Prince Balthasar Carlos in Hunting Dress 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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Prince Balthasar Carlos, sometimes anglicised to Charles, held a large number of significant positions as preparation for becoming the ruler of Spain. Sadly, he died before this happened. Despite his short life, we find many examples of his portrait within historic Spanish art and Velazquez alone produced a good number of portraits of him in his teens.

The charming scene in front of us here featured the prince as a young boy, out on a hunt. He poses with a rifle, whilst his pet dog lies patiently alongside. A tree is placed on the right hand side in order to provide a vertical balance to the overall piece, as well as framing the prince in the centre of the work. In the background we find rolling hills which sets the tone for the environment in which they are spending the day. There is also another dog on the right hand side who is purposely partly cropped out by the artist. The child clearly has been well trained in the use of guns in order to be able to join in this hunt, which was always an important moment for boys within society at this time. It was a sign of strength and bravery to compete in this sport, and was also a way of welcoming others who had visited these established families. Prince Balthasar Carlos' outfit is hardwearing but smart, not overly detailed though in order to avoid damage during their hunting exploits.

See also Prince Baltasar Carlos with a Dwarf and Portrait of Prince Balthasar Charles for examples of how Velazquez worked closely with the prince over a period of years. He was attentive to the needs of the family and would happily create portraits across different settings in order to promote the correct characteristics of the prince's personality. This was a way of controlling history, in some senses, with very little written documentation being taken at the time. One could change perceptions by carefully planning and executing portraits of key individuals such as this. This fashion would also lead to the best artists in Europe becoming highly sought after and increased a need to work within the portraiture genre in order to receive better paid commissions.

Prince Baltasar Carlos in Hunting Dress is yet another stunning example of the work of Diego Velazquez to be found in the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain. They have at least 60 paintings just from his career alone, making it the largest collection of this artist's oeuvre anywhere in the world, as far as we can tell. The institution itself specialises in Spanish and European art from around the period of the Renaissance up to around the 19th century, with one of the more recent artists in their collection being Joaquin Sorolla, who was a master of light who was connected in part to the Impressionist movement in France. There are several extraordinary artworks to be found within the Prado which many will consider to see must-sees when visiting, such as Las Meninas by Velázquez and also The Nude Maja and The Clothed Maja, the two of which are helpfully displayed next to each other to make visual comparisons far easier to do.