Prince B altasar Carlos hunter, Velázquez

Prince B altasar Carlos hunter, Velázquez
Prince B altasar Carlos hunter, Velázquez

If we had to point out an artist dedicated to the representation of the monarchy throughout the history of art, it would be Diego de Velázquez. The Sevillian painter dedicated a good number of canvases to represent the monarchs of the House of Habsburgs; but if Velázquez represented the monarchy so many times throughout his career, it was because, thanks to his skill and technical ability, he consecrated himself as a court painter, gaining access to a high social position. There are many canvases that are preserved today on the monarch Felipe IV, but his position as royal painter allowed him not only to represent the sovereign but also the entire royal family,in fact the Perhaps the most outstanding work of the Sevillian artist's entire production, Las Meninas is nothing more than the representation of the ladies-in-waiting of the Infanta Margarita.

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Thus, the work that concerns us here is also about another of the youngest members of Philip IV's family, this time Prince B altasar Carlos, whom Velázquez represents as a hunter. Prince B altasar Carlos was the son of the monarch Felipe IV and his first wife, Isabel de Borbón; the young monarch represented the future of the House of Habsburg and his untimely death at just seventeen years of age was a severe blow to the king.

The painting that concerns us here is a portrait of the little prince withonly six years old, as the inscription with the age of the monarch conveys to us -possibly it was a later addition- so the canvas must have been painted in the year 1635 or 1636. It is an oil on canvas in vertical format that would be destined to decorate the walls of the hunting pavilion that the monarch had in the Pardo forests and that was known as Torre de la Parada. In it were the famous canvases of Ovid's Metamorphoses that the monarch had commissioned from Rubens, as well as other hunting-type works that were also painted by Velázquez.

On the canvas the artist presents us with the little prince on his feet, looking directly at the viewer. He appears dressed in the clothing of hunting activity, an activity that by the way was typical of kings and nobles and was considered as training for war. The monarch wears dark clothes where the collars of the white shirt with embroidered lace and high boots stand out. It should be noted that in the figure of the young prince B altasar Carlos we do not find any object that identifies him with his princely status.

Together with the monarch appear two hunting dogs that originally must have been three –they appear in copies made at the time- but one of the dogs disappeared when cutting the canvas. The prince stands next to a large oak tree and in the background of the composition you can see the landscape of the Madrid mountains with high, blue mountains that inspire tranquility.

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