Diego Velázquez (1599 - 1660)
- Prince Baltasar Carlos in the Riding School
- c. 1640 - c. 1645
- Oil on canvas
- Image size: 130 x 102 cm
Object size: 161 x 131 x 14 cm
- Great Gallery
- This equestrian portrait shows Baltasar Carlos (1629 – 1646), then heir to the
Spanish throne, executing a difficult dressage manoeuvre known as the ‘levade.’ The scene takes place in front of the Prince’s apartment at the Buen
Retiro Palace. Juan de Mateos, Master of the Horse, can be seen behind him,
beside the tilting ground to the right.
The Prince was a keen horseman but the image can be interpreted more widely as a metaphor for ideal princely behaviour: the Prince who can master his horse will also master himself and his subjects.
There is some debate over the status and authorship of this painting. It is
possibly a preparatory sketch for Prince Baltasar Carlos in the Riding School,
painted by Velázquez in c.1636 for the Count Duke Olivares, which is now in a
private collection. It may also be a later copy of that work, by a member of the
Samuel Mawson purchased the painting for the 4th Marquess of Hertford in 1856, for the substantial sum of 1,210 guineas.