VELÁZQUEZ, Diego Rodriguez de Silva y
(b. 1599, Sevilla, d. 1660, Madrid)
Abbess Jerónima de la Fuente1620
Oil on canvas, 162 x 107,5 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid
One of his series of unforgettable portraits showing great psychological acuity, and among the few works to be dated and signed by the young artist, is Mother Jerónima de la Fuente. According to the long inscription on the lower part, the Abbess departed from Seville to the Philippine Islands in 1620 to establish a cloister there. The realistic style of the painting reflects the influence of Francisco Herrera the Elder and Francisco Pacheco.
The elderly nun's gaze is keen and slightly melancholic, as if prepared for any sacrifice. She holds a large crucifix in her right hand and a book in her left hand.