Top 10 Prado Portraits

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

During my visit to Madrid, I paid a visit to the Prado Museum - or the National Museu del Prado to give it its full title. The museum was filled with stunning landscapes, biblical scenes and cleverly positioned classical paintings but I was particularly partial to the many portraits on display.

Here are my 10 favourite portraits from the Prado.

Maria Isabel of Braganza was the Spanish queen whose collection founded the basis of the Prado museum. Queen Maria Isabel had a great affection for art, but something suggests artists didn't have the same affection for her as she's been painted in rather unflattering, miserable pose.

Maria Isabel of Braganza

Maria Amalia of Saxony has a rather fabulous red frock.


This painting of Saint Dominic is lavish, with gold decoration throughout and even extending out of the picture - the frame was topped with gold Gothic cathedral spires.

Bartolomé Bermejo - St Dominic Enthroned in Glory - WGA1961

This portrait of a rich, young boy seems to tell you all you need to know about the man this child will grow up to become.

Angelo Bronzino - Don Garcia de' Medici - WGA3254

This painting is of a small girl, Eugenia Martinex Vallejo who was very over-weight and perhaps even disabled. Aged 6, she was taken to the Spanish court to be put on display, pointed and stared at. The poor girl! Hanging near this painting is a nude portrait of the girl which makes her seem all the more poignant.

Eugenia Martinez Vallejo. Carrena

This portrait cleverly (and a little spookily) shows the artist and his family.

Retrato de familia (Key)

On a list of favourite queens, Maria Luisa must rank high. She looks like a game lass, perched high on her horse, always up for a bit of craic.

La reina María Luisa a caballo

Speaking of horses, here's the Duke of Lerma is a powerful pose and portrait. Although this really is a much better portrait of his horse, a glamorous Beyonce of a beast.

Retrato ecuestre del duque de Lerma (Rubens)

Here's Maria Theresa, formidable Queen of Hungary and Croatia, Archduchess of Austria, Queen of Bohemia and Empress consort of the Holy Roman Empire. But this portrait shows her as a little girl, a very different image of her than we have today.

Anton Raphael Mengs 015

And, finally, Maria Cristina of the Two Sicilies, bearer not only of a fantastic name but also a rather fabulous hat.


There are thousands more paintings and artworks in the Prado Museum, many of which can be explored on their website.