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Portrait of a Prince (Infante) Bartolomé González


Bartolomé González Valladolid 1564 – 1627 Madrid

Culture Spanish
Date 1618
Object type painting
Medium, technique oil on canvas

98.5 × 79.5 cm

Inventory number 2007.2
Collection Old Master Paintings
On view Museum of Fine Arts, First Floor, European Art 1600–1700 and British Painting 1600–1800, Gallery VIII

Likenesses of royal children constitute a special subgenre of court portraiture. When executing such works, painters had to follow strict rules, as these were no ordinary children: they were the guarantors that the royal dynasty would live on, and as such, they were depicted in formal, stately poses, which were somewhat contrived and generally unbefitting of their young age. Due to the Habsburgs’ propensity for marrying within the family, compounded by the poor hygiene of the times, relatively few Habsburg children lived beyond the age of five. It is therefore interesting that in their childhood portraits, infantes and infantas were usually shown wearing a belt of amulets around their waist. This ancient practice was intended to protect the child from the many illnesses and curses to which they might be exposed.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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