Portrait Elizabeth of Portugal, Titian

Portrait Elizabeth of Portugal, Titian
Portrait Elizabeth of Portugal, Titian

It is not strange that the great painters of each era dedicated themselves to portraying the most distinguished characters of their time, whether they were nobles, clergymen or even kings; what is not so common is that these painters dedicated themselves to portraying characters they did not know and who were already dead, these are two of the characteristics that we find in the portrait of Isabella of Portugal made by the Renaissance artist Tiziano. Making a bad portrait of roy alty was not a trivial matter at all, more than one painter had had serious problems because of it, so that making a work without having met the model was not at all easy and it was a great responsibility.


In the year 1539 Emperor Charles I of Spain and V of Germany ordered one of the most distinguished artists of his time to make a portrait of his late wife. Tiziano Vecellio, better known simply as Tiziano (1477 – 1576) was responsible for carrying out the work. During Titian's lifetime he already enjoyed great fame and splendor working for the best clients of his time, his personal and unique style led him to be considered one of the best exponents of the Venetian school along with Tintoretto and Veronese.

As we pointed out before, the artist never got to meet the empress in person, so when he made the canvas he had to base himself on acomposition of a second-rate painter. To this day, the author of the famous canvas remains a mystery, although some experts speak of the possibility that it was a canvas by the Spanish painter Diego de Arrollo, by some Flemish artist such as Scrouts or Vermeyen, and it has even been speculated that it could ser Seisenegger, author of Austrian origin. Be that as it may and according to the chronicles, the truth is that the canvas did not have to present a great technical quality but it did have a certain realism in the representation of the lady, which gave Tiziano inspiration.

The artist followed the same composition in the portrait as the rest of the classical artists, placing the portrayed woman on one of the sides of the canvas, in this case on the left, and seated, arranged diagonally with a book on the hand and without paying attention to the viewer. The empress appears adorned with a great dress and a multitude of precious jewels that have been represented in great detail. Next to it there is a large window that allows us to observe the natural landscape and where the artist demonstratesa great mastery of perspective

It seems that despite everything the work was to the monarch's liking since the king of the House of Austria took it with him during his retreat to the Yuste monastery. The canvas also passed through the Descalzas Reales Monastery in Madrid and today it is exhibited in the Prado Museum.

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