COELLO, Claudio
(b. 1642, Madrid, d. 1693, Madrid)

The Triumph of St Augustine

Oil on canvas, 271 x 203 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Coello, of Portuguese origin, became a leading exponent of Baroque painting in 17th century Madrid, having assimilated the influence of Carreño and Flemish painting. He marks the end of the school of Madrid of this century. He was a pupil of Francesco Ricci and an artist with an extraordinary gift for veristic representation. Coello's Baroque complexity, however, is combined with a naturalistic interest in detail that sometimes detracts from the formal hierarchy of his composition. A remarkable portraitist, he has bequeathed a number of pictures of Charles II in which the degeneracy of the last of the Hapsburgs is reflected without the least attempt at mitigation.

Typical in this large work is the diagonal axis of the figures, stressing the dynamic movement of the saint, and the framing elements of classical architecture. The sensual and sumptuous colour recalls Rubens, whose pictures in the Royal Collection Coello is known to have studied.