David Beck Monumental Portrait of Luis Benavides Carrillo Marquis of Caracena Mid 1600s
A stunning portrait of the General Governor of the Duchy of Milan mid-1600, or Luis Benavides Carrillo de Toledo Marquis of Caracena (Valencia 20/9/1608 – Madrid 6/1/1668). He ruled the Duchy of Milan from 1648 to 1656, time frame in which the portrait was painted by the famous Dutch painter David Beck. Initially the Flemish portraitist was active in London in Van Dyck’s workshop, later he traveled to the major courts of Europe, Germany, France and Italy, executing portraits of many sovereigns to adorn the gallery of his patron, Queen Christina of Sweden.
This monumental portrait breaks free from baroque and idealistic forms to give rise to a veridical scene: the governor holds his hand resting on the plan of a fortification, about to wear his helmet, and in the background, from a window we glimpse knight. A celebraive painting that highlights character, haughtiness and dignity through an action, a movement that corresponds to the rank and assignment of the subject. One of the best governors of the entire Spanish period, part of the Catholic armies highlighted by the red sash at the waist. On his chest can be glimpsed the cross of St. Stephen, a religious order of chivalry.
Every detail of his clothing evidences the high rank of the marquis: the Rabat large and fine collar of lace; the trimmings of the Brandenburg military tunic with trimmings, tassels and frogs; the French fashion pants, just below the knee so as to show off the top of the Duke of Brunswick-style floppy boots wide extension of the shoe.
But what we would most like to emphasize about this man of power, wealth and military might is his appearance as a collector and a devotee and protector of the arts. So much so that he was an intermediary for important works such as Correggio’s” Oration in the Garden” for Philip IV, King of Spain.
The painting assumes significance as the only known full-length portrait, along with a modest anonymous portrait in the Government Palace in Madrid, with the exception of Gian Cristoforo Storer’s engraving based on a design by Federico Agnelli from 1648 and the bust within a medallion by engraver Cesare Bonacina from 1654.
The picture gallery of the Marquis of Caracena at his death consisted of 238 works, mainly Flemish paintings over Italian ones: Flemish artists such as Bruegel, Van Dick, Rubens and many others, and Italian works by Palma the Elder Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese. His collection bears the imprint of long sojourns outside the Iberian peninsula, almost 17 years in Flanders and roughly as many in the State of Milan.
From a thematic analysis, we point out the small presence of works with sacred subjects compared to the large number of portraits.
A monumental portrait that must eternalize the posed character, arousing admiration and at the same time awe, be a warning to those who admire it, in the exaltation of the prestige and absolute power of a single social class: aristocracy.
This monumental oil painting on canvas comes from a private collection in Milan, is in good conservation condition, within a coeval gilt frame.
Height: 258,5 cornice / tela 247 cm
Width: 184,5 cornice / tela 173 cm
Depth: 5 cm
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