Philip III by Velázquez Catalogue

In 1988, the art historian William B. Jordan purchased a painting attributed to a northern European artist, suspecting that it might in fact be of Spanish origin. Detailed examination of the canvas and of early restoration work not only confirmed this suspicion, but also suggested that it could be the sketch for a head of Philip III, depicted by Velázquez for his Expulsion of the Moriscos; the painting—now lost—which won the competition held by Philip IV for a large-format history picture intended for the Alcázar in Madrid. In 2016, Jordan submitted his painting to the Prado Museum for further examination.

Download the catalogue introduction in PDF
This book presents the findings, in illustrated essays by several specialists: Jordan himself describes the context of his discovery and sets out the grounds for his conclusions; from a historical perspective, the British Hispanist John Elliott focuses on Philip IV’s reasons for commissioning a painting like the Expulsion; Javier Portús, Chief Curator of Spanish Painting (up to 1700) at the Prado, examines the stylistic reasons behind the attribution, comparing the sketch with the work of other contemporary artists at the Madrid court; finally, M.ª Dolores Gayo and Jaime García-Máiquez, of the Museum’s Technical Service, report on their comprehensive analysis of the support and the pigments used in the sketch, and compare the painter’s style and working methods—visible through radiography and reflectography—with those of other contemporary artists, with a view to confirming the attribution, function and destination of the painting.