TENIERS, David the Younger
(b. 1610, Antwerpen, d. 1690, Bruxelles)

Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his Gallery

c. 1647
Oil on copper, 106 x 129 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

David Teniers, court painter to Archduke Leopold Wilhelm Hapsburg, the Governor of Flanders, and keeper of his very fine collection of painting and sculpture, made several of these gallery portraits. The Archduke (in tall hat) is depicted showing to visitors the wealth of his pictures, most of them Venetian, almost half of them by Titian. Other Venetians represented are Giorgine, Antonello da Messina, Palma Vecchio, Tintoretto, Bassano and Veronese; also there are Mabuse, Holbein, Bernardo Strozzi, Guido Reni and Rubens. The sculpture supporting the table, representing Ganymede, is a bronze by Duquesnoy the Younger. Teniers himself is represented as the figure on the far left. It has been suggested that Velázquez borrowed the device of the half-open door at the back of this picture for his Las Meninas; at least Las Meninas can be understood as a similar picture, designed to illustrate the enlightened patronage of the patron and the corresponding pride of the court artist.

The painting was presented to Philip IV of Spain by Archduke Leopold Wilhelm before 1653.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 19 minutes):
Modest Mussorgsky: Picture from an Exhibition, arr. by Maurice Ravel (excerpts)