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Prince Baltasar Carlos in Silver
  • Date: 1633
  • Object Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 117.8 x 95.9 cm
  • Object size: 151 x 128 x 9.5 cm
  • Inv: P12
  • Location: Great Gallery
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Further Reading
  • Prince Baltasar Carlos (1629–1646) was the son of King Philip IV of Spain by his first wife Queen Isabel de Bourbon. Idolized by his parents, Baltasar Carlos died of fever at the prime age of sixteen. Here he is depicted at 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. Velázquez's free brushwork, conveys the shimmering of the prince's magnificent costume. He wears a metal gorget and a pink sash, and in his hand he holds a staff and rapier, all fitting accessories for the future king. The simple composition is 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.’