Subject: hidalgo nobleman
Setting: Siglo de Oro, Habsburg empire 17thc
* Kimbell Art Museum
"Diego Velásquez (1599-1660) Portrait of Don Pedro de Barberana c1631-33 Oil on canvas ...
Born and trained in Seville, Velásquez moved to Madrid, where he served King Philip IV from 1623. As court painter, his main responsibility was to produce portraits of the royal family and their circle. These remain unsurpassed in their depth of conception and extraordinary painterly technique.
"Don Pedro de Barberana y Aparregui (1579-1649) was a member of Philip IV's privy council. He was named honorary postmaster of the realm and, by royal decree, governor of his native town of Briones. Prominently displayed on his doublet and cape is the red cross of the Order of Calatrava, founded in the Middle Ages as a defense against the Moors and subsequently a privilege of the aristocracy. Don Pedro was knighted in 1630, and Velásquez must have painted the portrait soon after he returned from his first trip to Italy in 1631. "In his full-length portraits Velásquez devised new ways of heightening the illusion of the sitter's physical presence. Don Pedro commands the entire pictoral space, which is stripped of architectural elements and enlivened by his cast shadow and the soft, ambient light of the background. His left brow raised, Don Pedro looks out with cool, confident aplomb, seeming to scrutinize and appraise the viewer. Much of the force of the portrait derives from the tension between the evocation of a forthright personality and the refinement and elegance of the knight's costume. Especially noteworthy is Velásquez's ability to create palpable volumes, particularly in the subtle gradations of blacks in the sitter's clothing."
* Museo del Prado
* Museo del Prado
* Meadows Museum > Canvas & Silk: Historic fashion from Madrid's Museo del Traje
"JUSEPE DE RIBERA (1591-1652) Portrait of a Knight of Santiago, c. 1635 Oil on canvas ....
Although the identity of this portrait's sitter has yet to be fully confirmed, what is known has been surmised thanks to fashion. Of particular note is the shell-shaped medal or pendant hanging around the man's neck. Ribera has taken great care to paint thereon the red, sword-shaped cross worn by knights of the Order of Saint James.
"The use of insignia to identify members of one of the elite religious military orders (such as those dedicated to Santiago [Saint James], Montesa, Alcántara, Calatrava, Jesucristo [Jesus Christ], or San Juan [Saint John]) was common from the late medieval period. Over the course of the seventeenth century, however, it became popular for jewelry, rather than embroidered garments, to bear these symbols. Not unlike present-day military medals, as accessories, insignia were independent components of one's attire, thus making it possible to wear the same piece with various garments. As pendants, they were typically suspended from the neck by a chain, cord, textile ribbon, or affixed to a sash.
"Historically, the majority of Spanish gentlemen in military orders purchased their medals privately from jewelers, which led to significant variation between the materials, techniques, and shapes employed. Here, Ribera's use of a warm-yellow paint suggests the sitter's chain and pendant were made of gold, perhaps with an enameled cross, although precious stones were also sometimes used. The use of the iconic shape of a scallop shell (venera), the symbol of Saint James and the pilgrimage to his shrine at Santiago de Compostela, evokes antique models. Examples of Spanish insignia." ....