Diego Velázquez (1599 - 1660)
- The Lady with a Fan
- c. 1640
- Oil on canvas
- Image size: 95 x 70 cm
Object size: 122.5 x 99 x 7.5 cm
- Great Gallery
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- As court painter to King Philip IV of Spain, Diego Velázquez created
consummate portraits of the Spanish royal family and the high nobility.
The Lady with a Fan is one of his most famous and enigmatic portraits. Long
believed to represent a Spanish lady, recent studies have suggested that the
sitter may have been French and not Spanish. The only Frenchwoman known
to have been painted by Velázquez was the Duchess of Chevreuse, intimate
friend of the Spanish-born Queen of France, Anne of Austria. Her political
conspiring brought her the enmity of the powerful Cardinal Richelieu
and, in 1637, forced her to escape to Spain. In the Devonshire Collection
at Chatsworth is another portrait of the same woman, probably slightly
younger, in a much more modest pose and clearly Spanish dress.
This painting was acquired by the 4th Marquess of Hertford in 1847
for 15,000 francs (about £600).