It was in August 1623, as Pacheco informs us, that Diego Velazquez established himself permanently at Madrid.l As on his first visit to court in 1622, it was probably Don Juan de Fonseca, now possibly acting on the orders of the CondeDuque de Olivares, who summoned the artist Certainly it was through Fonseca and Gaspar de Bracamonte that Velazquez obtained his commission to paint Philip IN and the ensuing portrait met with such approval that in October the young Sevillian was appointed pintor del rey. Soon thereafter - again according to Pacheco - he was granted the exclusive right to produce portraits of the king.2 But, as very little has survived of Velazquez's earliest undertakings at court, his artistic development at this key moment of his career - when he first came into contact with the royal collections on the one hand and found it necessary to adopt the conventions of court portraiture on the other - has been difficult to assess. We cannot gauge, for example, to what extent he was allowed a free hand in his portrayal of the monarch or was obliged to conform to the standard types of image that, since the time of Antonio Moro, had become established as standard in Spanish royal portraits. It is in this respect that a pair of hitherto unpublished portraits of the young Philip IV and Queen Isabel in the Sacchetti collection in Rome (Figs. l and 2) are of particular interest.
Two paintings by Murillo which have been at the Louvre since 1785 have never until recently been considered particularly exceptional, although the fact that they were thought to be painted on marble seemed to make them something of an anomaly in the artist's oeuvre, and occasionally gave rise to some doubts concerning their attribution.' The recent re- hanging of the new Spanish rooms in the Louvre in the aile de Flore gave us the opportunity to take a closer look at the paintings in the collection, and in particular to examine their backs. The examination of the two Murillos produced some unexpected results which stimulated further research into the question of their supports and their provenance.
Since its unveiling in 1937 there has been endless debate about what Picasso's Guernica (Fig.22) represents, given that the painting does not depict the actual bombing of the Basque town on 26th April that year. Initially, there was a rush to equate the content of the painting with the atrocity, thanks to its title and to its context as the focal work in the Spanish Pavilion of the Paris International Exhibition. Picasso, for his part, clearly identified Guernica with the Republican struggle, and is reported by the Communist writer and film- maker Georges Sadoul as saying: 'In the panel on which I am working, which I shall call Guernica, and in all my recent works of art, I clearly express my abhorrence of the military caste which has sunk Spain in an ocean of pain and death'.l In an interview published in the American magazine New Masses in 1945, Picasso, by then an official member of the French Communist Party, referred to the painting's 'deliberate sense of propaganda' and went on to remark that the 'bull represents brutality, the horse the people'.
One of the highlights of the recent exhibitions held to celebrate the quincentenary of the birth of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1500-58) has been the opportunity to compare Jakob Seisenegger's portrait of Charles with a dog from Vienna side-by-side with the famous copy by Titian from Madrid (Figs.32 and 33).1 Signed in monogram and dated 1532, according to an invoice that Seisenegger presented to Charles's brother Ferdinand in 1535, the former portrait was painted after Charles's arrival at Bologna on 13th November 1532.2 Charles presumably ordered Titian to prepare a copy of it shortly after this date. The significance of these two paintings has been covered in great detail elsewhere but, according to his invoice, Seisenegger painted at least four other full- length portraits of Charles between 1530 and 1532 of which it has generally been supposed that all trace has been lost.3 This article, however, proposes that a portrait of Charles V at Castle Ashby (Fig.34) comes from the workshop ofJakob Seisenegger during this period.
The virtual absence of depictions of the nude in seventeenth- century Spanish art is well known, and has frequently been commented on, especially in the context of one of Velazquez's greatest and most celebrated works, the Toilet of Venus (Fig.40) in the National Gallery, London.