A mystery revealed 4 centuries later: Titian’s ‘Philip II’ hid his father’s portrait

While the restorer Isabel Molina and her team were doing scientific studies on the canvas in 1998, an x-ray made from the painting brought to light another portrait. “in a mirrored position, facing left”.

“Everything points to the fact that it is a starting portrait of his father, Carlos V, although the finish cannot be determined due to the condition of the lower tiers,” explains Ana González Mozo, Prado Senior Technician. Museum. In the Field of Restoration and Technical Office.

In fact, this unfinished canvas is believed to be the same as Titian’s portrait of Charles V and Disappeared in the 1604 Pardo fire, Known for copies of Pantoja de la Cruz (El Escorial Monastery).

“Half the face overlap, they look very similar and They are of the same opinion here.adds González, pointing out that it is “very common” to reuse already painted or used canvases for a myriad of reasons.

These include rehearsals, the person doing the work doesn’t want to pay because they don’t like the result, the boss dies, or just a change in fashion. This is what the artist looked like with a prepared and primed canvas. It could be given a new life.

In fact, the restoration of another painting by Titian, St John the Baptist, They announced that it was rebuilt up to three times.

What happened in the case of Carlos V’s son is unknown, but it is known that the outcome did not please Felipe II, or at least Felipe. never convinced him. On May 16, 1551, the then prince wrote to Maria of Hungary: “With this go the portraits of Titian. […] Armed myo looks good to him, his rush and if he had more time I would make him a hazer”.

This letter always refers to the painting mentioned above, as it is the only preserved or documented image showing the armed heir. The canvas was probably made by Titian after one of his two meetings with Milan (1549) or Augsburg (1550). When Philip II was 24-25 years old.

“The painting says it was done in a hurry, even though it doesn’t appear on the bill. which is pretty elaborate.” Miguel Hermoso, Doctor of Art History specializing in Spanish and Italian baroque paintings, and Professor of Art at the Complutense University of Madrid.

The only thing the teacher thinks is not well resolved is the posture of the body. “The arm that looks parallel but is actually in the back.”

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks at Titian’s ‘Philip II’ standing next to Charles V at the ‘Battle of Mühlberg’. EFE


“Of course, Titian wanted to win the favor of Felipe II as a client with this painting,” commends González Moro, who installed the elaboration of the work the moment the Italian artist asked Carlos V to paint it in Augsburg. skip Carlos V, while he was still emperor.

The restorer believes that the sitter’s criticism of the final result was not so important, this was because at the Augsburg court “they were accustomed to more elaborate painters. [como Antonio Moro]and Titian was characterized due to the slackness of the brush stroke. Carlos V was more used to it.”

Noting that Tiziano painted the prince “more stylized than he is because he is shorter,” González Moro says, “The face looks very distinct, but not quite finished.”

X-ray of Titian’s ‘Philip II’ seen painted on a canvas by Carlos V. PRADO MUSEUM


All the portraits of the Palace have a lot of symbolism, messages that the monarchs wanted to send. “Here Felipe II gives a sense of stable, secure power”, Dr. Hermoso adds, “because his stance isn’t tense. His hand rests on his helmet as if he’s ready to go to war at any moment, but with trousers and court shoes to indicate it’s not. I want to go.” “.

Titian’s superiority in later Spanish painting is indisputable, for he is considered “Organizer of Velazquez’s Court portrait”. “Titian actually invents prototypes that seem natural to us or are associated with Spanish art,” says the Doctor of Art, of the Italian artist, who, before arriving at the Spanish Court at the hands of Carlos V, painted Italian nobles everywhere. To the Gonzaga of Mantua.

Source: Informacion

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