RUBENS, Peter Paul
(b. 1577, Siegen, d. 1640, Antwerpen)

Immaculate Conception

c. 1628
Oil on canvas, 198 x 137 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

King Philip IV's affection for pictures was emulated by his courtiers who amassed large collections and helped to turn Madrid into one of the most active picture market in Europe. Diego Messía, the marquis of Leganés's beginnings as a collector was modest enough; in 1630, his inventory lists a mere eighteen works, eleven of which were ascribed to Titian. Twelve years later, the total increased to well over 1.100 pictures, among them masterpieces by Rubens and van Dyck, as well as a generous share by lesser Flemish masters. Leganes also collected the Flemish primitives. His Italian paintings included attributions to Titian, Raphael, Veronese and the Bassanos.

This Immaculate Conception by Rubens was also part of Leganés's collection.