Diego Velázquez - King Philip IV of Spain, 1628-1629

Diego Velázquez (Seville, 1599 - 1660, Madrid)

King Philip IV of Spain, 1628-1629

Oil on canvas, 201.2 x 109.5 cm (79 3/16 x 43 1/8 in.)


Object details

Accession number



Collection of Don Diego Messía Felípez de Guzmán, the Marquis of Leganés (d. 1655), Madrid. (original commission?)Collection of the Marquises de Leganés, Madrid, by descent, 1655–1711.Collection of the Counts of Altamira, Madrid, by descent, 1711– early 19th century.Looted by the French during Joseph Bonaparte's occupation of Madrid in 1813.Restored to the Altamira family by a decree of King Louis XVIII of France issued on 8 May 1814.Collection of Vicente Pío Osorio de Moscoso, Count of Altamira by 1820–1827.Purchased by William John Bankes, Kingston Lacy, Dorset (d. 1855) from Mr. Stanley's auction of Count Altamira's collection, London, 1 June 1827, lot. 46.Collection of George Bankes, Kingston Lacy, Dorset, by inheritance (d. 1856).Collection of Edmund George Bankes, Kingston Lacy, Dorset, by inheritance, 1856–1860.Collection of John Henry Percival Bankes, Kingston Lacy, Dorset, by inheritance, 1860–1869.Collection of Walter Ralph Bankes, Kingston Lacy, Dorset, by inheritance, 1869– still in 1883, (d. 1904).Purchased by the art dealers Colnaghi & Co. from the Bankes family by 1896.Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from Conaghi & Co., on 27 November 1896 for £15,000 through Bernard Berenson (1865–1959), American art historian.


Inscribed in black (lower left corner): R. PHE. 4 [Re Phelipe IV]
Inscribed in white (lower right): 2340


Mr. Stanley. A Catalogue of a Magnificent Collection of Pictures by the most Distinguished Italian, Spanish, and Flemish Painters, being a considerable portion of the Gallery of Count Altamira... (1 June 1827, London), p. 5, lot 46. (as Velázquez)
Art Exhibition: Mrs. John L. Gardner, 152 Beacon St., Boston. Exh. cat. (Boston, 1899), p. 4, no. 2. (as Velázquez)
Catalogue. Fenway Court. (Boston, 1903), p. 21. (as Velázquez)
George L. Stout. "A Portrait of Philip IV in Fenway Court." Unpublished article (18 January 1928). (as Velázquez and workshop)
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), p. 392-96. (as Velázquez)
C. H. Collins Baker. "Some Velazquez Problems." The Connoisseur (September 1932), vol. XC, no. 373, pp. 146-159. (as Velázquez)
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), pp. 218-19. (as Velázquez)
Stuart Preston. "King Philip IV of Spain" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 38. (as Velázquez)
Ronald Hilton. Handbook of Hispanic Source Materials and Research Organizations in the United States (Stanford, California, 1956), p. 196. (as Velázquez)
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 271-72, (as Velázquez and workshop)
Eric Young. "Notes on Spanish Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum." Fenway Court (1979), pp. 24-35, no. 10. (as Velázquez and workshop)
Mary Crawford Volk. "Of Connoisseurs and Kings: Velásquez’ Philip IV at Fenway Court ." Fenway Court (1985), pp. 22-35. (as Velázquez)
Jonathan Brown. "Enemies of Flattery: Velázquez' Portraits of Philip IV." Journal of Interdisciplinary History 17, no, 1 (Summer 1986), pp. 137-54.
Rollin van N. Hadley (ed.). The Letters of Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner 1887-1924 (Boston, 1987), pp. 67-72, 74-76, 78-79, 121, 354, 356, 358, 360-62, 481.
Salvador Salort Pons. "Velázquez and Giulio Sacchetti: Two Unpublished Portraits of the King and Queen of Spain." The Burlington Magazine 143, no. 1175 (Feb. 2001), pp. 67-72, n. 14. (dated 1626-1628)
Cynthia Saltzman. Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures (New York: Penguin Books, 2008), pp. 67, 80.
Sebastian Smee. "A Fresh Look at a Masterpiece." Boston Globe (January 9, 2011).
Linda J. Docherty. "Translating Dante: Isabella Stewart Gardner's Museum as Paradiso." Religion and the Arts (2018), pp. 200, 204.
Richard L. Kagan. The Spanish Craze: America's Fascination with the Hispanic World, 1779-1939 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2019), pp. 231-233, 263, ill. p. 232 fig. 32.

Rights and reproductions

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The Gardner portrait of Philip IV of Spain is a version of the famous portrait in the Prado, Madrid, and is one in a series Velázquez painted of the King after the artist's appointment to the court in 1623. The Prado portrait was painted around 1628 and the Gardner version shortly thereafter. Remarkably, the Prado picture as we see it today represents a complete reworking of the canvas covering an earlier portrait of the King painted in 1623. A copy of that first version, also by Velázquez and now in the Metropolitan Museum, shows Philip IV in a similar pose although the position of the feet is quite different and overall, his figure is stout and his cape wide in proportion. In the Gardner painting, he is slender and rendered in a more idealized form that is meant to enhance his stature as supreme ruler. Dressed in black, Philip stands in a three-quarter stance against an undefined and austere gray background. In a pose that he took during official proceedings at the court, his left hand holds the hilt of his sword and his right hand holds a partially folded note.


Diego Velázquez

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