The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Prince Baltasar Carlos in Silver
  • Diego Velázquez (1599 - 1660)
  • Prince Baltasar Carlos in Silver
  • Spain
  • 1633
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 117.8 x 95.9 cm
    Object size: 151 x 128 x 9.5 cm
  • P12
  • Great Gallery
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Prince Baltasar Carlos (1629 – 46) was the son of Philip IV of Spain by his first queen, Isabel de Bourbon. Idolized by his parents, Baltasar Carlos died of fever aged sixteen. Here he is shown aged about three years old. The pose is repeated from a portrait of the prince painted to commemorate his investiture the year before at the Buen Retiro. Although the picture surface is now worn, it is still possible to admire the free brushwork, conveying the shimmering of the costume, and the simple composition typical of Velázquez’s works after his first trip to Italy (1629 – 31).

    The picture belonged to the Counts of Altamira in the eighteenth century and later, in the nineteenth century, to King Louis-Philippe of France. Although he paid a ‘prodigious price’ for the picture (1,600 guineas), the 4th Marquess of Hertford seemed well pleased with his purchase when he saw it in 1855, writing to his agent Samuel Mawson that ‘the Velázquez is beautiful.’