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Isabel de Valois2.



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Juan Pantoja de la Cruz (1553-1608)

English: Queen Elizabeth of Valois, third wife of Philip II
Español: La reina Isabel de Valois, tercera esposa de Felipe II.
English: Isabel de Valois was the daughter of King Henri II of France and Catharine of Medici. Born in 1546, she married Felipe II in 1559, helping to consolidate the peace process between Spain and France. She was probably the Spanish Monarch's closest wife and she played a political role during her reign. She was the mother of the infantas Isabel Clara Eugenia and Catalina Micaela, whose weddings were planned to strengthen the Spanish presence in Flanders and Savoy.

The Queen wears an austere black velvet dress in keeping with Spanish fashion at that time, but she is adorned with sumptuous jewels. Her right arm rests on a court armchair and in her hands she holds an elegant gold chain ending in a gold pendent in the form of an animal head, set with precious stones. The movement of this jewel, along with the use of red in the ribbons and sleeves, gives this portrait a certain variation and dynamism which Pantoja uses to distance his style from the stasis and rigidity that predominated in earlier Spanish portraiture. Still, he follows the guidelines set out during Felipe II's time, using the model's cold and impassive expression to emphasize the solemnity of the royal image.

Some specialists consider this work to be a copy of an original by the painter Sofonisba Anguisola, a protégée of the Queen. It was painted for the Royal Collection and entered the Prado Museum from there.
Español: Hija del rey Enrique II de Francia y de Catalina de Medici, Isabel nació en 1546 y contrajo matrimonio con Felipe II en 1559, este hecho formó parte de la consolidación del proceso de paz entre España y Francia. Probablemente fue la esposa más cercana al Monarca español y durante su reinado disfrutó de cierto protagonismo político. Fue madre de las infantas Isabel Clara Eugenia y Catalina Micaela, cuyas bodas fueron planeadas para potenciar la presencia española en Flandes y Saboya.

La Reina está vestida con un austero traje de terciopelo negro, siguiendo la moda española de la época, aunque se adorna con ricas joyas. Apoya su brazo derecho en un sillón cortesano, mientras sostiene con ambas manos una elegante cadena de oro, rematada por una rica pieza de este metal y piedras preciosas, con forma de cabeza de animal. El movimiento de esta joya, junto con la incorporación de los tonos rojos de lazos y mangas, otorgan al retrato una cierta variación y dinamismo, cualidades que Pantoja utiliza para alejar su estilo del estatismo y rigidez imperantes en la retratística española anterior. Sin embargo sigue las directrices definidas en tiempos de Felipe II acentuando la solemnidad de la imagen regia mediante el gesto frío e impasible del personaje.

Esta obra, considerada por algunos especialistas como copia de un original de la pintora Sofonisba Anguisola, artista protegida por la Reina, pertenece desde su ejecución a la Colección Real, de donde pasó al Museo del Prado.



oil on canvas


120.1 × 84 cm (47.3 × 33.1 in)

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