Lot 27
  • 27

Juan Carreño de Miranda

50,000 - 70,000 GBP
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  • Juan Carreño de Miranda
  • Portrait of Charles II, King of Spain (1661-1700)
  • oil on canvas


By tradition said to have been acquired by Don Gonzalo de Ulloa y Ortega Montañés, Conde de Adanero;
Thence by descent.


"The following condition report has been provided by Sarah Walden, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This painting has a firm quite old lining and stretcher, and a mature old varnish from the same period. The canvas texture has not been flattened, and is even and regular throughout, with a slight old crease or possible seam just above the head. The entire painting appears extraordinarily undisturbed, having perhaps had only a single restoration, just visible in the head where there is slight wear at the sides of the cheeks and very slightly by one hand. There are a few minimal little retouchings by the temple and the side of the cheeks, but no signs of intervention are apparent elsewhere. With one exception, in the lower centre of the figure there is an old splash of dark paint, scarcely visible in the dark drapery. This report was not done under laboratory conditions."
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

Carreño was appointed 'Pintor de Cámara' in 1671 and for the remainder of the decade painted several portraits of the young King in this precise pose, documenting his growing stature through adolescence. Until 1675 the young king is always depicted, as here, in the Salón de los Espejos in the Alcázar, where Carreño had worked in 1659 under the supervision of Velázquez; his left hand resting his hat on the table-top and his right hand loosely grasping a letter. This version would appear to date from circa 1675, depicting Charles at the age of about fourteen or fifteen, and therefore has most in common with the portrait in the Museo del Prado, Madrid, which Pérez Sánchez dates to circa 1675. After this date Carreño's portraits of the king become increasingly formal and decorative, depicting Charles in official robes of the Golden Fleece (1677; Schloß Rohrau, Rohrau) or military uniform (circa 1683; Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe, Guadalupe).1 Of the earlier portraits, one is signed and dated 1671 and is today in the Museo de Bellas Artes, Oviedo; and another, signed and dated 1673, is in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.2

The present design was adopted by the King as his official court portrait, thereby accounting for the large number of versions and variants in existence. In addition to these portraits Carreño also painted numerous official portraits of the court dwarfs, clowns and official visitors, much as Velásquez had done earlier in the century. Carreño's influence reached further than merely court portraiture: he oversaw, for example, the restoration of the monastery of the Escorial after a fire there in 1671. His later oeuvre is dominated by religious pictures but none of these compare to the portraiture of the 1670s which cemented Carreño's reputation as a worthy heir to Velásquez. 

A note on the Provenance:
This portrait is said to have remained in the same family collection for over two hundred years and has descended to the present owners ultimately from Don Gonzalo de Ulloa y Ortega Montañés, Conde de Adanero, who built one of the most important art collections in Spain during the 18th century. The collection, based in Cordoba, incorporated a large collection of miniatures, Sèvres porcelain and important Old Masters by Velázquez, Goya, El Greco and Zurbarán amongst many others. The collection is today largely dispersed amongst the various houses of the Adanero descendants.

1. See, for example, A.E. Pérez Sánchez, Juan Carreño de Miranda, Avila 1985, reproduced pp. 176 and 180.
2. Pérez Sánchez, op. cit., reproduced pp. 159,160 and 163 respectively.