- 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 (1833–1882);
Thence by descent until sold anonymously ('Property from a Private Collection'), London, Sotheby's, 9 December 2009, lot 27, where acquired by the present owner.
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 strong fairly recent stretcher with a loose canvas behind, possibly supporting an old lining. So that the painting seems to be hanging slightly disconnected from the tension of the backing. The canvas texture across the paint surface has not been flattened, and is even and regular throughout, with a faint old crease just above the head. The paint appears exceptionally undisturbed, having apparently had remarkably few interventions in the past. There is only slight wear at the sides of the cheeks and very slightly by one hand. The figure itself has been lightly cleaned comparatively recently while much of the background appears scarcely touched, with a fairly light layer of old varnish, which is rather opaque under ultra violet light. A few quite recent retouchings can be seen: a little zigzag scratch by the elbow on the right, with a long narrow scratch nearby just under the mirror, and a patch of retouching at the centre right edge. Another few small, apparently quite superficial, retouchings are in the centre left background, with a patch of retouching at the centre of the top edge, and the brocading in the top left corner having strengthening brushstrokes. The edges elsewhere also have some minor retouching, for instance down the right edge.
However these are minimal imperfections in such an exceptionally intact, well preserved painting, which has apparently been spared almost any intrusion over centuries.
This report was not done under laboratory conditions.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
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 Charles 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 holding a letter. This version would appear to date from the mid-1670s, 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 about 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 in existence. In addition to these portraits Carreño also painted numerous official portraits of the court dwarfs, clowns and official visitors, much as Velázquez 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 œuvre 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 Velázquez.
This portrait is said to have remained in the same family collection for over two hundred years and was passed by descent within the family until sold in 2009, 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 nineteenth 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 1985, reproduced pp. 159,160 and 163 respectively.