Philip IV in Brown and Silver Diego Velazquez Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Philip IV in Brown and Silver is another full length portrait of this famous Spanish King who held such a strong relationship with his favoured painter, Diego Velazquez. The artist would go on to make over a dozen different portraits of this figure over a period of years.

Philip would reign in Spain for over four decades and also was King of Portugal for an extended time as well. He loved art and would collect and commision pieces regularly, perhaps in a similar way to the Medici family in Italy. He appointed Velazquez to his court and was soon requesting multiple portraits of himself and his family in all manner of different setups. He wanted to be seen by future generations in the best light possible, and quickly realised that Velazquez was most equipped to do that. He would use other artists, as was his right, but no-one achieved his level of respect as this famous Spaniard who appreciated the financial backing that this role brought him, even though it would infringe on his artistic independence. His career oeuvre features many relations of the King, often with similarly grand outfits as found in this example.

King Philip IV looks elegant in this outfit, which may well have been carefully planned for this portrait. He wears a brown top with silver patterns which the artist reproduced beautifully. Below that are white sleeves that reverse the colours and detail. Behind him is a table with purple cloth cover as well as a cloth hung at the back in the same colour. The floor is a neutral light brown and this allows us to see more clearly his handsome white stockings and white boots which appear in perfect condition. The model himself has a well groomed moustache that curves up and outwards. His red hair gleans in the light and his prominent nose and lips remain consistent throughout the series of portraits of him produced by Diego Velazquez.

This painting is dated at 1631-32 and is now a part of the collection of The National Gallery in London, UK. You will find a number of other paintings from this artist there, including Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, Philip IV of Spain and Portrait of Archbishop Fernando de Valdés, with a total of nine available. They may not offer as many as the extraordinary Prado, but this is still amongst the finest art galleries in the world and with around nine artworks on offer from Velazquez, that is enough to potentially fill a single room with just his artworks. Bacchus and Ariadne by Titian, Bathers at La Grenouillère by Claude Monet and Madame Moitessier by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres are amongst the other highlights to be found here, though there is a huge selection to go through that would easily fill an entire day's visit.

Philip IV in Brown and Silver in Detail Diego Velazquez