The Count-Duke of Olivares was Philip IV’s powerful prime minister between 1621 and 1643. This picture is either a preliminary model or a reduced variant of a large equestrian portrait of the count-duke (Prado, Madrid), painted perhaps in celebration of a victory over the French at the border town of Fuenterrabía in 1638. In full armor and holding a baton, he is shown as a victorious commander. His horse holds a dressage position known as a levade.
This equestrian portrait shows Don Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares, who was King Philip IV of Spain’s prime minister from 1621–43. A figure of enormous importance, he was portrayed by Velázquez on several occasions. Life-size, standing portraits are in the Hispanic Society of America, New York, and the São Paolo Museum of Art, Brazil; the latter was commissioned by a member of the court, Don García Pérez de Araciel y Rada, together with the portrait of Philip IV in the Metropolitan (14.40.639). The most celebrated and monumental of Velázquez’s paintings of Olivares’s is the life-size equestrian portrait in the Museo del Prado, Madrid (inv. 1181; 313 x 239 cm.), usually dated between 1632 and 1638. Even though the Count-Duke never took part in any battle, he was instrumental in the Spanish victory against the French at the border town of Fuenterrabía in 1638 and was celebrated for this. It has been argued that the Prado portrait was painted to commemorate the victory. The picture may also be related to a series of five large equestrian paintings of Kings Philip III and Philip IV of Spain, their wives Queens Margaret of Austria and Isabel of Bourbon, and Prince Balthazar Carlos made by Velázquez for the two end walls of the Hall of Realms (Salón de Reinos) of the Palace of the Buen Retiro, Madrid, between 1629 and 1635 (for a summary of views, see Gállego 1990, pp. 254–63; and Portús, García, and Dávila 2001 pp. 20–22). The Metropolitan’s painting is an extremely fine, much reduced variant of the equestrian portrait in the Prado. Significantly, it incorporates changes that have made it difficult to reach a categorical decision about its function and status, for although the figure of the Count-Duke is identical in pose and costume in both the Prado and the Metropolitan canvases, in the Prado portrait he is mounted on a chestnut-colored horse in the dressage position known as levade, whereas in the Metropolitan’s painting the horse is white; the landscapes are also different. The existence of a painting of a life-size white horse in the same levade position in the Palacio Real, Madrid, generally attributed to Velázquez and considered to be related to the Prado canvas, adds a further complication to understanding the function and character of the Metropolitan’s picture. Alternatively, it has been proposed that it is an autograph modello for the large canvas in the Prado or a reduced, workshop variant, possibly painted by Velázquez’s son-in-law and principal assistant, Juan Bautista Mazo. The latter interpretation has gained the ascendance during the past half century (see, for example, the views expressed by Mayer 1924; Enriqueta Harris 1951; Lopez-Rey 1963, and Portús, García, and Dávila 2011, p. 25, which have been fundamental for later scholarship). That the Metropolitan’s picture was admired in its own right is attested by an inferior copy in the Neues Schloss at Schleissheim, near Munich (1.35 x 1.14 cm.), also often ascribed to Mazo, and another in the collection of the Marqués de Vallcabra, Madrid. There is, finally, a free copy, evidently made in Bologna by one of the Gandolfi (formerly Harari & Johns, Ltd., London), in which the composition is adapted to a horizontal format. Three published inventories are relevant to any analysis. The first and potentially the most important is the 1651 inventory of Gaspar de Haro, Marqués de Eliche, and later 7th Marqués del Carpio, who was the great-nephew of Olivares: "239. Una pintura en lienço del Retrato del Conde Duque Armado con Un baston en la mano en Un caballo blanco copia de Velazquez de la mano de Ju.o Bap.ta maço de bara y media en quadro poco mas o menos con su marco negro" (a painting on canvas of the portrait of the Count-Duke, in armor, with a baton in his hand, on a white horse, copy after Velázquez by Juan Bautista Mazo, one vara and a half square, more or less; see Burke and Cherry 1997, pp. 477, 483 n. 51). The dimensions of that painting—which translate to about 126 cm., or 49 1/2 in.—roughly correspond to those of the Metropolitan’s painting (though it is a vertical rather than square composition) and, indeed, a number of scholars have identified the del Carpio inventory notice with the museum’s picture. The attribution of that work to Mazo might be thought definitive, in as much as Carpio was a major patron of Velázquez. However, a similar picture is also listed In the will of the painter Diego Rodríguez drawn up in Madrid and dated August 8, 1654: "Otro liença de a bara y media del Conde Duque a cauallo que es orijinal de Diego de Belázquez" (another canvas a vara and a half of the Count Duke on horseback which is an original by Diego Velázquez). This picture was to be used as partial payment of a debt (see Mercedes Agulló Cobo, Noticias sobre pintores madirleños de los siglos XVI y XVII, 1978, p. 140). Then, in the 1783 inventory of the collection of the Bolognese castrato Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli, who had formed a collection in Spain during his employment at the court of Philip V and Ferdinand VI, there is listed a smaller version of the composition: "un quadro nella sua cornice indorata rappresenta un Cavaliere armato sopra un Cavallo bianco, di mano di Velasques. Figura intiera mezzana; alto P.3:03 largo P.2:0.8" (a painting in its gilded frame representing an armed knight on a white horse, by Velázquez. Full figure, half-size, 3.3 palmi high, 2.8 wide: see Boris and Cammarota 1990). If the measurements employed in that inventory are in palmi romani, Farinelli’s painting was approximately 27 x 18 in. and, therefore, significantly smaller than the Metropolitan’s painting; as this inventory was drawn up in Bologna, it seems likely that the picture owned by Farinelli was the source of Gandolfi’s painting, cited above. It remains uncertain which, if any, of these pictures relates to the Metropolitan’s picture, the earliest certain notice of which is in 1806, when Colonel Lemotteux in Paris sold it to the 7th Earl of Elgin, for 15,000 pounds; it is possible that the painting left Spain for France during the Peninsular War at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The high quality of the Metropolitan’s canvas has always been recognized. There are quite noticeable adjustments (pentimenti) around the hat of Olivares and the landscape, the topography of which differs from that in the Prado painting, is notable for its direct, assured handling (allowance must be made for the blue of the sky, the color of which has altered because of the probable use by the artist of the fugitive pigment smalt). The landscape was painted up to and around the pre-situated figure of Olivares, with the ground left exposed in some areas while in other places the contour has been sharpened. That not only Velázquez but Mazo was capable of realizing such a landscape is clear from the latter’s 1646–47 View of Saragossa in the Prado—a work that, because of its quite exceptional quality, has sometimes elicited theories of Velázquez’s possible involvement. Moreover, although in character the landscape is similar in style to that in the equestrian portrait of Queen Isabel de Bourbon (one of the series for the Buen Retiro palace cited above), that work is not thought to be entirely by Velázquez and involved some workshop participation. The oeuvre and collaboration of Mazo with Velázquez have yet to be clearly defined. Nonetheless, in assessing the authorship of the Metropolitan’s painting, Lopez-Rey (1963) observed that "a prodigality of highlights—characteristic of Mazo—encumbers rather than lightens the modeling of both the rider and his mount." Portús (2011) has also ascribed to this view, noting that although the artist clearly emulates the technique and style of Velázquez and was very talented, the "manner of constructing the volume of the horse through the play of light and dark zones lacks the structural solidity and formal coherance of Velázquez." [Keith Christiansen 2014]
Colonel Lemotteux, Paris (by 1806; probably removed from Spain during the Peninsula War; sold for £15,000 to Elgin); Colonel Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin and 11th Earl of Kincardine, Broomhall, Dunfermline, Fife (1806–41); Earls of Elgin and of Kincardine, Broomhall (1841–1917); Edward James Bruce, 10th Earl of Elgin and 14th Earl of Kincardine, Broomhall (1917–52; sold through Agnew, London, for $207,200 to MMA)
Edinburgh. Royal Institution. "Paintings by Ancient Masters Exhibited at the First Annual Opening of the Institution," March 11, 1819, no. 1 (as "Equestrian Statue [sic] of Count Olivares, Prime Minister to Philip II of Spain," by Velázquez, lent by the Earl of Elgin) [exhibition held on the upper floors of Sir Henry Raeburn's house].
Edinburgh. Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts in Scotland. "Third Exhibition of Ancient Pictures," April 17–?, 1826, no. 62 (as "Equestrian Portrait of the Conte de Olivares, favourite Minister of Philip the Fourth, King of Spain," by Velázquez, lent by the Earl of Elgin).
Manchester. Art Treasures Palace. "Art Treasures of the United Kingdom," May 5–October 17, 1857, no. 789 (as "Duke Olivares, on Horseback," by Velázquez, lent by the Earl of Elgin, from the Purvis Collection).
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," 1876, no. 116 (as "Portrait on a White Horse of Don Gaspar de Guzman, Conde Duque d'Olivarez, the Celebrated Spanish Statesman, Contemporary of Buckingham and Richelieu," by Velázquez, lent by the Earl of Elgin).
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," January–March 1891, no. 113 (as "Portrait of Don Gaspar de Guzman, Conde Duque d'Olivarez," by Velázquez, lent by the Earl of Elgin).
Edinburgh. National Gallery of Scotland. "Spanish Paintings from El Greco to Goya," August 19–September 8, 1951, no. 37 (as "The Conde-Duque de Olivares on a White Horse," by Velázquez, lent by the Earl of Elgin, K.T.).
Madrid. Casón del Buen Retiro. "Velazquez y lo Velazqueño," December 10, 1960–February 23, 1961, no. 99 (included with the works of Velázquez as "Retrato ecuestre del Conde-Duque de Olivares).
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Masterpieces of Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 16–November 1, 1970, unnumbered cat.
Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," May 22–July 27, 1975, no. 32.
Moscow. State Pushkin Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," August 28–November 2, 1975, no. 32.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Velázquez," October 3, 1989–January 7, 1990, no. 19.
Athens. National Gallery Alexandros Soutzos Museum. "From El Greco to Cézanne: Masterpieces of European Painting from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," December 13, 1992–April 11, 1993, no. 22.
Palacio Real de Madrid and Palacio Real de Aranjuez. "Cortes del Barroco: De Bernini y Velázquez a Luca Giordano," October 15, 2003–January 11, 2004, no. 5.1 (as by Mazo after Velázquez).
Rome. Scuderie Papali al Quirinale. "Velázquez, Bernini, Luca Giordano: le corti del barocco," February 12–May 2, 2004, no. 5.1.
London. National Gallery. "Velázquez," October 18, 2006–January 21, 2007, no. 26.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Velázquez Rediscovered," November 17, 2009–February 7, 2010, no catalogue.
W. Burger [Théophile Thoré]. Trésors d'art exposés à Manchester en 1857. Paris, 1857, pp. 115–16, considers it superior in quality to a standing portrait of Olivares, also in the exhibition [possibly no. 737 in the catalogue, now Hispanic Society, New York], and wonders if it might be a first attempt or study after nature for the large equestrian portrait of Olivares in the Prado, Madrid.
[Gustav Friedrich] Waagen. Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain. London, 1857, p. 444, as by Velázquez, in the collection of Lord Elgin; describes it as "of great life and elevation of conception, admirable in keeping, and broad and masterly in execution".
Pedro de Madrazo. Catálogo descriptivo é histórico del Museo del Prado del Madrid. Madrid, 1872, pp. 611–12, considers it a copy of the Prado equestrian portrait, which he dates 1639–42; mentions that Stirling [see Ref. Stirling-Maxwell 1891; the 1848 ed. he refers to is unavailable] called it a repetition of the Prado canvas.
Charles B. Curtis. Velazquez and Murillo. London, 1883, p. 71, no. 168, calls it a repetition of the Prado portrait, which he dates about 1640.
Paul Lefort. Velazquez. Paris, 1888, p. 147, lists it as a sketch for the Prado portrait, also listing two other sketches—in the collections of the duc de Montpensier, Palais San Telmo, Seville, and Sir Richard Wallace.
Carl Justi. Diego Velázquez and His Times. London, 1889, p. 315, ill. p. 314 (engraving), dates the Prado painting between 1636–37 and remarks that although it depicts Olivares as a forceful leader charging into battle, the warmongering Count-Duke had never seen military action; notes that the pose probably derives from the school of Rubens or Van Dyck's portrait of Francesco Maria Balbi (Balbi Palace, Genoa); refers to our painting and the one in the Schleissheim Gallery [now Alte Pinakotek, Munich] as smaller replicas of the Prado painting, both "genuine originals, the former [ours] perhaps better executed than the large work" which, he believes, could be later than either; observes that the Prado painting differs in the color of the horse, the treatment of the middle distance, the battle-field, the clouds, and the tree to the right; describes our "splendid painting" as "the first [of the three] both in time and excellence" and praises its sense of color, draftsmanship, and "unsurpassed artistic power in so small a space".
William Stirling-Maxwell. Annals of the Artists of Spain. 2nd rev. ed. [1st ed. 1848]. London, 1891, vol. 2, p. 725, calls it a fine, smaller repetition of the Prado portrait, which he dates shortly after Velázquez's return to Madrid from Italy in 1631.
A. de Beruete. Velazquez. Paris, 1898, p. 109, dates the Prado portrait 1635–40 and observes that in its portrayal of the arrogant Olivares as a strong military leader, Velázquez expresses his gratitude to his patron; cites Justi's [Ref. 1889] belief that the present work and the Munich picture are original replicas by Velázquez of the Prado portrait but notes that, since he has not seen our picture, he cannot comment on its authenticity; considers the Munich example a very good copy or clever pastiche.
A. de Beruete. Velazquez. Revised translation of 1898 ed. London, 1906, p. 78, adds that the Munich picture is a good copy by Mazo.
R. A. M. Stevenson. Velasquez. London, 1906, p. 136, lists it among works by Velázquez owned by the Earl of Elgin.
A. de Beruete y Moret. The School of Madrid. London, 1909, p. 91, dates the Prado portrait before 1643, when Olivares fell from power, and dates the Munich picture, which he believes to be a copy by Mazo, after 1643; remarks that our picture is identical to the Munich version, but that he has not seen it; mentions another similar work, formerly in Andalusia, present whereabouts unknown.
August L. Mayer. Kleine Velazquez-Studien. Munich, 1913, pp. 31–32, dates the Prado portrait about 1634 and calls the Elgin painting [ours] and the one in Munich smaller variations of it; comments that although he has not seen the Elgin picture, it seems darker than the one in Munich and probably predates it; notes that an old inventory attributes the Munich picture to Gaspar de Crayer and suggests that it may be a contemporary Flemish copy of ours, which, in turn, may be a free replica by Mazo of the Prado portrait.
August L. Mayer. Diego Velazquez. Berlin, 1924, pp. 108–9, calls our canvas a noteworthy free copy by Mazo of the Prado portrait and mentions that copies of the MMA painting are in Munich and in the Raczinski collection, Poznan.
August L. Mayer. Dealer's certificate. September 23 and 24, 1925, after seeing the picture in London, where Lord D[uveen?]. had it brought for examination, states that it is undoubtedly a clever variation by Mazo of the Prado portrait but lacks Velázquez's fine modelling and unified manner of drawing; comments on its "superficial impressionism," particularly in the coarse brushwork and treatment of the foliage.
Carl Justi. Diego Velazquez und sein Jahrhundert. [Zürich], 1933, pp. 453–56, refers to this painting and the Munich version as smaller, original repetitions, calling ours the earlier of the two, with a Venetian feeling for color; dates the Prado portrait to sometime shortly before 1634 and mentions two contemporary copies of it in Hertford House [now Wallace Collection, London] and at San Telmo [formerly duc de Montpensier, Palais San Telmo, Seville; present location unknown].
August L. Mayer. Velazquez: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Pictures and Drawings. London, 1936, p. 74, no. 313, dates the Prado painting 1634, the date of Jusepe Leonardo's "Taking of Breisach" (Prado), which he believes was copied from it; calls our picture "a characteristic work by Mazo" and lists three other copies and variants of the Prado painting in the collections of Count Raczinski, Poznan; the Wallace Collection, London; and a private collection, Lisbon, as well as the Munich picture, which he calls a studio work.
Ellis Waterhouse. Catalogue of an Exhibition of Spanish Paintings from El Greco to Goya. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Scotland. Edinburgh, 1951, pp. 27–28, no. 37, pl. 1, notes that the equestrian portraits of Olivares could date from the early or late 1630s; considers this painting to be the first model for the Prado portrait, noting that the pentimenti around the hat and head support this view, and suggests that Olivares may have felt the white horse "stole too much of the picture" leading Velázquez to paint a chestnut horse in the final version; observes that since this picture was cleaned in 1947 "its character as an original has become more demonstrable" and comments that Mayer [Ref. 1936] attributed it to Mazo without seeing it.
Enriqueta Harris. "Spanish Painting from Morales to Goya in the National Gallery of Scotland." Burlington Magazine (October 1951), pp. 310, 314, 317, notes that a recent cleaning has restored this painting to Velázquez's oeuvre, considers it too different to be a study for the Prado portrait, but observes that "there is no evidence that Velázquez ever painted models"; suggests it "was intended as a variant of the large picture, painted for a less formal purpose" and remarks that the pentimenti at the neck in both pictures suggest that the artist was working on both when he decided to change the stiff golilla collar to a lace one; asserts that both portraits were painted to commemorate the 1638 Victory of Fuenterrabía, as this was considered the "culminating point" of Olivares' career and is "corroborated by the topographical similarity of both backgrounds to the scene of this victory"; suggests that a common model, very likely by Rubens, could explain the similarity of the horse and rider in Leonardo's "Taking of Breisach" (Prado).
"Masterpieces Recently Added to America's Collections." Art Digest 27 (December 1, 1952), p. 7, ill.
Fritz Neugass. "Ein Valesquez [sic] für 74000 Pfund." Weltkunst 22 (November 1, 1952), p. 2, ill. on cover, calls it a variation by Velázquez of the Prado equestrian portrait; notes that on his return home in 1804, Lord Elgin, British ambassador to Constantinople, was detained for two years in Paris; there he bought our painting from Lemotteux in 1806 for £15,000.
"Spanish Masterpiece for New York." Art News 51 (October 1952), p. 31, ill., states that it commemorates the Victory of Fuenterrabía and that it may be the preliminary study for the more formal Prado portrait.
José Manuel Pita Andrade. "Los cuadros de Velázquez y Mazo que poseyó el séptimo Marqués del Carpio." Archivo español de arte 25 (July–September 1952), p. 230, discusses the 1651 inventory of the collection of Gaspar Méndez de Haro, 7th Marqués del Carpio, Olivares's great-nephew; believes that no. 240, an equestrian portrait of Olivares copied from Velázquez by Mazo, may be the Munich picture; remarks that if the MMA picture is indeed by Velázquez, then it may have served as the model for the Munich copy.
"New York Notes." Art Digest 27 (October 1, 1952), p. 18, notes that the MMA curator, Theodore Rousseau, Jr., suggests it may be a sketch for a larger work.
M.S. Soria. "Las lanzas y los retratos ecuestres de Velázquez." Archivo español de arte 27 (April–June 1954), pp. 95–96, 98–99, 105, 108, pl. 3, calls it a very complete sketch by Velázquez, observing that he based six of his equestrian portraits at the Prado, our painting, and the horse on the right-hand side of "The Surrender at Breda" (Prado) upon a series of 1590 engravings of 12 Roman emperors on horseback by the Flemish artist Johannes Stradanus (Jan van der Straet, 1523–1605); compares the Prado and MMA portraits of Olivares to Stradanus' engraving of Emperor Otho; dates both paintings 1634–35 based on stylistic similarities to the group of equestrian portraits and "The Surrender at Breda," intended to hang in the Salón de Reinos at the Buen Retiro palace, completed in 1635; sees the battle scene in the background as inspired by the background of the Otho engraving rather than by the site of the 1638 victory of Fuenterrabía, and asserts that Olivares could have been painted in a military guise any time after 1625, when he was given the title General of the Cavalry of Spain.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), p. 4, ill. p. 29, as by Velázquez.
Bernardino de Pantorba. La vida y la obra de Velázquez: Estudio biográfico y crítico. Madrid, 1955, pp. 230–32, no. 162, ill., considers it a workshop copy of the Prado Olivares with retouches by the hand of the master; agrees with Beruete [Ref. 1906] that the Munich version is by Mazo; mentions another copy of our picture, not catalogued by Mayer [Ref. 1936], in the collection of Javier Sáenz de Heredia y Manzanos, Marqués de Vallcabra, Madrid;claims that Elgin bought the picture in 1805 while detained in Pau, France, as a prisoner of Napoleon [but see Ref. Neugass 1952].
Margaretta Salinger. "Notes." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 14 (January 1956), notes inside front cover, ill. cover (color), states that the battle depicted in the background probably commemorates the victory at Fuentarrabía, which would date this and the Prado portrait "at least as late as 1638".
Kurt Gerstenberg. Diego Velazquez. [Munich], , p. 102, pl. 93, compares the Prado portrait of Olivares with Rubens's equestrian portrait of the Duke of Lerma, calling Velázquez's composition unprecedented because of the diagonally positioned rider, turning his head before the horse gallops off; considers the MMA painting "undoubtedly authentic" and calls the Munich version a copy by Mazo.
Juan Antonio Gaya Nuño. La pintura española fuera de España. Madrid, 1958, p. 328, no. 2887, lists it with works "attributed to Velázquez" as a sketch of the Prado portrait.
Douglas Hall. "Nostalgia and Manchester in 1857." Connoisseur 140 (January 1958), p. 238, ill.
Martin Soria in George Kubler and Martin Soria. Art and Architecture in Spain and Portugal and their American Dominions, 1500 to 1800. Baltimore, 1959, p. 385 n. 37, calls it a replica with variations of the Prado portrait; dates it 1634, contemporary with Velázquez's other equestrian portraits, noting that in this same year Jusepe Leonardo copied the pose of Olivares on horseback; considers the battle scene in the background symbolic, suggested by the Stradanus print without topographical resemblance to Fuenterrabía.
Enrique Lafuente Ferrari. "Velázquez y los retratos del Conde-duque de Olivares." Goya (July–October 1960), pp. 70–73, ill. (overall and detail), dates the Prado portrait 1638 and considers our picture the best of its numerouos copies, an excellent work by Mazo; sees the MMA picture as clearly imitated, not created, noting Mazo's hand particularly in the landscape; mentions the painting of Olivares instructing Prince Baltasar in horsemanship (Duke of Westminster, London) as an example of Mazo's talent, noting that it is sometimes given to Velázquez.
Juan de Contreras López de Ayala, Marqués de Lozoya. "El 'Caballo Blanco', de Velázquez." Varia velazqueña: Homenaje a Velázquez en el III centenario de su muerte, 1660–1960. Ed. Antonio Gallego y Burín. Madrid, 1960, vol. 1, p. 325, pl. 72b, describes three large canvases of riderless horses (chestnut, white, and grey) listed in inventories made after Velázquez's death and suggests that these works, created with great verisimilitude, were copied by Velázquez and his assistants in many compositions, which he characterizes as a common practice among Spanish painters; believes that the chestnut horse was the model for the Prado portrait and that the white horse (Palacio Real, Madrid) was undoubtedly copied in the MMA portrait, adorned with the hanging ribbons that do not appear in any of Velázquez's other equestrian pictures; describes our painting as a copy with variations of the Prado portrait with the landscape rendered more abruptly, the sky more overcast, and the tree more finished; calls it a magnificent painting, regardless of its attribution.
Velázquez y lo velázqueño: Catálogo de la exposición homenaje a Diego de Silva Velázquez en el III centenario de su muerte, 1660–1960. Exh. cat., Casón del Buen Retiro. Madrid, 1960, pp. 94–95, no. 99, pl. 59, as a sketch or perhaps a replica with variations of the Prado portrait.
Juan Antonio Gaya Nuño. "Velázquez y lo Velazqueño." L'Oeil 74 (February 1961), p. 41, refers to it as a sketch, remarking that "ses couleurs sont si belles, et ses touches si savoureuses" that it is preferable to the Prado portrait; calls the Munich portrait an insignificant replica.
"New York Visitor to the Velasquez Tricentennial." Art News 59 (February 1961), p. 31, ill., notes that although some historians think it is by Mazo, it is attributed to Velázquez in the exhibition of the latter's works in Madrid.
D[iego]. A[ngulo]. I[ñiguez]. "La exposición de Velázquez. Actos del Centenario." Archivo español de arte 34 (January–March 1961), p. 97, believes the quality of the picture has been reaffirmed following its inclusion in the 1960 exhibition in Madrid.
José López-Rey. Velázquez: A Catalogue Raisonné of His Oeuvre. London, 1963, pp. 198–202, no. 216, pls. 246, 250 (overall and detail), supports attribution of our picture to Mazo, commenting on its derivative character, most notably in the replacement of the precipice beneath the horse in the Prado picture with a slope similar to that in the Prado equestrian portrait of Philip IV; observes that "a prodigality of highlights—characteristic of Mazo—encumbers rather than lightens the modelling of both the rider and his mount" and that Olivares's head "lacks Velázquez's gliding touch of modelling in the round"; believes our picture is copied from both the Palacio Real white horse painting and the Prado portrait and is most likely the Mazo copy listed in the 1651 inventory of the Marqués de Eliche; mentions that the 1648 inventory of the Marqués's mother includes a larger equestrian portrait of Olivares, but with no indication of the artist or color of the horse; views the Munich picture and the Marqués de Vallcabra version as copies of ours; lists four other copies of the Prado picture: Museum Wilkopolskiego, Poznan (formerly Count Raczynski); Wallace Collection, London; Private collection, Lisbon; and formerly duc de Montpensier, Seville, present location unknown.
Marquis de Lozoya in "El caballo blanco de Velázquez." Velázquez, son temps, son influence. Actes du colloque tenu à la casa de Velázquez (1960). Paris, 1963, pp. 123–24.
Spanische Meister: Vollständiger Katalog. Ed. Halldor Soehner. Munich, 1963, vol. 1, pp. 102–3, calls it a variation of the Prado Olivares, attributed with good reason to Mazo; states that Velázquez's equestrian portraits were often copied not long after their creation, including several copies of the Olivares portrait made between 1638 and 1643; regards the Munich portrait as a contemporary copy of ours.
José Camón Aznar. Velázquez. Madrid, 1964, vol. 1, pp. 473–74, describes it as "a feast for the eyes; it is merry, succulent with color, alive with light," but considers the whitish tonality and dense opaque areas in the horse's head and background incompatible with Velázquez; finds the loose passages of brushstrokes here more characteristic of Mazo's technique and believes our picture is the Mazo copy in the collection of the Marqués de Eliche; calls the Munich painting a copy, but not by Mazo.
Leo Steinberg. "José López-Rey, Velázquez: A Catalogue Raisonné of His Oeuvre." Art Bulletin 47 (June 1965), p. 286 n. 40, is convinced, after seeing it in Madrid in 1960, that it is "not by the hand that painted the great Olivares on a chestnut mount in the Prado".
José López-Rey. Velázquez' Work and World. London, 1968, p. 126, pl. 85, refers to it as a small replica by Mazo, dating from the mid- or late 1630s; notes that part of Velázquez's role as court painter was to ensure that his assistants or other painters, such as Mazo, answered the demand for replicas or copies of his portraits.
P.M. Bardi. L'opera completa di Velázquez. Milan, 1969, p. 97, no. 69a, ill., notes that it was once considered an autograph work, but subsequently judged a copy by Mazo of the Prado portrait, identifiable with a painting in the 1651 inventory of the Marqués de Eliche; assigns the Munich portrait to Mazo and lists five other workshop copies.
Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, p. 315 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].
José Gudiol. Velázquez, 1599–1660. New York, 1974, pp. 144, 330, no. 74, fig. 112 (color), dates it about 1632–33, calls it a replica with variations of the Prado painting, and is "absolutely convinced that this replica is as genuine a Velázquez as the canvas in the Prado"; also dates the Prado painting to 1632–33, as it was copied by Jusepe Leonardo in his "Taking of Breisach" of 1634–35 (Prado); observes that the MMA painting has a "more sensuous quality than the one in the Prado, but the overall unification is perhaps not quite so successful".
Enriqueta Harris. "Velázquez's Portrait of Prince Baltasar Carlos in the Riding School." Burlington Magazine 118 (May 1976), p. 272, finds it similar in style to the recently cleaned "Prince Baltasar Carlos in the Riding School" [Duke of Westminster, London; see Ref. Lafuente Ferrari 1960] and, because she is convinced that the latter is by Velázquez rather than Mazo, believes the same must be true for our picture; rules out Mazo as too young to be the painter of the "Riding School," which she dates 1636 based on the age of the Prince; notes that although their scale is rare in Velázquez's surviving oeuvre, small paintings by him are documented in contemporary records; states that the many visible pentimenti in the "Riding School" would not appear in the work of a copyist and that the painting, which depicts Olivares standing alongside the young prince on horseback, may have been made for the Count-Duke.
John Ingamells. Letter to Dean Walker. December 11, 1979, considers it a contemporary workshop copy, observing that "the question seems to be what occasion would Velazquez have had to produce such a small replica of himself, quite apart from certain heavy passages in the execution".
José López-Rey. Velázquez: The Artist as a Maker, with a Catalogue Raisonné of His Extant Works. Lausanne, 1979, pp. 128, 354 n. 1, pl. 41, calls it as a small replica by Mazo, probably from the mid-1630s, and states that "a prodigality of highlights, alien to Velázquez and characteristic of Mazo, betrays the latter's hand".
John Moffitt. "Velázquez, Olivares y el significado del retrato ecuestre del Siglo de Oro." Iconografia e iconologia: Ciclo de conferencias. November 22, 1981, in a lecture at the Universidad Literaria de Valencia, defends this picture as autograph.
Walter A. Liedtke and John F. Moffitt. "Velázquez, Olivares, and the Baroque Equestrian Portrait." Burlington Magazine 123 (September 1981), pp. 529–37, fig. 35, suggest that both Velázquez and Mazo were involved in the painting, or that it was the result of some other collaborative effort within Velázquez's studio; date the Prado portrait about 1636 and suggest that it was commissioned by Olivares to celebrate his reputation as a horseman; see these equestrian portraits as glorifying Olivares's authority and skill as a military leader rather than commemorating the victory at Fuenterrabía; examine contemporary poetry and emblemata, citing examples in which skilled horsemanship is equated with rulership; identify the pose of the horse as a "levade" and illustrate numerous works of art with a similarly posed horse and rider that could have inspired Velázquez.
Eva Nyerges. "El retrato de don Baltasar Carlos en el Museo de Bellas Artes de Budapest." Archivo español de arte 56 (April–June 1983), pp. 148, 150, judging from a photograph, attributes our picture to Alonso Cano, commenting on its similarity in technique and color to a portrait of Prince Baltasar Carlos (Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest) that has been ascribed to Cano.
Jonathan Brown. Velázquez: Painter and Courtier. New Haven, 1986, p. 292 n. 27, supports López-Rey's [Ref. 1979] attribution to Mazo and identification of this portrait with the one in the 1651 inventory of the Marqués de Eliche.
John F. Moffitt. "The Count-Duke of Olivares on Horseback: An Emblematic Equestrian by Velázquez." Konsthistorisk Tidskrift 55 (1986), pp. 149, 151–55, 158–60, 163–65, fig. 2, dates it between 1627 and 1633, most likely 1632; considers it a preliminary study for the Prado version and equal in quality; reproduces an engraved emblem of a rider on a rearing horse with similar harnesses, and a similarly described landscape, entitled "In adulari nescientem" ["To him unable to flatter," Andrea Alciata, Leyden, 1550, emblem 35]; transcribes the emblem's commentary, in which a good horseman is compared to a capable ruler; also transcribes a pivotal letter from Olivares to the king of Sept. 4, 1626, in which he reprimands Philip for not attending to the business of government and includes the phrase "I must never flatter nor lie to you"; finds this emblem a more likely source for Velázquez's equestrian image than Stradanus's Emperor Otho [see Ref. Soria 1954]; concludes that this composition should be interpreted as a "political document" alluding to Olivares's dominating force in guiding the king to govern.
Maurice Sérullaz with the collaboration of Christian Pouillon. Velázquez. New York, 1987, p. 88, refers to it as the most famous of several copies of the Prado portrait, generally attributed to Mazo.
Walter Liedtke. The Royal Horse and Rider: Painting, Sculpture, and Horsemanship, 1500–1800. New York, 1989, p. 33, colorpl. 23, calls it a smaller version of the Prado portrait, variously attributed to Velázquez, to Mazo, and to Velázquez and studio; dates the Prado picture about 1635–38 and finds its composition closer to Tempesta's engraving of Julius Caesar than to Stradanus's Otho [see Ref. Soria 1954]; believes it was commissioned by Olivares to commemorate his horsemanship, "a realistic record of his skill in an aristocratic pursuit, and of the discipline, patience, and pride required to master it. At the same time, the painting was an emblem of Olivares's authority...".
Julián Gállego. Velázquez. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1989, pp. 153–59, 165, no. 19, ill. (color, overall and detail), calls it a reduced copy of the Prado portrait and notes that many scholars attribute it to Mazo; suggests that Olivares may have hesitated over the color of his mount and discusses the connotations of a white horse as appropriate for a general; tentatively includes the Marqués de Eliche in the provenance for our picture.
Nina Ayala Mallory. "La pintura de Velázquez, en Nueva York." Goya (January–February 1990), p. 234 [Spanish translation of Ref. Mallory, Art in America, 1990].
Nina Ayala Mallory. "Courtly Natures: Velázquez at the Met." Art in America 78 (February 1990), p. 135, calls it "undoubtedly" the copy by Mazo listed in the 1651 inventory of the Marqués de Eliche; confirms the attribution to Mazo after comparing the MMA and Prado paintings in the 1989 MMA exhibition; observes that "just the painting of the sash should eliminate all possibility of the small picture being a reduced version painted by Velázquez himself, for he would not have tried to duplicate the detail of the sash so literally".
Enriqueta Harris. "Madrid: Velázquez at the Prado." Burlington Magazine 132 (April 1990), p. 290.
Julián Gállego inVelázquez. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 1990, pp. 259, 262–63, ill. (color), mentions it as one of various replicas and copies of the Prado portrait, with variations, and illustrates it with the caption "Velázquez (?)".
Francesca Boris and Giampiero Cammarota. "La collezione di Carlo Broschi detto Farinelli." Accademia Clementina: Atti e memorie 27 (1990), pp. 211, no. 86, pp. 227–28, pl. 197, identify it as no. 86 in the 1783 inventory of Carlo Broschi (Farinelli): "un quadro nella sua cornice indorata rappresenta un Cavaliere armato sopra un Cavallo bianco, di mano di Velasques. Figura intiera mezzana; alto P.3:03 largo P.2:0.8" [if these dimensions are in palmi romani, the painting would have measured about 27 x 18 in. and could not be the MMA painting]; state that Farinelli must have doubted his painting when he saw the original version at the home of the Marqués de Ensenada (now Prado) during his trip to Spain; suggest that a copy made after Farinelli's picture by Gaetano Gandolfi surfaced on the art market in 1980.
John F. Moffitt. Velázquez, practica e idea: Estudios dispersos. Málaga, 1991, pp. 173–93, fig. 2, [Spanish translation of Ref. Moffitt 1986].
Alfonso Emilio Pérez Sánchez in "Catalogue of an exhibition held at the Spanish Pavillion, Seville World's Fair, April 20–Oct. 12, 1992." Treasures of Spanish Art. Exh. cat.[Barcelona], 1992, pp. 108, 110, believes the Prado portrait was probably based on the composition of Leonardo's "Taking of Breisach," rather than the reverse; notes that equestrian portraits with rearing horses were rare in Spanish painting of this time, reserved for monarchs and powerful generals; calls the MMA painting the best of several copies from Velázquez's workshop and "surely the work of Martínez del Mazo".
Xanthe Brooke inSpain, Espagne, Spanien: Foreign Artists Discover Spain, 1800–1900. Exh. cat.New York, 1993, p. 33, fig. 15, notes that the Earl of Elgin lent this picture in 1819 to an exhibition held in the Edinburgh art gallery of the portrait painter, Raeburn [see Exh. Edinburgh 1819].
José López-Rey. Velázquez. Cologne, 1996, vol. 2, p. 164 n. 1, attributes it to Mazo and identifies it as the painting in the 1651 inventory of the Marqués de Eliche; also mentions an equestrian portrait of Olivares, similar in size, listed as an "original by Velázquez" in the 1654 will of Diego Rodríguez, a little-known painter in Madrid.
Marcus B. Burke and Peter Cherry. Collections of Paintings in Madrid, 1601–1755. Ed. Maria L. Gilbert. Los Angeles, 1997, vol. 2, pp. 157, 464, 477, fig. 50, link this picture with the Mazo copy in the 1651 inventory of the Marqués de Eliche.
Carmen Garrido. Letter to Dulce Román. October 29, 1997, believes it is a good picture made after the Prado portrait, but not by Velázquez; observes that it "lacks the fluency and exactness of line found in Velázquez's paintings" and that "the horse and rider are of a higher quality than is the landscape".
Yves Bottineau. Vélasquez. Paris, 1998, p. 175, fig. 141, attributes it to Mazo, from the collection of the Marqués de Eliche.
Santiago Alcolea. Velázquez. 2nd ed. Barcelona, 1998, p. 18, fig. 46 (color), dates it and the Prado portrait around 1632–33; attributes ours to Velázquez.
María del Mar Doval Trueba. "Los 'velazqueños': Pintores que trabajaron en el taller de Velázquez." PhD diss., Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 2000, pp. 178–79 [http://eprints.ucm.es/2528/], considers the Munich version a copy of ours, which she identifies with the work in the Marqués del Carpio's inventory.
Jonathan Brown. "Velázquez y lo velazqueño: Los problemas de las atribuciones." Boletín del Museo del Prado 18, no. 36 (2000), pp. 54–56, fig. 4 (color) [reprinted in English in "Jonathan Brown, Collected Writings on Velázquez," New Haven, 2008, pp. 365–66, fig. 2 (color)], remarks that measurements given in seventeeth-century inventories tend to be approximate, although it should be noted that our painting is about 27 cm narrower than the one mentioned in the inventory of the Marqués del Carpio; nevertheless sees our picture as a workshop product and finds the attribution to Mazo plausible, at least temporarily, on the basis of style.
Salvador Salort Pons inVelázquez. Exh. cat., Palazzo Ruspoli, Rome. Milan, 2001, p. 202, refers to it as attributed to Mazo.
Jorge Montoro, ed. Velázquez: El pintor de la luz. Madrid, 2001, p. 322, notes that it has not been possible to establish Velázquez's authorship of this painting with certainty.
Amador Schüller Pérez. La patología en la pintura de Velázquez. Madrid, , pp. 65–66.
Salvador Salort Pons. Velázquez en Italia. Madrid, 2002, pp. 253, 393, colorpl. 214, identifies it as the Mazo copy in the inventory of the Marqués de Eliche, based on its dimensions; suggests this picture was also in the collection of the Italian singer Carlo Broschi, known as "Farinelli" [see Ref. Boris and Cammarota 1990]; notes that Farinelli's heirs quickly dispersed his collection after his death.
Eduardo Agüera Carmona. "La conformación morfológica y otros aspectos ecuestres de los caballos de Velázquez." Velázquez (1599–1999): Visiones y revisiones. Ed. Alberto Villar Movellán and Antonio Urquízar Herrera. Córdoba, 2002, pp. 206–7, ill.
Jesús Sáenz de Miera inCortes del Barroco: de Bernini y Velázquez a Luca Giordano. Ed. Fernando Checa Cremades. Exh. cat., Palacio Real de Madrid and Palacio Real de Aranjuez. Madrid, 2003, p. 216, no. 5.1, ill. (color), calls it a work by Mazo after Velázquez.
María del Mar Doval Trueba. "Alonso Cano, Velázquez y los 'Velazqueños'." Goya no. 298 (January–February 2004), p. 29, discusses the life-size portrait of Olivares in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, noting that its expert handling reminds us of Velázquez without corresponding exactly to his manner; states that the smaller portraits in Dresden and the Metropolitan are derived from the Pushkin painting.
Matías Díaz Padrón. "Sugestiones e influencias del arte flamenco en la obra de Velázquez." El arte foráneo en España: Presencia e influencia. Ed. Miguel Cabañas Bravo. Madrid, 2005, p. 351, believes the Prado original derives from Van Dyck's engraving of Alberto de Ligne, count of Aremberg, on horseback; calls the MMA picture a reduced copy by Mazo with a white horse, attributed to Velázquez by the Museum, "which is not aware that the picture came from the collection of the Marqués del Carpio, where it was cited as a Mazo".
Wolf Moser. Der Fall Velázquez: Antworten. Munich, 2005, p. 135 [mistakenly uses plate for Madrid painting], lists our picture and the Prado version under Velázquez and Workshop.
Elizabeth A. Pergam. "From Manchester to Manhattan: The Transatlantic Art Trade After 1857." Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 87, no. 2 (2005), pp. 86, 88.
Giorgia Mancini et al. inVelázquez. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 2006, pp. 38, 180–81, no. 26, ill. (color), notes that "of the different versions of this portrait, the present replica is the closest to Velázquez" and that "some scholars have ascribed it to Velázquez, considering it either a study for the painting in the Prado or an autograph replica," while others have attributed it to Mazo.
Javier Portús inVelázquez. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 2006, pp. 58, 67 n. 14, calls it probably the equestrian portrait of the Count-Duke that is ascribed to Mazo in the inventory of the Marqués del Carpio.
Peter Cherry. "Velázquez, London." Burlington Magazine 149 (January 2007), p. 52, observes that "the name of Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo (c. 1610–67) is routinely invoked before paintings of evident quality in Velázquez's manner, and a prime candidate for one of these here is the 'Count-Duke of Olivares'" [the present work, in exhibition at National Gallery, London].
Marc Fumaroli. De Rome à Paris: Peinture et pouvoirs aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles. Dijon, 2007, p. 186, ill. (color).
James Macdonald. "La valoración de Velázquez en el mercado internacional." En torno a Santa Rufina: Velázquez de lo íntimo a lo cortesano. Ed. Benito Navarrete Prieto. [Seville], , pp. 136, 337.
Matías Díaz Padrón. "Propuesta a tres Velázquez discutidos: 'San Francisco en éxtasis,' 'El conde duque de Olivares' del Metropolitan y 'Las meninas' de Kingston Lacy." En torno a Santa Rufina: Velázquez de lo íntimo a lo cortesano. Ed. Benito Navarrete Prieto. [Seville], , pp. 243, 245, 385–86, figs. 91, 93 (overall and detail), calls it "without any doubt an excellent painting," but notes that the brushwork "reveals a clear difference between this painting and the original in the Museo del Prado," a sign of "the master's greater sensitivity".
Peter Cherry. "Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo, copista." En torno a Santa Rufina: Velázquez de lo íntimo a lo cortesano. Ed. Benito Navarrete Prieto. [Seville], , pp. 250, 254, 388, 390, attributes it to Mazo, observing that he does not appear to share Velázquez's artistic concerns: "he does not depict the dust raised by the horse's hooves and blown by the wind, nor its sweaty coat, which epitomizes the artist's naturalistic response to the challenge of the 'mimesis' of classical antiquity".
Fernando Checa. Velázquez: The Complete Paintings. [Antwerp], 2008, p. 149, observes that among the numerous versions of the Prado portrait, this one is of the highest quality, although it is probably not by Velázquez; notes that it has been attributed to Mazo and was listed as such in the collection of the Marqués de Leganés [sic for Marqués del Carpio].
Klára Garas and Éva Nyerges. "Baron Wiser's Picture Gallery." Burlington Magazine 151 (September 2009), p. 587 n. 19.
Miguel Morán inVelázquez: Las Meninas and the Late Royal Portraits. Ed. Javier Portús. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. London, 2013, p. 89 n. 23.
The frame is from Florence and dates to about 1690 (see Additional Images, figs. 1–3). The painted and giltwood frame with its original surface is made of pine and extravagantly carved. The lotus form sight edge with added liner top and bottom steps up to the top edge which is ornamented in intervals of palmettes within arched volutes. Horned and bearded open-mouthed fawn heads with leafy brows span the corners and centers. A deep outer hollow with carved acanthus leaves on a blue painted ground falls to the back edge carved in rod and ribbon twist with tassled swags. Originally an elaborate ceiling molding, this frame entered the collection in 1945 on another painting.
[Timothy Newbery with Cynthia Moyer 2016; further information on this frame can be found in the Department of European Paintings files]