness answers perfectly to the descriptions lefl us by 
those who knew him. When he petitioned for the Cross of Santiago, 
many gentlemen in the Court and capital were consulted on the matter, 
and their testimony was conclusive. One speaks of his sense of honour 
and dignity, another of his delicate tact and imposing presence, ethers 

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The Office of Palace Marshal. 373 

again of his magnificence and gravity, while Francisco Gutierrez Cabeilo 
pronounces him "one of the most splendid men of his time." 

Velazquez, scion of an ancient Portuguese house, who in his youth 
had thought more of securing a firm footing at Court than of making the 
usual Art tour in Italy, fully shared the social ideas of his class. He 
was by no means indifferent to the minor offices of usher or chamberlain : 
Court employments at that time often formed the highest or even the 
sole goal of aristocratic ambition. The Castilian nobles, sinking deeper 
and deeper into frivolous indolent habits, no longer valued the commandos 
and other appointments that banished them from the gay capital. "The 
only office," writes Grammont, "that I have observed the grandees at 
all care for, is that of gentilhombre de cdmara en ejercicioy because at 
table, at the robing and unrobing during the weekly service, they enjoy 
the privilege of seeing His Majesty." 

Our master also, on his return from Rome, where he had been honoured 
by his Holiness and the world of Art, was again imbued with the spirit and 
aspirations of the courtling, and the empty show despised by posterity 
became the loftiest aim of his ambition. Now that he had reached his 
golden prime, capable of producing works, which after two hundred years 
are still the goal of Art pilgrims, he petitions for the post of a royal 
quarter-master I 

This post of aposentador del rey^ which had been vacated the year before 
his return from Italy, although no aristocratic office, was still regarded as " a 
charge of much importance and honour" (Jusepe Martinez). Velazquez 
applied for it doubtless with the tacit approval of the king, if not at his 
suggestion. He based his application on the ground that this office was 
suited to his peculiar position, tastes and occupation. Unfortunately it 
differed from his previous appointments, which were rather in the nature 
of convenient sinecures, inasmuch as it involved a number of petty duties, 
which deprived him both of the leisure and disposition for nobler pursuits. 
The stipend was three thousand ducats with official residence in the Casa 
del Tesoro, 

The aposentador mayor de palacio de S,M., or palace marshal to the 
king (for the queen also had her house marshal) had charge of the interior 
of the royal residence, consequently that part of the Alcazar that encircled 
the second courtyard; and also organized the Court journeys. He had 
always to appear in his cloak, but without hat or sword, in the king's 
dwelling, the doors and windows of which he opened. He was specially 
charged with the furnishing and decoration of the palace, including sanitary 
arrangements and heating. The key which he wore in his girdle opened 

Digitized by 


374 Velazquez. 

all doors ; he assigned the palace ladies their quarters ; he placed the king's 
chair when dining in public, he made the dispositions for Court festivities, 
consulting his Majesty on the programmes for masquerades, plays, balls and 
tournaments. On journeys he had to provide quarters for the Court and 
all attendants, and to fulfil many other minor but often troublesome 
and even menial duties, which made the position no bed of roses, especially 
amongst such sticklers for etiquette as the Spaniards. 

For Velazquez the greatest loss of time was doubtless caused by the 
periodical journeys of the Court to the royal country seats, to the provincial 
Cortes and to the seat of war. It so happened that during his tenure of 
office one of those tremendous journeys to the frontiers occurred, which 
in fact cost him his life. On these occasions he rode on mules, and what 
a trip in Spain meant at that time those can best judge who have travelled, 
say, in the Balkan Peninsula. ** We got nothing but a roof over the bare 
ground," writes Sagredo. Dining-room, kitchen, beds, chairs and tables, 
attendants — all had to be brought across country, there being no rivers 
or canals to transport them, while the highways were in a state of 
utter neglect, and the land often looked for miles and miles like a 

One should read the lamentations of the foreign envoys, who are 
scarcely able to find words strong enough to express their wrath at the 
hardships they had to endure. They generally reached Saragossa or 
Madrid completely knocked up and even the Spaniards themselves needed 
a few days' rest before attending to business. Giustiniani spent fifty days 
in November and December on the road from Toulouse to Madrid, and 
died soon after his arrival (February 3, 1660). "No private purse," 
says a Venetian, "is long enough to follow the king to the country." 
Not a scrap of food but cost three or four times as much as in Italy. 
The journey to Madrid alone swallowed up the supplies of a whole year 
(1624). In winter the vehicles often passed the night in the fields 
'snowed up.'" 

"Whoever wants to try his patience — " says the same Venetian — 
" let him come here ; he will • find more proficiency made in it than in 
a Franciscan Convent." 

But for an artist the worst of all, as seems to us, were the interminable 
harassing worries connected with the financial chaos of the royal house- 
hold. The coffers are empty, and payment suspended, whereupon the 
underlings strike work I The denizens of the royal apartments freeze for 
want of fuel to heat the stoves. The Court dames must send round 
the corner for provisions, or go supperless to bed. People go about in 

Digitized by 


Administration of the Galleries. 375 

tatters, and the jobbing tailor to his Catholic Majesty no doubt does 
a roaring trade amongst his courtiers. 

The inevitable result were debts, and on one occasion our aposentador 
complains that sixty thousand reals of his yearly stipends were owing, thirty 
thousand for 1653 alone. But such carking cares were no doubt mitigated by 
the Spaniard's proverbial heedlessness in financial matters. At Velazquez' 
death, however, it was found that he had seriously overdrawn his account, 
his office of palace marshal being saddled with a debt of one million 
two hundred and twenty thousand seven hundred and seventy maravedisi 
say ;^730. The consequence was that the mayordomo mayor put the 
seal on his effects, and what that meant may easily be imagined from 
the foregoing description. After five years' continuous investigation it 
appeared he had on his part some heavy claims on the Treasury, and 
the sentence was that half of the debts should be regarded as effaced by 
his personal estate ; but the other half had to be made good by Velazquez' 
son-in-law and executor, Juan Bautista del Mazo, encumbered though he 
was with a large family (March 3, 1665). Thanks to this arrangement 
the sequestration was removed (April 11, 1666). 

Palomino justly remarks that this office would require a man's whole 
time, and speaks oA this point with a boldness that he would scarcely 
have ventured to indulge in under the old dynasty (p. 340 et seq,). He 
is, however, scarcely fair in blaming those who in this instance "put the 
square block in a round hole." He seems to have forgotten that it was 
V^elazquez himself who petitioned for the office, stating that it was even 
suited to his "genius." He consequently was to blame for having thus 
paid tribute to his high birth. 

Palomino appears also to have had certain information respecting 
some honours, even higher than the marshal's office and the Cross of 
Santiago itself, which the king had in store for him (pp. 341, 350). 

Administration of the Galleries. 

In his Description of the Escorial (1681, p. 67) the Prior Francisco de 
los Santos tells us it was *' owing to Velazquez' care that the royal palace, 
so far as regards its endowment of paintings, has become one of the 
greatest in the world." Even before his appointment to the office of palace 
marshal he had superintended the somewhat frequent alterations in the 
mural adornments. The old Alcazar was a monument of his long-continued 
many-sided activity, and the inventories in the palace archives show 
the continual acquisitions and changes of collocation in the course of 
Philip IV.'s reign. The inventory for the year 1636 even enables us to 

Digitized by 


376 Velazquez. 

realize the state of some of the compartments as they were left by 
Philip III., as well as the transformations that had already been commenced. 
The inventory for 1666, which must be supplemented by that for 1686, 
contains the final results of the five-and-forty years' government of the 
Art-loving sovereign. The last-mentioned inventory mentions altogether 
six hundred and fourteen originals and two hundred and ten copies ; more 
originals, remarks the author, Bernardo Ochoa, than any other sovereign 
could at that time boast of possessing. 

Purchases of new works rarely came within the province of the curators, 
although in this respect Velazquez' reputation stood high. He was even 
consulted by the Italian diplomatists in Madrid; Guidi, the Modenese 
envoy, placed full trust in him when treating for fourteen hunting-pieces 
by Paul de Vos from the estate of the Duke of Aerschot. 

In the third decade of the century Philip IV. had already begun some 
alterations in the Alcazar, especially with a view to more light, more 
room and convenience in the living apartments. Others, such as those 
of the summer quarter, were entirely rearranged, and adorned with a 
more choice collection of paintings. It is here that we first meet with the 
name of Rubens, who stood in these matters in the same relation to 
Philip IV. that Titian had to Philip II. 

The fourth decade was almost entirely occupied with the artistic 
equipment of Buen Retiro. Then followed the Tower in El Pardo, which 
absorbed most of Rubens' productions. Lastly, after the completion of 
the Pantheon in the Escorial it seemed a royal duty again to give a thought 
to this ''Wonder of the World," which since the death of its founder, 
Philip II., had been left to itself. Now, however, all the choice religious 
paintings of the Italian school that had been meantime acquired were 
removed thither and arranged by Velazquez. From the year 1656 the 
Sacristy of San Lorenzo took the foremost place amongst all the picture 
galleries belonging to the Spanish Crown. 

In consequence of these arrangements not many more works by our 
master were hung in the Alcazar, where nevertheless nearly all had been 
produced. The inventory of 1686 doubtless mentions no less than forty- 
three Velazquez ; amongst them however are many trivial things, such 
as antlers, sketches of horses with cavaliers and the like. All the equestrian 
portraits of the fourth decade, the Surrender of Breda, the Forge of 
Vulcan, the Water-Carrier and others were transferred to Buen Retiro. 

It is noteworthy that the inventories of the Alcazar for the Philip IV. 
period contain no reference to Zurbaran, Murillo, or the other great 
Andalusian painters, whose names are now most intimately associated 

Digitized by 


The Cross of Santiago. 2^11 

with the Spanish school. Ribera alone seems to have enjoyed this king's 
favour, and of him as many as thirty-six works are mentioned, five of 
which were hung in the royal sleeping apartments. A man of Philip's 
temperament must have found more pleasure in mythological subjects than 
in religious Art, with which he appears to have had little sympathy. 
Ribera's now lost Jael and Delilah seem to have been the first works of 
this master that found their way to the Alcazar. 

Here the mythological section was by far the most interesting, repre- 
sented as it was by such consummate masters as Titian, Tintoretto, and 
Paolo Veronese ; Rubens and Van Dyck ; Velazquez, Ribera and Artemisia 
Gentileschi. Probably nowhere else would it be possible so conveniently 
to compare the respective merits of these great artists in their different 
treatment of classic themes. 

\ rHE CROss OF Santiago^ 

The idea of knighting his Court painter never occurred to Philip IV. 
till the distinction had been earned by five-and-thirty years of faithful 
service. Thus it happened that our master enjoyed the privilege of wearing 
the red cross mantle for little over a twelvemonth. Possibly it had been 
a long coveted honour, for no higher but also no rarer distinction ever fell to 
the lot of a Spanish painter. How much more fortunate the Italians in this 
respect I So seldom was the Cross conferred on a Spanish artist that 
Pacheco and Palomino are able to specify all the recorded instances. 

Tradition mentioned only a solitary case, that of Antonio Rincon, who 
had been made a Knight of Santiago by Ferdinand. Philip II., although a 
friend of painters, had never awarded the merced del habito to any of 
them ; but his successor favoured several Italians in this way to please the 
pope. During his first visit to Rome Velazquez had met two of these, Gio- 
vanni Baglione and Giuseppe Cesari, and had perhaps reported to Pacheco 
how the Santiago habit was not good enough for that vain Cavaliere d'Arpino, 
because others also had it, aod how he had ''mended " it, that is, exchanged 
it for the gold chain and sword of St. Michael sent him by Louis XIII. 
And what a stir was made in 1625 when the Duke of Alcaic obtained for 
Romolo Cincinnato the honour of painting Urban VIII. ; who rewarded 
the artist with the Order of Christ. Now Velazquez had also painted a pope, 
but had only received a medallion and gold chain. At that time there 
was only one Spanish painter that had been knighted, Jusepe Ribera, 
who had also received the papal Order of Christ. 

Possibly this lack of precedents was the reason why Philip put the 
matter off so long. But at last he remembered that Titian signed 

Digitized by 


378 Velazquez. 

himself Eques Ccesareus^ having been ennobled by Charles V. ; and this 
would now be an opportunity of doing as the great emperor had done. 
The analogy could not be more striking, for of Velazquez also Olivares 
had said that he alone should paint the king, as Titian alone had to paint 
the emperor. And the Spanish master's facilitas and felicitas could ako 
be vaunted ; there were his equestrian statues in the Alcazar confronting 
Titian's stupendous work, without having to shrink from such close 
proximity. In fact the Marquis of Malpica, as mayor-domo mayor^ the most 
competent judge in such a question, had declared that his Majesty had 
but followed the example of Philip II. (meaning Charles V.) who had 
knighted Titian. 

The immediate occasion of the incident is not so clear. According 
to Palomino the king first broached the subject to Diego in the 
Escorial in the Holy Week of 1658, expressing his desire in this 
way to reward the artist's talents, skill and varied services, and leaving 
the choice of the Order to him. The King of Spain was ex officio 
perpetual administrator of those of Alcantara, Calatrava, and Santiago. 
Velazquez chose the last named, and was duly installed after complying 
with the usual formalities and receiving the pope's dispensation required 
by married laymen. According to the official documents * connected with 
the tedious preliminary process to prove irreproachable lives and spotless 
descent on both sides, the habit was conferred on him immediately after 
receipt of the papal brief on July 29, 1659. 

jThe Completion of the Escoriau. 

In March 1654 the Court and province were thrown into a state of 
unusual excitement in connection with the solemn consecration of the 
sepulchral chapel in the Escorial and the consignment of the remains 
of the king's ancestry to this national Pantheon. 

The erection of such a mausoleum had formed an essential part of the 
plans for Philip Il.'s huge building. Yet this " family vault " was 
precisely the only part of the Escorial that had not been completed 
at the founder's death, and had remained in this unfinished state for over 
half a century thereafter. 

In the year 1594 the remains of all the former members of the 
dynasty had been removed by Philip 11. to St. Laurence and temporarily- 
placed in the old Church. Their last resting-place was to be an 
octangular structure under the high altar, '* after the model of the 

■ These documents, now in the Archivo histdrico nacional have been published by 
Villaamil in the Revista Europea (Madrid: 1874), ii., 39, 80, 105, 275, 402. 

Digitized by 


Completion of the Escorial. 379 

catacombs of the early Christians." Its completion was prevented by 
unfortunate circumstances which could neither be foreseen nor prevented ; 
but the aged king's intentions were sufficiently indicated in the remark 
that ''he had built a house to God; let his son build one, if he will, 
for his bones and those of his parents." Anyhow the chapel was 
"secluded, gloomy, and dark, and of difficult access." Hence between 
it and the floor of the Church a second provisional crypt was constructed 
disposed in three callejones^ or vaulted galleries, and here the coffins 
remained till the year 1654. 

Philip III. did not remember his father's wish till a. few years before 
his end. When in Rome Cardinal Zapata had made the acquaintance 
of the young architect, Giovanni Battista Crescenzi, whom he induced 
to follow him to Madrid (161 7), and to him the Pantheon owes its 
present form. According to his plans the floor was sunk five-and-half 
feet and the walls rebuilt of granite richly faced with marble, jasper, and 
bronze. Competent craftsmen were brought from Italy and the works 
proceeded apace as far as the cupola, which was also closed in soon 
after the accession of Philip IV. 

Then amid the layers of masonry was discovered a spring, which it 
was found impossible to drain off. The works came to a standstill, and 
it was even proposed to pull down the Pantheon and re-erect it elsewhere. 
At last, however, the local vicar, P. Fray Nicolas de Madrid, contrived 
in 1645 to draw off the water; he also constructed a convenient flight 
of steps, and lit up the lunettes by means of a window let into the 
church wall. The ornamentation still required for the cupola was like- 
wise executed by two members of the religious community forming part 
of the Escorial, and thus, to the great relief of the king, the troublesome 
question of the Pantheon was at last brought to a successful issue. Friar 
Nicholas was rewarded by being made Prior and Bishop of Astorga. 

Before their removal the coffins were opened, when the body of 
Charles V. was found almost unchanged. The king and his suite entered 
the crypt on March 15, 1654, and the Venetian envoy, Quirini, afterwards 
wrote that "the likeness of the emperor to his portrait could be 
recognized quite well. He had a rather full fair beard ; the body was 
under the average size, the bones thin, the flesh meagre and dried. Nose 
and lips, fingers and toes, were deformed by the gout which does not 
even spare the dead ; after a hundred years the marks were still visible 
of the sufferings he had endured." 

In the middle of the Church five catafalques were erected, draped with 
gold-embroidered velvet and surmounted by crowns. In the first row 

Digitized by 


380 Velazquez. 

were Philip II. and Philip III., then the emperor more elevated, and 
lastly, next the altar, the four queens, Elizabeth of Portugal, Margaret 
of Austria, Elizabeth of Bourbon, and Ann of Austria. 

The ceremony produced a profound impression on Philip IV., now in 
his fiftieth year. The reflection that he too would ere long fill a niche 
in that Pantheon, and the remark of his Court theologians that it had 
been reserved for him to set the crown on Philip II.'s ''eighth wonder," 
awakened the desire to make further provision for San Lorenzo el Real. 
He decided to give the Church forty-one choice paintings, which during 
late years had come into his possession, mostly as gifts. They comprised 
works by such pre-eminent Italian masters as Raphael, Titian, Paolo 
Veronese, and Tintoretto, and nothing was more calculated than such 
a donation to enhance the splendour of the Escorial. 

'' His Majesty," writes De los Santos, " noticed that several places 
especially the sacristy, were poor in pictures, and he at once came to 
our aid by selecting a number of religious pafttings from amongst those 
in his palace. By parting with them he gives a fresh and special proof 
of his love for this holy house, and shows how, in order to sumptuously 
adorn it, he will never hesitate, if necessary, to deprive his own mansion 
of its most costly contents." 

Amongst the most valuable of these paintings were the four Don 
Luis de Haro had acquired at the sale of the effects of Charles I., King 
of England. These were the so-called Pearl of Raphael, for which 
the commissioner, Major Edward Bass, paid ;^2,ooo on October 23, 
1651 ; Andrea del Sarto's Holy Family (Prado, No. 385, ;^230) ; Veronese's 
Marriage of Cana (Prado, No. 534); and Tintoretto's Washing of the 
Feet (Escorial, £2So), 

When Parliament voted the sequestration and sale of the king's effects 
(March 23, 1648), Spain had fortunately in Don Alonso de Cardenas a diplo- 
matist in London, who had managed from the first to keep on the best 
terms with the Parliamentarians. The Spanish ambassador, we are told 
in a contemporary document,* was the first to purchase these things ; 
he had acquired some from the timber-dealer, Harison, to the value of 
;f500; from Murray, the tailor, and others, two paintings by Titian, 
a Venus, half-length, and the Jewellers for ;^50 (Belvedere, No. 508). 
A cardinal seated and two old men behind him, by Tintoretto, ;^8cx>. 
The government gave him the eleven Caesars by Titian, together with the 
twelfth painted by Van Dyck. Each of these had cost the king ;^ICX); 

* Egerton Manuscripts^ British Museum. 

Digitized by 


Completion of the Escorial. 381 

and ;^i 2,000 (?) had been offered him for them.^ He possesses the famous 
Venus by Titian for which the king had been offered ;£"2,500.^ So far 
the Egerton papers. 

There were also the Portrait of Charles V. with the large dog secured 
by Sir Balthasar Gerbier for ;^I50 on June ^i, 165 1 ; Titian's Rest on 
the Flight to Egypt (Prado, No. 472) ; Palma's Conversion of St. 
Paul (Prado, No. 325, £106); David with the Head of Goliath (Prado, 
No. 324, £io6)f and others, including altogether fifteen Titians, besides 
two Madonnas, and the twelve Caesars, which, according to the Florentine 
envoy, reached Madrid from London in September 1652. 

Philip, who after all was not destitute of feeling, may well have had 
his own thoughts about these effects of the unhappy prince, who had once 
been his guest in the Alcazar. For, strictly speaking, he was now appro- 
priating the property of the rightful heir to the throne of England. The 
followers of Charles Stuart and his son spoke bitterly at the time on the 
eagerness of the European princes to secure their share in the plunder, 
especially as the dispersion abroad removed all hope of later restitution. 
With a view to such restitution various royalists had in fact acquired 
many of the more valuable things. 

In the Spanish accounts also no mention is made of any direct 
participation of PhiHp in the transaction. It is distinctly stated that the 
pictures were purchased by, and consigned to, Don Luis de Haro, but 
then on their reaching Madrid it was discovered that they were worthy 
of being shown to the king, at whose feet Haro hastened to place 

That the public conscience was not quite clear in the matter appears 
also from the account given of it by Sir Edward Hyde (Lord Clarendon), 
who was in Madrid with Cottington as envoy of Charles II. when these 
treasures were landed at Corufia. In January 1651 they both received 
their passports, and learnt later the true reason of this step. It was not 
thought desirable that they should be eye-witnesses when the effects of 
their sovereign were being transferred to the royal palace in Madrid.® 

The arrangement of the forty-one paintings was entrusted to Velazquez, 
and the chief place chosen for their reception was the beautiful sacristy, 
which was a hundred and eight by thirty feet, and which was lighted by 
nine high windows above the mouldings running along the left side. No 

* Walpole, however (Anecdotes ii.), states that the ambassador paid ;^i,2oo for 

* This is the Venus with the Organ-player now in the Prado, No. 1651. 
■ Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, vi., 457, Oxford ed., 1826. 

Digitized by 


382 Velazquez. 

more advantageous site could have been selected. SigQenza, Prior of the 
Monastery under Philipp II., declares, that he felt his heart enlarged 
every time he entered the sacristy. The place of honour over the high 
altar was assigned to Raphael's Pearl. 

But despite all these splendours, the sacristy was eclipsed by the 
Aula de Sta. Escritura, where the monks received instruction in divinity. 
Here had already been hung Titian's famous Gloria; the two large pieces 
that Veronese and Tintoretto had painted for the high altar of the principal 
church (Annunciation and Nativity); Titian's large St. Margaret with the 
Dragon and Penitent St. Jerome; El Mudo's last work, the Burial of 
St. Laurence. To these were now added, as gifts from the king, Raphael's 
Madonna with Tobias, the finest work by this master ever possessed by 
Spain, and still the true gem of the Madrid collection.; an Entombment 
of Christ, and an Ecce Homo by Titian ; Christ in the Vestibule, and 
the Martyrdom of St. Gin^s by Veronese. 

The majority of all these works have migrated in the present century 
to the Madrid Prado Museum; some have disappeared or have gone 
abroad, and but few now remain in the Escorial. The vacant spaces 
have been filled by a somewhat pitiful collection of works scraped together 
from various quarters. 

The ** Memoria." 

It had long been known that Velazquez had also wielded the pen. 
Palomino, after stating (iii., 343) that the king had charged him in 1656 
with the arrangement of the pictures removed to the Escorial, adds : ** Of 
these Velazquez composed a description, or Memoria, in which he gives 
particulars on their excellence, history, authors, and on the place where 
they were hung, in order to explain {ntanifestar) them to His Majesty, 
and with so much elegance and propriety, that the document is a proof 
of his learning and of his great judgment ; for so important are these 
paintings, that properly speaking he alone could give them their due 

Although this was the only known allusion to the document, still 
it was probable enough that it might be hidden away in some of the 
royal archives, as in fact had been suggested by Stirling- Maxwell. And 
so it happened that in 1871 the Art world was surprised by the announce- 
ment that Adolfo de Castro of Cadiz had succeeded in discovering the 
Memoria, but, strange to say, in printed form. From this solitary copy 
it was re-issued by Cafiete in the Memorias of the Spanish Academy for 
August 1872, and again in Paris in 1874 by Ch. Davillier, with a 

Digitized by 


The ** Memoria." 383 

French translation, notes, and an etched portrait of the painter- by 

It consists of two parts, respectively describing the new pictures 
and their arrangement in the Escorial, thirty-two pages altogether. The 
joy of Velazquez' friends at the "find" was somewhat damped by the 
discovery that the booklet contained next to nothing new either in form 
or contents. Fray Francisco de los Santos had already in his Short 
Description of the Monastery of San Lorenzo el Real (1657) embodied the 
whole document without acknowledgment, but so skilfully that nobody had 
hitherto detected the traces of a second hand. 

The pamphlet itself was not printed by Velazquez, but by his pupil 
and admirer Don Juan de Alfaro of Cordova then eighteen years old, 
impelled thereto by zeal for his master's literary reputation, which seemed 
to be imperilled by De los Santos' plagiarism. In his youthful impatience 
to save the time required to obtain a proper imprimatur^ he appears to 
have hit upon the device of putting Rome and an imaginary printing 
office on the title-page. 

Alfaro's object, however, failed completely, at least so far as concerned 
posterity for the next two hundred years. The booklet rapidly vanished, 
nor has a single reference to its existence hitherto been discovered in 
Palomino or elsewhere. Thus the Memoria remained entirely forgotten till, 
as the fortunate discoverer remarks, ''this profound silence of nearly 
two centuries has at last been broken by Don Pedro Madrazo." But 
even before Madrazo's allusion (1870), Stirling-Maxwell had already 
in 1848 not only mentioned the MemoriOf but had suggested that it 
" probably had guided De los Santos in his Description of the Escorial " 
(Annals ii., 654). 

Had this shrewd Scottish writer pushed the matter a little farther, 
had he simply picked out the passages in De los Santos' book referring 
to those forty-one paintings, omitting a few theological sentences and 
arranging everything in its most natural order, he might have given us 
the Memoria pretty much as it has been discovered by De Castro. When 
it is remembered that De Castro forgets to specify the place where his 
unique copy came to light, may it not be suggested that Stirling-Maxwell's 
hint may not after all have fallen on barren soil? If taken up and acted 
upon by a clever *' manufacturer," it would certainly be quite possible to 

^ The original title ran : Memoria / de las pinturas / que la magestad Catho / lica del 
Rey nuestro Senor Don Philipe / IV. embia al Monsterio ... del Escurial este aflo de 

M.D.C. LVI. / descriptas ycolocadas / por Diego de Sylva Velazquez, la ofreece, dedica 

y consagra / a la Posteridad / D. Juan de Alfaro / Impresa en Roma, en la Oficina de 
Ludouico / Grignano, afto de M.D.C. LVIII. i6 Bl. 80. 

Digitized by 


384 Velazquez. 

produce such a document as this, and on such a supposition many difficulties 
surrounding it would admit of easy explanation. It may also be more 
than a mere coincidence that another of De Castro's finds, Calderon's 
BtiscapU} proved a mare's nest, so that one feels inclined to exclaim : 
Timeo Danaos et dona ftrentes. 

Anyhow, the strong feeling of indignation against the "usurper," 
De los Santos, displayed by the Spanish academicians at the reading of 
the document, and the corresponding laudation of Velazquez as a master 
of style and so forth, may yet have to be moderated. De los Santos' 
Description received the privil^e on October 15, 1656; and the manu- 
script must consequently have been already for some time in the hands 
of the censors of the Press, as this was always a somewhat lengthy 
process. The printing of the work must have also been completed 
before March 20, 1657, when its agreement with the "copy" was certified 
by the censors. But a folio volume of one hundred and eighty-four 
sheets is not struck off "between sunrise and sunset." Hence this book 
must have been completed in all essentials about the time its author could 
have seen the Memoriae which could not have been drawn up before 
1656, when Velazquez superintended the removal of the forty-one paintings 
and their arrangement in the EscoriaL De los Santos must have con- 
sequently at the last moment appropriated the contents of the Memoria^ 
and even taken the time to foist into the text those theological passages 
after his own taste, by which it is interlarded. And he must have done 
all this with such literary skill that, as already observed, the fraud remained 
unsuspected till the De Castro find. 

That this monk availed himself of the aid of specialists, especially in the 
artistic sections, was natural enough ; nor did he make any secret of it, for 
in the prologue he acknowledges his indebtedness in these respects not to 
one but to several competent persons : a point which De Castro has again 

But, assuming his appropriation of the very words of the Memoria, it 
might still be argued that its author's name was not mentioned, with the 
consent, and even at the request, of Velazquez himself, literary work being at 
that time held rather in contempt by the Spanish nobility. Anyhow, it seems 
scarcely credible that De los Santos, who was also Court chaplain, would 
have in this matter done anything likely to offend the king and his highl3'- 
favoured palace marshal, both of whom must have at once become "aware of 
the plunder. 

But on the other hand how could Velazquez have immediately afterwards 
' Ticknor, History of Spanish Literature, iii., 404. 

Digitized by 


The ** Memoria. 385 

sanctioned Alfaro's issue of the Memoria bearing his own name on the 
title-page, and avowedly published to expose the monk's literary theft ? 

And then, after the appearance of the Memoria in print, which furnished 
everybody with a proof of the assumed plagiarism, how could De los Santos 
in later editions of his work avoid some explanation or palliation of his 
previous silence? An excellent opportunity for such an explanation pre- 
sented itself in the edition of 1 681, where he had to describe Velazquez' 
picture of Joseph's Coat, which Philip IV. had in his lifetime destined for 
the Escorial. In connection with this matter De los Santos took occa- 
sion to make the following highly laudatory reference to the Court painter : 
*' Philip IV. honoured Velazquez on account of his excellent qualities and 
faithful service. The Escorial, no less than the royal palace [the Alcazar], 
is indebted to his efforts that it is as remarkable for its paintings as it is for 
its architecture. It was Velazquez who fitted up the sacristy, the aulilla 
and the priory chapter-house; nay, the very paintings with which he 
adorned these places were by himself brought together from various parts 
of Europe. He was a man of excellent taste and judgment, especially in 
portraits ; but in this painting we see that he was not less so in all that 
he took in hand." Here it may be asked, Why does he forbear to add : 
*'. . . excellent even when he exchanged the brush for the pen, for we have 
ourselves to thank him for some valuable suggestions for this book,** etc. 

Scarcely any discovery in Art literature has ever been hailed with more 
expectations than this commentary by Velazquez on Italian paintings. It 
ought to possess a higher interest than could be claimed for the rarest 
relics or curios ] for here we might learn how the Titians, Correggios, 
Raphaels, Andrea del Sartos, appealed to the understanding of such an 
artist, that is to say, an artist who for nearly forty years was daily 
conversant with the pictorial treasures of the Spanish Crown, and who 
had made two journeys to Italy for the purpose of studying and collecting 
such works. 

The purpose of the Memoria was to make a sort of Catalogue Raisonn^, 
or descriptive inventory, of the forty-one paintings and of their distribution 
over the new space assigned to them in the Escorial. But it is not made 
quite clear which were precisely these forty-one works. First and foremost 
come twenty- four, most in the order in which they had been received by the 
king; then follows their arrangement in their new home jointly with that 
of the others and of some few already in the Escorial. Thus it is not 
always possible to make out which are the new arrivals, and in point of fact 
five of the very finest are not mentioned at all, because they had not yet 
been hung. 


Digitized by 


386 VeLAZ(,)UEZ. 

To the twenty-four in question are devoted brief notices, varying from 
three to twenty-five lines, rapid sketches of the composition interwoven with 
still more laconic remarks on their excellent qualities. The tone of these 
notes is laudatory, even enthusiastic and solemn. The terminology em- 
ployed in the characterization is more aesthetic than artistic ; it deals more 
with the impression produced especially on devout temperaments than with 
the distinct qualities of the representation. 

As regards the form of the Memoria, the Court painter shows himself 
curiously indifferent to the official formalities customary in such documents. 
He begins the report somewhat cavalierly, without so much as an address to 
the exalted person from whom he has received his commission, without even 
mentioning the commission itself which he is about to discharge. 

Instead of the name of Philip IV., as one should expect, we find 'that 
of Charles Stuart, King of England, who had been executed eight years 
previously. The author thus rushes />/ ntedias res quite after the manner of 
a modern essayist, who seeks at once to rivet the reader's attention by some 
sensational remark. 

What he should have introduced at the opening is reserved for the 
conclusion, where we read : *' His Majesty, noticing that some places 
[in the Escorial] were too poorly furnished with paintings, lost no time 
in making good the defect — a foresight doubtless on the part of his 
grandfather. For if the latter in his great piety undertook the erection of 
this wonderful and holy work, he still left abundance of space unoccupied, 
so that by adorning and enriching it the royal spirit of his grandson 
might induce his monks in becoming gratitude constantly to pray God for 
the blessing and prolonging of such a valuable life." 

Such fulsomeness may have accorded with the official style of the period ; 
but even De los Santos found it desirable to considerably tone it down in 
his own work. Thus Court chaplain and Court painter seemed to Ijave here 
changed places. The former writes simply and to the point, the latter in the 
absurdly inflated style of Byzantine adulation. All this is surely sufficient 
to justify one's doubts as to the authenticity of the Memoria, 

Digitized by 



1651 — 1660. 


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* - t« < g - f < et# i<t 'i g<<r< <g4<-c<<<^>»»»?»^>j?»>^>»>^>>r>H»>»f $ 

The Third Style. 

FROM the works of the last decade is derived the current notion of the 
so-called third style, a style which is often alone meant in speaking 
of Velazquez's manner. Nor is this popular view altogether wrong ; for the 
style in question is in a measure merely the last phase, the full ripeness of an 
Art fundamentally one, though continuously developed by ever-increasing 
command of technique and more and more perfect vision. Facility, elegance, 
spirit are not precisely the qualities one expects to find in youthful force and 
fire. Nevertheless even in his earliest works Velazquez already shows 
himself a firm, broad delineator ; and the Cardinal- Prince Ferdinand, who 
quitted Spain in 1632, even at that time vaunted his rapidity as a special 

But what is this third style? One might reply his pri nciple was to 
produce.lh£Lgea test effectj vith the least expenditure ofmeans and time ; or 
that here the fundamental laws of draughtsmanship are seriously attended to, 
painting what one really sees, not what one fancies one sees or infers ; or 
again coloured light effects carried to the point of optical delusion^ But the 
less we can measure or grasp this special object of painting, the more 
delicate and steady must be the hand that precipitates and crystallizes the 
mental picture. Hence the broadness of treatment, the artist working with 
a full grasp of the general impression ; hence also the incalculable nature of 
the touchesjnspired by the .subtle optic feeling of the moment. 

Of the many qualities of Velazquez' works none has been so early 
and so frequently dwelt upon as the free, unclouded touch of his brushy 
Boschini, himself a Venetian, already noticed in Innocent X.'s portrait el vero 
colpo Venetian (''the true Venetian touch"); Richardson called attention to 
la grande variete de teintes couchees se'parcnient