VELÁZQUEZ, Diego Rodriguez de Silva y
(b. 1599, Sevilla, d. 1660, Madrid)

Philip III on Horseback

Oil on canvas, 305 x 320 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Five equestrian portraits, those of Philip III, Queen Margarita, Isabella of Bourbon, Philip IV, and Prince Baltasar Carlos, belonged to the colossal decorative scheme of the Hall of the Realms in the Buen Retiro Palace. The scheme was organized by the Count-Duke of Olivares, with the aim of affirming the glory of the Spanish Monarchy during what was in fact a period of decline.

The picture of Philip III on Horseback is by an unknown painter, and was over-painted by either Velázquez or an assistant between 1634 and 1635. It is the horse's head in particular that betrays the master's hand.