Spanish Art History In a Nutshell
This portrait is a study for the figure who gazes out from the far right of Velázquez's Surrender of Breda (ca. 1635, Museo del Prado, Madrid). That large canvas, depicting one of the most famous military successes in Philip IV's reign, integrates a number of portraits. Although it has been argued that this man is none other than the artist, scholars have questioned whether the painter would have dared to include himself as a bystander at the historic military victory. The surviving evidence suggests that Velázquez rarely made studies for his larger works and did not make oil studies for the other figures in Surrender at Breda. However, a preparatory step such as this work would have made it easier for the artist to include an image of himself in the picture. The canvas may have remained in his studio; a "portrait of Diego Velázquez, clothes to be finished" is listed in a posthumous inventory of the artist's possessions
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Spanish Paintings from El Greco to Goya," February 17–April 1, 1928, no. 63 (as a self-portrait by Velázquez, lent by Jules S. Bache).
Brooklyn Museum. "Exhibition of Spanish Painting," October 4–31, 1935, no. 54 (as a self-portrait by Velázquez, lent by Jules Bache).
New York. World's Fair. "Masterpieces of Art: European Paintings and Sculpture from 1300–1800," May–October 1939, no. 395 (as a self-portrait by Velázquez, lent by the Jules S. Bache collection).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Bache Collection," June 16–September 30, 1943, no. 42.
Tokyo National Museum. "Treasured Masterpieces of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," August 10–October 1, 1972, no. 77.
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Treasured Masterpieces of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 8–November 26, 1972, no. 77.
Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," May 22–July 27, 1975, no. 31.
Moscow. State Pushkin Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," August 28–November 2, 1975, no. 31.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Velázquez Rediscovered," November 17, 2009–February 7, 2010, no catalogue.
Detroit Institute of Arts. "Five Spanish Masterpieces," June 21–August 19, 2012, no catalogue.
Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado. "La obra invitada: 'Retrato de caballero', Velázquez," October 19, 2012–January 27, 2013, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible," March 18–September 4, 2016, unnumbered cat. (colorpl. 63).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Velázquez Portraits: Truth in Painting," November 4, 2016–March 14, 2017, no catalogue.
Verzeichniss der Gräflich-Wallmodenschen Gemälde-Sammlung, welche am 1 Sept. des laufenden Jahres und im den folgenden wochen zu Hannover meistbietend verkauft werden soll. Hanover, 1818, p. 14, no. 43, as a portrait of a man, allegedly by Van Dyck; states in the foreword that the collection was put together by the deceased Duke of Wallmoden-Gimborn [i.e., Johann Ludwig, Reichsgraf von Wallmoden-Gimborn (1736–1811)].
B[ernhard]. Hausmann. Verzeichniss der Hausmann'schen Gemählde-Sammlung in Hannover. Braunschweig, 1831, p. VI n. 5, p. 129, no. 257, lists it as a portrait of a man by Van Dyck; includes it among works he acquired at the Wallmoden sale in 1818.
Verzeichniss der von Seiner Majestät dem Könige angekauften Hausmann'schen Gemälde-Sammlung in Hannover. Hanover, 1857, p. 28, no. 257, as a self-portrait by Velázquez.
G. Parthey. Deutscher Bildersaal. Vol. 2, L–Z. Berlin, 1864, p. 702, no. 23, lists it as a self-portrait by Velázquez from his best period; erroneously as still in the Hausmann collection.
O[skar]. Eisenmann in Katalog der zum Ressort der Königlichen Verwaltungs-Kommission gehörigen Sammlung . . . im Provinzial-Museumsgebäude . . . zu Hannover. Hanover, 1891, p. 214, no. 581, calls it a portrait of Velázquez and attributes it to an unknown Flemish painter of the first half of the seventeenth century, possibly Gaspar de Crayer (1584–1669); notes that it was formerly attributed to Velázquez himself.
Oskar Eisenmann in Katalog der zur Fideicommiss-Galerie des Gesamthauses Braunschweig und Lüneburg gehörigen Sammlung von Gemälden und Skulpturen im Provinzial-Museum . . . zu Hannover. Hanover, 1902, p. 214, no. 581.
Oskar Eisenmann and W. Köhler. Katalog der zur Fideikommiss-Galerie des Gesamthauses Braunschweig und Lüneburg . . . im Provinzial-Museum. Ed. Dr. Reimers. Hanover, 1905, p. 146, no. 469, Reimers adds to the text of Ref. Eisenmann 1891 that he would like to consider it by a Spanish master.
August L. Mayer. "Das Selbstbildnis des Velazquez im Provinzial-Museum zu Hannover." Zeitschrift für Bildende Kunst 29 (November 1917), pp. 65–66, ill., describes it as a self-portrait by Velázquez from about 1635; reports that it was recognized as a Velázquez by the British art connoisseur Sir Hugh Hume Campbell in 1854, by H. Farrer in 1855, and by Mr. Smith in 1856; discusses areas of pentimenti, especially around the head, and states "One certainly cannot add this portrait to the happiest creations of Velasquez, but it reveals the Master everywhere"; mentions similarities with a Velázquez portrait of an unknown man at Apsley House, Wellington Museum, London [Ref. López-Rey 1963, no. 550] and with the "known self-portraits" at the Museo Capitolino, Pinacoteca, Rome [Ref. López-Rey 1963, no. 484], the Museo Provincial, Valencia [Ref. López-Rey 1963, no. 176], and contained within "Las Meninas" (Prado, Madrid), and lastly, with a supposed self-portrait depicted as the soldier on the right-hand side of "The Surrender of Breda" (Prado).
August L. Mayer. Diego Velazquez. Berlin, 1924, p. 31 n., calls it a self-portrait by Mazo.
Walter Gensel. Velazquez: Des Meisters Gemälde. Ed. Juan Allende-Salazar. Stuttgart, , p. 284, as neither representing Velázquez nor painted by him.
August L. Mayer. "A Self-Portrait by Velasquez." Art in America 14 (April 1926), pp. 100–102, ill., notes that a recent cleaning of the painting confirms his belief that it is a self-portrait by Velázquez; repeats his argument for a connection with the artist's portrait of a man (Apsley House, London) and in particular, with the self-portrait contained in "The Surrender of Breda" (Prado); suggests that the MMA picture may, in fact, be an original study for this figure of a soldier.
Édouard Brandus. "La collection des tableaux anciens de M. Jules S. Bache, à New-York." La Renaissance 11 (May 1928), p. 190–91, ill., dates it about 1634 and calls it a self-portrait painted by Velázquez.
Bryson Burroughs. "Spanish Paintings from El Greco to Goya." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 23 (February 1928), p. 42, ill. on cover, calls it "a practically unknown work" that depicts Velázquez at age 35.
"From El Greco to Goya." American Magazine of Art 19 (April 1928), p. 182, mentions it as a self-portrait, dated about 1634.
Royal Cortissoz. "Paintings by Velasquez in America." International Studio 90 (May–August 1928), p. 39, ill. p. 41.
Walter Heil. "The Jules Bache Collection." Art News 27 (April 27, 1929), pp. 4, 17, ill., calls it a self-portrait by Velázquez of about 1635.
A Catalogue of Paintings in the Collection of Jules S. Bache. New York, 1929, unpaginated, ill.
Royal Cortissoz. "The Jules S. Bache Collection." American Magazine of Art 21 (May 1930), p. 258.
Carl Justi. Diego Velazquez und sein Jahrhundert. [Zürich], 1933, no. 148, pl. 137, calls it a self-portrait but lists it among paintings from the workshop and attributed to Velázquez.
"Brooklyn Museum Opens Great Exhibition of Spanish Masterpieces." Art Digest 10 (October 1, 1935), pp. 5–6, ill.
August L. Mayer. Velazquez: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Pictures and Drawings. London, 1936, pp. 41–42, no. 170, pl. 71, lists it as "Self-portrait (?)" and dates it about 1633–34; remarks that he once thought this picture was a self-portrait by Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo, but that he now believes it is "too good" to be by Mazo; concludes that if the right-hand soldier in "The Surrender of Breda" is indeed a self-portrait by Velázquez, as suggested to him by Juan Allende-Salazar, then this picture, which it closely resembles, must also be a self-portrait.
A Catalogue of Paintings in the Bache Collection. under revision. New York, 1937, unpaginated, no. 43, ill.
George Henry McCall. Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture from 1300–1800: Masterpieces of Art. Ed. William R. Valentiner. Exh. cat., World's Fair. New York, 1939, p. 193, no. 395.
Élie Faure. Velazquez: Gesamtwiedergabe seiner Gemälde. London, 1939, p. 242, no. 148, pl. 137, lists it as a self-portrait by Velázquez.
William R. Valentiner and Alfred M. Frankfurter. Masterpieces of Art: Exhibition at the New York World's Fair 1939, Official Souvenir Guide and Picture Book. New York, 1939, p. 12, no. 79, ill.
Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941, unpaginated, no. 229, ill., remarks that the picture was first recognized as a self-portrait by Velázquez in 1854, while in the Hausmann collection, Hannover, by Sir Hugh Hume Campbell, and in 1856 this was reconfirmed by Henry Farrer, "both well-known art authorities of their day".
Regina Shoolman and Charles E. Slatkin. The Enjoyment of Art in America. Philadelphia, 1942, p. 469, pl. 421.
Harry B. Wehle. "The Bache Collection on Loan." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 1 (June 1943), p. 290, describes it as "Velazquez's fascinatingly introspective Self-Portrait".
Walter Heil. "The Bache Paintings at the Metropolitan." Art News 42 (June–July 1943), p. 25.
A Catalogue of Paintings in the Bache Collection. rev. ed. New York, 1943, unpaginated, no. 42, ill.
A[lfred]. D[avidson]. "Bache Collection Installed in Metropolitan Museum for the Summer." Art Digest 17 (July 1, 1943), p. 19, ill. p. 6.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), p. 4.
Bernardino de Pantorba. La vida y la obra de Velázquez: Estudio biográfico y crítico. Madrid, 1955, p. 103, observes a resemblance to the supposed self-portrait in "The Surrender of Breda" but doubts that the MMA picture is by Velázquez since it lacks the artist's rich subtlety and frankness of execution.
Kurt Gerstenberg. Diego Velazquez. [Munich], , p. 13, believes the self-portraits of the artist at about age 40, such as the present work, are all copies; claims that the close relationship between this picture and the supposed self-portrait in "The Surrender of Breda" provides evidence that a similar portrait of a young man dated about 1628 (Neue Pinakothek, Munich) is also a self-portrait.
José López-Rey. Velázquez: A Catalogue Raisonné of His Oeuvre. London, 1963, pp. 183–84, no. 181, pl. 233, calls it a "so-called self-portrait" and a "school piece rather close to Velázquez's manner"; remarks upon the resemblance between this picture and the head of the soldier in "The Surrender of Breda," and states that the latter has been variously identified as a self-portrait or a portrait of Mazo .
José Camón Aznar. Velázquez. Madrid, 1964, vol. 2, pp. 686–88, ill., believes it may be by Velázquez and is perhaps a study for a more substantial self-portrait; remarks that the physiognomy is frank and, as is typical in Velázquez's self-portraits, the features are noble to the point of arrogance, but the picture conveys great human depth.
José Gudiol. "A Fresh Look at Some Velasquez Self-portraits." Connoisseur 159 (July 1965), p. 165, identifies the figure at the right in "The Surrender of Breda" as a self-portrait, based upon a comparison of the nose with that in an anonymous portrait of the young Velázquez, assumed to be a copy of a self-portrait (Palacio Episcopal, Granada); believes the MMA portrait and the figure in "The Surrender of Breda" represent the same sitter but has not examined the MMA picture closely enough to judge its authenticity.
José López-Rey. Velázquez. Cologne, 1996, vol. 2, p. 234.
Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez. Letter to Dulce Roman. April 27, 1997, observes that this picture is "directly related to Velázquez" and adds that he does not think it can be attributed to Alonso Cano.
Meryle Secrest. Duveen: A Life in Art. New York, 2004, p. 497, notes change of title and attribution from "Self-Portrait" to "Portrait of a Gentleman" and Workshop of Velázquez.
Keith Christiansen in Velázquez Rediscovered. New York, 2009, pp. 6–9, 23, figs. 1 (color), 2 (from Ref. Mayer 1917), 3 (from Ref. Mayer 1926), 19 (color, in MMA Paintings Conservation studio), ill. on cover (color detail), discusses the attribution history of the picture.
Jonathan Brown in Velázquez Rediscovered. New York, 2009, pp. 10–15, fig. 9 (color detail), on seeing the painting after its recent cleaning, enthusiastically ascribes it to Velázquez; believes that it does depict the same individual included at the right in the "Surrender of Breda," referring to the MMA painting as a "preliminary study" for that figure, but rejects his identification as Velázquez.
Michael Gallagher in Velázquez Rediscovered. New York, 2009, pp. 16–22, figs. 10 (color, before cleaning), 11 (color, after cleaning and restoration), 12 (x-radiograph), 13–16 (color details), discusses his cleaning and restoration of the picture in summer 2009, and describes Velázquez's working method in creating the painting.
Jonathan Brown. "Un Velázquez en Nueva York." Ars Magazine 3 (January–March 2010), pp. 56–63, 146–48, ill. (color, overall and details) [reprint of Ref. Brown 2009].
Michael Gallagher. "Una restauración singular." Ars Magazine 3 (January–March 2010), pp. 64–69, 148–49, ill. (color, overall and detail; color, in MMA Paintings Conservation studio, before cleaning, and after cleaning and restoration; overall from Ref. Mayer 1917 and Ref. Mayer 1926; x-radiograph) [reprint of Ref. Gallagher 2009].
Andrea Bayer in Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. New York, 2016, p. 326, colorpl. 63.
Michael Gallagher in Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. New York, 2016, pp. 44, 265 n. 3, fig. 2 (color, before treatment).
Jason Farago. "An Infinite World Captured In a Handful of Portraits." New York Times (January 13, 2017), p. C25, ill. (color).
Jonathan Brown. "A Proposal on Attribution: Jonathan Brown on Velázquez Portraits at the Metropolitan." Art Newspaper. February 24, 2017 [http://theartnewspaper.com/comment/reviews/exhibitions/a-proposal-on-attribution-jonathan-brown-on-vel-zquez-portraits-at-the-metropolitan/ (Feb. 24, 2017)].
Johann Ludwig, Reichsgraf von Wallmoden-Gimborn (until d. 1811); his son, Ludwig Georg Thedel, Feld-Marschall Graf von Wallmoden-Gimborn (1811–18; sold to Hausmann); David Bernhard Hausmann, Hanover (1818–57; cat., 1831, no. 257; sold to George V); George V, King of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale (1857–d. 1878; cat., 1857, no. 257); his son, Ernst August, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale (1878–d. 1923; on loan to the Provinzial-Museum, Hanover; cats., 1891, no. 581; 1902, no. 581; 1905, no. 469); his son, Ernst August, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1923–25); [Leo Blumenreich, Berlin, 1925; sold to Duveen]; [Duveen, Paris, London, and New York, 1925–26; sold for $225,000 to Bache]; Jules S. Bache, New York (1926–d. 1944; his estate, 1944–49; cats., 1929, unnumbered; 1937, no. 43; 1943, no. 42)
An official court painter of King Philip IV, Diego Velázquez is regarded as one of the greatest Spanish artists. He transformed his keen observational powers into faithful portraits of Spanish royalty and, at the height of his career, Pope Innocent X. Famed for the vital likenesses of his subjects, Velázquez used free, efficient brushstrokes to conjure heavily atmospheric scenes pierced by dazzling color and ornamentation. His masterpiece is Las Meninas. A classic baroque example, the large painting captures a young princess and her attendants watching her parents, the King and Queen, pose for the artist. Velázquez died four years after its completion, but his influence resonated well into the 19th and 20th centuries: he had a particularly formative effect on Edouard Manet, and drew the recurring fascination of Pablo Picasso.
Spanish, 1599-1660, Seville, Spain