VELÁZQUEZ, Diego Rodriguez de Silva y
(b. 1599, Sevilla, d. 1660, Madrid)
Prince Baltasar Carlos with the Count-Duke of Olivares at the Royal Mewsc. 1636
Oil on canvas, 144 x 96,5 cm
Collection of the Duke of Westminster, London
As a court painter, Velázquez was required to paint group portraits as well as these actual or fictional portraits of individual figures. He organized a workshop of competent artists, and in 1633 recruited the services of his son-in-law Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo. Mazo probably did a good deal of work on the picture of around 1636 showing Prince Baltasar Carlos with the Count-Duke of Olivares at the Royal Mews. The Count-Duke stands in the middle ground to the right of the picture, with his master-at-arms; figures on the balcony above him include Philip IV, Queen Isabel and several courtiers who cannot be identified for certain.
The belly of the horse on which the little prince is mounted is disproportionately convex and in fact so coarsely depicted that one suspects the unskilful hand of an apprentice rather than a deliberate distortion.