The path of this famous artwork took the same path as St John the Evangelist at Patmos, with both having originally been in the Carmelite Convent in Seville, Spain.
Whilst it is regrettable to see original artworks leave their country of origin, these two paintings have become part of an extraordinary collection of Baroque and Renaissance art to be found in the English capital city.
A young Diego Velazquez found fame and fortune in Madrid having moved to the Spanish capital to become a leading court painter. His Immaculate Conception title came several years before this move, and displays an insight into the early work of this exceptional artist. He was also relatively without influence at this stage of his development.
Religious themes, such as the Immaculate Conception, dominated the Renaissance and Baroque art movements and were less frequent from then on. Art often reflects society, and vice versa and the same can be said here as art reflected the waining hold of religion over the common man from those periods up to the present day.
There were several artists who took on the specific theme of the Immaculate Conception, each adding their own take on a narrative which is so important to followers of Christianity. Peter Paul Rubens' Immaculate Conception offers an alternaive perspective to that of Velazquez. The latter's version, shown in this webpage, is clearly of a more sombre style but both hold impressive artistic qualities in their own right.
This oil on canvas stands at 102cm tall by 135cm wide. It was purchased in 1974 having been passed down through several generations of a British family. The city of London holds amongst amongst the finest collections of art, from the early Renaissance up to the present day, but these are spread across several internationally significant art galleries and museums such as the Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the National Gallery.