This depiction of Saint Rufina is widely considered by scholars to have been painted by Velázquez during the early years of the 1630s, slightly preceding or shortly following the Spanish master’s first trip to Italy in around 1630-31. The subject of Saint Rufina would have held particular significance for Velázquez as she was – and remains to this day – a patron saint of his native city of Seville, the very town in which he underwent his artistic training before leaving to work in the employ of Philip IV in Madrid in the summer of 1623.
Dr. Peter Cherry1 dates the painting to circa 1632-34 on the basis of its close stylistic and technical affinities with Velázquez’s painting of A Sybil of circa 1631, today in the Museo del Prado, Madrid (see figure 1).2 Both figures are painted with a powerful realism that suggests the models were taken ‘dal vivo’, a notion supported by the traditional identification of the Sybil as a portrait of Doña Juana Pacheco, Velázquez’s wife, first recorded as such in the inventory of the paintings belonging to Queen Isabel Farnese, consort of Philip V, at the Royal Palace of San Ildefonso at La Granja, where it is described as ‘original by the hand of Velázquez, representing his wife with a tablet in her hand.’ Both the Sybil and Saint Rufina are depicted near life-size, half and three-quarter length respectively, each wearing an almost identical headdress, with similar loose treatment to the hair and generous drapery configurations. Each figure is thinly painted against neutral light-earth backgrounds (a contrast from the dark brown ground employed by the artist during his Sevillian period), through which the weave of the canvas is seen, with some areas of ground left exposed (notably along the right margins of both paintings). The naturalistic and lively handling of the sitters’ hair is closely assimilated in both works, as also the pallid colouring to the skin tones of the faces and the soft modelling in these areas. The bold impasto to the right sleeve of Saint Rufina is echoed in the spirited touches to the white collar of the Sybil and Cherry points out that this loose facture so typical of Velázquez’s handling of the 1630s finds parallels in the cuffs of Velázquez’s Portrait of the Sculptor Juan Martínez Montañes (1635/36 - Madrid, Museo del Prado) and in the décolletage of his Woman with a Fan (circa 1635, London, Wallace Collection – see figure 2).3
Professor Alfonso Pérez Sánchez argues for a slightly earlier dating, circa 1629-30, just prior to the artist’s departure on his first Italian sojourn.4 He assigns the picture to this transitional moment in the artist’s career when his style had developed beyond the tenebrist mould of his Sevillian years (inspired by his contact with paintings in the Royal Collections), yet retains something of the spirit of his early production, as seen in the present work in the beautiful depiction of the earthenware pots and martyr’s palm, so evocative of his Sevillian bodegones. Pérez Sánchez also points to the artist’s similar characterisation of Saint Rufina, whom he describes as a ‘delicada muchacha, un tanto rústica’,5 to his figure types of the Virgin and Her companions in the artist’s earlier canvas (greatly damaged in the 1760s) of Saint Ildefonso Receiving the Chasuble from the Virgin, painted in around 1623, belonging to the Ayuntamiento de Sevilla, today deposited at the Museo de Bellas Artes.6 On grounds of technique and palette however he believes Saint Rufina relates most closely to the artist’s Portrait of Doña María, Queen of Hungary, 7 formerly believed to have been painted in Naples in 1630, however following research by Enriqueta Harris and John Elliot, now widely thought to have been executed in Madrid the preceding year.8 Pérez Sánchez believes Velázquez’s reversion to a Sevillian subject matter reflects the fact that the painting may have been intended for a Sevillian client (or protector) involved in the young artist’s successful introduction to the court, perhaps even the Conde Duque de Olivares himself, in whose family the painting is seemingly subsequently recorded, and who sat to Velázquez (amongst other occasions) during the mid-1620s, an impressive portrait today in the Hispanic Society of America, New York.9
A Critical History of the Painting and its Provenance
At the time of Saint Rufina’s last appearance on the market at auction in New York in 1999,10 the painting was considered by Cherry and Pérez Sánchez to be identifiable with a picture listed in an inventory of works belonging to the eminent collectors, Don Luis Méndez de Haro y Guzmán, 6th Marqués del Carpio (1598 – 1661), who succeeded his uncle Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimental, Conde-Duque de Olivares, as valido to Philip IV in 1643, and his son and heir Don Gaspar Méndez de Haro y Guzmán, 7th Marqués de Eliche y Carpio (1629 – 1687). The inventory describes a painting of the same description and almost identical dimensions to the present work and records it to be by the hand of Velázquez:
'Una pintura de Santa Rufina, de medio cuerpo, con palma y unas tazas en las manos, original de Diego Velázquez, de tres cuartas y media de alto y dos tercias y dos dedos de ancho.'
'A painting of Saint Rufina, half length, with a palm and pots in her hands, original by Diego Velázquez, of three-quarters and a half in height and two-thirds and two fingers in width.'
The record of this inventory is today known to us from an appendix to the catalogue of paintings belonging to Don Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart y Falcó, 10th Duque de Berwick and 17th Duque de Alba (1878 – 1953), published in 1911 by Angel M. de Barcia, curator of drawings at the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid.11 In the introduction to the appendix, Barcia states that his list is based on a copy (formerly held in the Alba archives but today of whereabouts unknown) of a ‘lista ó inventario’ (also now lost) of 708 paintings belonging to the 6th and 7th Marqueses del Carpio, which was found among the papers relating to the claim of the Duque de Berwick y Alba to the estate of Doña María Teresa Cayetana de Silva, 13th Duquesa de Alba, who died in 1802 without issue.12 Barcia’s list represents some 110 of (in his opinion) the most notable works from the Carpio inventory, in which the first entry describes Saint Rufina as an original by Velázquez. What is unclear from Barcia’s introduction is whether the ‘lista ó inventario’ from which the list in his appendix derives records exclusively paintings from the Carpio collections which subsequently entered the Alba collection, through the marriage of the daughter of the 7th Marqués del Carpio, Doña Catalina Méndez de Haro y Guzmán (1672 - 1733) to Francisco Alvarez de Toledo, who later became 10th Duque de Alba (1662 – 1739), or whether instead it was a fragmentary inventory pertaining to part of the collection of the Marqueses del Carpio, from which some – but by no means all – of the paintings subsequently passed into the Alba collection where they were recorded on the death of the 13th Duquesa de Alba in 1802. Certainly some of the works that can be identified from Barcia’s descriptions still remain in the Alba collection today and others are known to have been sold from the collection (either before or after the time of Barcia’s writing in 1911), notably for example, Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus (National Gallery, London), which appears to have been sold by the 13th Duchess of Alba to Don Manuel Godoy, Príncipe de la Paz (1767 - 1851), some time before 1800. Significantly however Barcia notes all of these cases (in his footnotes), thereby indicating that many of the other listed paintings were not present in the Alba collection in 1802 and indeed may never have entered into it, but rather were dispersed from the Carpio collections presumably some time before the marriage of Doña Catalina to the 10th Duque de Alba. This notion is supported by Dr. Peter Cherry’s observation13 that Saint Rufina is not mentioned either in the 1648 inventory drawn up on the death of the 6th Marqués del Carpio’s wife, Catalina Fernández de Córdoba, or indeed the post-mortem inventories of the 7th Marqués del Carpio, raising the possibility that the painting left the great Carpio collections (which between 1620 and 1687 rose to over 3,000 paintings) at an early date.14
Only recently significant additional provenance has come to light for Saint Rufina which documents the painting’s whereabouts during the late 18th century and early 19th centuries. Hitherto the work was first securely recorded during the 19th century following its arrival in England, when loaned by William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley and Viscount Ednam (1817 – 1885) to the National Exhibition of Works of Art at the Dudley Gallery, Leeds, in 1868. It now transpires that the painting was acquired by the Earl of Dudley from the 1867 sale of the illustrious collection of the Marqués de Salamanca, the sale catalogue for which (see figures 3 & 4) records that the painting had formerly belonged to the distinguished collector Don Sebastián Martínez.
Don Sebastián Martínez Pérez (1747 – 1800) was a successful merchant based in Cadiz, whose fortune was built through his fine cloths, silks and wine businesses (the latter traded under his Compañia de Vinos de Jerez de Martínez y C.a) and who was appointed to the position of Chief Treasurer of Spain in 1797. He was a close friend of Goya to whom he sat in Madrid in 1792, his striking portrait today hanging in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (see figure 5). An inventory drawn up following his death in 1800 records 746 paintings which were divided between his two surviving daughters Doña Catalina and Doña Josefa, who married Don Francisco Viola and Don Fernando Casado de Torres respectively. The present work appears to be recorded as among Don Sebastián’s chattels in Cadiz (as opposed to Madrid) and almost certainly hung in his principal residence at ‘N° 23, frente a la muralla’ (facing the harbour wall) on the corner of a street named Aduana Vieja, which has been identified by Professor Nigel Glendinning, to whom we are grateful for his assistance relating to the Martínez provenance, as Avenida Ramón de Carranza, 19, a building still believed to be in situ today (see figure 6), although in the Franco era the street appears to have been renamed Alameda M. Comillas.15 Santa Rufina is listed under the chattels passing to Don Sebastián’s daughter Catalina entitled ‘Hijuela de d.a Catalina Martinez. Pinturas de Cadiz’ where it is described as:16
‘Un id. [idem, in this case painting] que representa una Santa Justa tasada en mil y quinientos reales.’
As kindly pointed out by Professor Glendinning, although the inventory also lists ‘S.ta Justa y Sta Rufina, tasadas en ciento y cincuenta reales ... 150’, the present work can almost certainly be identified with the former description of a single painting valued at 1,500 reales, equivalent at the time to the not inconsiderable sum of 30 pounds sterling.17 Although the painting was inherited by Doña Catalina, it subsequently transferred into the family of her brother-in-law Don Fernando Casado de Torres (1756 - 1829), along with other important works including Goya’s portrait of Don Sebastián Martínez, perhaps as a result of the apparent intentions of her husband Don Francisco de Viola for her inheritance, which are alluded to by the contemporary art historian the Conde de Maule:18
‘Esta colección se ha dividido con la muerte de D. Sebastián Martínez. La mitad se llevó Casado de Torres y la otra mitad ha tocado a D. Francisco Viola que la ha vendido a los ingleses.’
'This collection has been divided with the death of D. Sebastián Martínez. Half was taken by Casado de Torres and the other half has gone to D. Francisco Viola, who has sold it to the English.'
The presence of the painting in the Casado de Torres collection is recorded in an inventory of goods belonging to Don Fernando Casado de Torres19, when valued (date unknown) by Don Juan de Rivera for 5,000 reales and described as ‘de Don Diego Velázquez, alto tres cuartas y media, ancho tres.’20 Saint Rufina subsequently appears to be have changed hands (date unknown) and entered into the collection of Don Celestino García Fernández, where it is valued by the painter, dealer and Director of the Prado, Don José de Madrazo y Agudo (1781 – 1859), at 10.000 reales, and described as ‘de alto 3 y media cuartas y de ancho 2 y media’ in 1844.21
After 1844 there is no further mention of the painting until its emergence in the sale of the Marqués de Salamanca in Paris in 1867. Don José Salamanca y Mayol (1811 – 1883) assembled one of the finest collections of paintings in 19th century Spain, which he displayed to the public from 1858 onwards in his Palacio de Recoletos in Madrid. A successful financier, he was appointed Minister of Finance in 1847 and created Marqués de Salamanca and 1st Conde de Llanos by Isabel II, Queen of Spain, in 1866. His collection was particularly well represented in the Spanish, Italian and Flemish schools and included important works by Mantegna (St. Mark, today Staedel Museum, Frankfurt), Rubens (Wrath of Achilles and Death of Achilles, both Courtauld Galleries, London) and Goya (The Bullfight, Metropolitan Museum, New York, Portrait of Manuel Garcia, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), as well as other significant paintings by Raphael, Correggio and Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Due to financial difficulties he was forced to sell much of his collection in two sales in Paris, the first through the commissaire priseur Charles Pillet, on 3-6th June 1867 (see figure 3), the second at Hôtel Drouot on 26-27th January 1875.
The highlights of the 1867 sale were the Marqués de Salamanca’s important holding of Spanish paintings, which according to an annotated copy of the 1867 sale catalogue22 were largely purchased by a certain ‘Cooke’ (presumably a dealer or agent) on behalf of the 1st Earl of Dudley. These paintings include Murillo’s celebrated series of canvases illustrating the story of The Prodigal Son (lots 13-17), which during the 20th century were in the collection of Sir Alfred and Lady Beit at Russborough, County Wicklow, until donated to the National Gallery of Ireland in 1987; Murillo’s painting of The Old Gypsy Woman (lot 21), today in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, which like the present work also formerly belonged to Sebastián Martínez;23 Murillo’s impressive large canvas representing The Death of Saint Clare (lot 12), subsequently sold by the Earl of Dudley to the Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, in 1894; Murillo’s Saint John the Baptist (lot 18), a version of the painting in the National Gallery, London; Francisco de Zurbarán’s painting of The Annunciation (lot 48), today in the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts;24 and the present painting of Saint Rufina (lot 35), which was correctly attributed to Velázquez, but erroneously identified as ‘Portrait de sainte Claire, enfant’ (see figure 4).
Following Saint Rufina’s acquisition by the 1st Earl of Dudley in 1867 it was included in the 1868 National Exhibition of Works of Art at Leeds, where it was exhibited with a revised attribution to Murillo, alongside Lord Dudley’s eight aforementioned works by Murillo, all of which had been acquired at the Salamanca sale. The paintings were once again exhibited together in 1871 at the Exhibition of the Works of the Old Masters at the Royal Academy, Burlington House, London.25
As pointed out by Pérez Sánchez, the erroneous attribution of Saint Rufina to Murillo when in the collection of the Earls of Dudley is plausibly explained by Velázquez’s reputation in England principally as a portrait painter, whilst Murillo was normally associated with religious paintings of the likes of Saint Rufina. Indeed, in the 1870 Royal Academy exhibition, the year preceding the exhibition of the present work at Burlington House, the Duke of Sutherland loaned his two canvases of Saints Justa and Rufina, possibly identifiable with the paintings today in the Meadows Museum, Dallas (see figures 7 & 8), which in overall conception and type can be compared to the present work, even though they were in fact painted some thirty years later.
Circumstantial evidence suggests that whilst in the collection of the Earls of Dudley, Saint Rufina in all probability hung at Dudley House, on the corner of Park Lane and the north-west corner of Upper Brook Street (see figure 9). The famous picture gallery (see figure 10) at Dudley House was described by Dr. Waagen in 1835.26 Photographs taken of the interior of Dudley House in 1890 by the photographers Bedford Lemere document large parts of the picture hang at that time, which includes all of the important Spanish paintings acquired by the 1st Earl of Dudley from the Salamanca sale in 1867. The Red Drawing Room (see figure 11) is hung exclusively with works by Murillo: on the left wall is the artist’s large canvas representing The Death of Saint Claire; on the far wall are four of the series of six paintings illustrating the story of The Prodigal Son (lower left is The Expulsion of the Prodigal Son, lower right is The Return of the Prodigal Son); and on a small easel in the corner of the room is a painting of Saint Anthony and the Christ Child (the only painting shown in the room not acquired from the Salamanca sale), a replica of Murillo’s painting today in the Hermitage, Saint Petersburg.27 In the Dining Room, in the centre of the far wall is Zurbarán’s painting of The Annunciation, flanked on the left by Murillo’s Old Gypsy Woman,28 and in the centre of the far wall in the Boudoir is Murillo’s painting of Saint John the Baptist.29 Given that, with the exception of Saint Rufina, the entire Murillo holdings in the Dudley Collection proceeding from the Salamanca sale are captured in the Bedford Lemere photographs, it seems highly likely that the Saint Rufina also hung in the house, perhaps most likely in the Red Drawing Room, a space seemingly exclusively decorated with the work of Murillo, an artist clearly highly favoured by the English aristocratic collector.
Saint Rufina remained in the collection of the Earls of Dudley from 1867 until sold by the 2nd Earl at auction at Christie’s in London on 17th July 1925, when it was acquired by Leggatt for 950 guineas, still attributed to Murillo. The preceding lot in the sale, also consigned by the 2nd Earl of Dudley, was Murillo’s painting of The Infant Saint John the Baptist which had been photographed in 1890 as hanging in the Boudoir at Dudley House and which shares a common provenance with Saint Rufina stretching back to its presence in the collection of Don Sebastián Martínez. In the event, Saint Rufina sold for 997-100 pounds, considerably more than the 178-100 pounds paid for The Infant Saint John the Baptist.
When Saint Rufina subsequently appeared at auction at Parke-Bernet in New York on 22nd April 1948, the sale catalogue lists as provenance that following the 1925 London sale the painting entered into the collection of the Duke of Westminster, whose principal London residence of Grosvenor House (now rebuilt) was situated only a few doors down from Dudley House on Park Lane. We are grateful to Ms. Eileen Simpson, archivist for the Grosvenor Estate, for establishing that no records exist within the Grosvenor archives that record Saint Rufina entering the collection of the Duke of Westminster in 1925, and furthermore for pointing out that such an acquisition would seem at odds with His Grace’s disposal of three works by Murillo at auction at Christie’s in London on 4th July 1924 (lots 21-23), two of which co-incidentally had also been exhibited along with Saint Rufina in the Burlington House exhibition of 1871, namely St. John and the Lamb and The Infant Christ Asleep (when loaned by the Marquess of Westminster).
With regard to the authorship of Saint Rufina, in 1930 the German art historian August Mayer dismissed the attribution to Murillo and instead proposed an alternative attribution to the nebulous figure of Velázquez’s pupil and son-in-law, Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo (Cuenca 1611 – 1667 Madrid), by whom only two signed paintings are known - the View of Zaragoza in the Museo del Prado, signed and dated 1647; and the Portrait of Queen Mariana of Spain in Mourning, in the National Gallery, London, signed and dated 1666.30 Mazo is believed to have entered into the studio of Velázquez shortly after the latter’s return from his first trip to Italy, in around 1631, and married his master’s daughter Francisca on 21st August 1633. Pérez Sánchez31 dismisses Mayer’s proposed attribution to Mazo, citing that the pupil’s style whilst always strongly indebted to Velázquez, is characterised by a looser and more cursory handling, which fails to attain the same degree of finish and sense of form than that achieved by his master. He points to the solidity of the figure of Saint Rufina and her convincing sense of three-dimensionality which only Velázquez is able to achieve through his eloquent brushwork which is both unrestrained but also purposeful in its definition of volume. He specifically draws attention to the difference in handling between Saint Rufina’s solidly modelled fingers to her hand in the foreground of the painting, with the exaggeratedly elongated fingers in Mazo’s Portrait of Queen Mariana of Spain in Mourning, which lack anything of the same sense of form or verisimilitude.
Some time after the 1925 sale in London, the painting of Saint Rufina found its way to America, where it is first recorded in the collection of Mr and Mrs Joseph J. Kerrigan in June 1931, when published in The International Studio.32 In 1931 Saint Rufina featured on the front cover of the June issue of The International Studio, accompanied by a note by the editor recording:
‘During his recent stay, Dr. Sánchez Cantón, Assistant Director of the Prado, made a study of the Painting reproduced as this month’s cover. He recognised the composition as that of a missing Velázquez, probably painted by Murillo, but prior to the revolution still hoped to have the picture in Spain to test the value of attributing it to Velázquez.’
Despite this attempt by Sánchez Cantón to restore the attribution to Velázquez however the painting was still catalogued as by Murillo when it was sold at auction at Parke-Bernet in New York in 1948, when consigned by Mrs Esther Slater of Oyster Bay, Long Island. The misattribution to Murillo, which first arose in 1868, was only finally resoundingly rejected when the painting was excluded from the Sevillian master’s oeuvre by the leading Murillo scholar Don Diego Angulo Iñiguez, who in his 1981 monograph lists the work as ‘sin relación alguna con Murillo.’ ('bears no relation to Murillo whatsoever'). 33
The attribution to Velázquez appears to have been finally restored only in the lead up to the emergence of Saint Rufina at the Christie's auction in New York in 1999. Dr. Peter Cherry wrote the entry for the painting in the auction catalogue and the attribution was also endorsed by Professor Alfonso Pérez Sánchez, who has since published the picture in a special edition of Archivo Español del Arte to mark the fourth centenary of the birth of the artist in 1599.34
Whilst the attribution of Saint Rufina to Velázquez is widely accepted by the majority of Velázquez scholars, Dr. Jonathan Brown however has cast some doubt over the attribution of a number of paintings widely considered to be by the artist, such as the Portrait of Philip IV at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Portrait of the Buffoon Calabacillas at the Cleveland Museum of Art, as well as the present work.35 Whilst Dr. Brown does not rule out the possibility that Saint Rufina may be by the hand of Velázquez, nor does he discount its possible authorship by Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo.
Saint Rufina and her sister Saint Justa are the patron saints of Seville, where their annual feast day is still celebrated on 19th July. They are believed to protect the city’s famous Cathedral and Giralda (bell tower), which according to legend they prevented from destruction in an earthquake in 1504. They were daughters of a humble potter living in Roman Seville (Hispalis) during the third century A.D. and sold their wares to support themselves and many of the city’s poor. During a pagan festival they refused to make offerings to an image of Venus that was processed past their house, thereby provoking the locals to shatter all of their wares, causing in turn for the sisters to destroy the image of Venus. They were brought before the Roman Governor Diogenianus who, unable to convince them to renounce their faith, had them tortured on a rack with iron hooks and subsequently starved and, in the case of Rufina, beheaded.
There existed a strong pictorial tradition for the iconography of Saints Justa and Rufina in Seville during the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1563-8 their images were painted on the Giralda of the cathedral by Luis de Vargas and they were traditionally depicted in devotional images flanking the Giralda, holding their martyrs’ palms, together with items of pottery, as seen, for example, in paintings by Miguel de Esquivel (see figure 12) and Ignacio de Ries, today in Seville Cathedral.36 In Baroque painting they are typically depicted near life size, often half or three-quarter length, as in the present work and in Murillo’s two canvases in the Meadows Museum, Dallas (see figures 7 & 8). As pointed out by Dr. Peter Cherry, there existed a tradition in Seville for a female sitter to be portrayed in the guise of her name saint or favourite saint, a work referred to as a 'retrato a lo divino' (a divine portrait), as exemplified by Francisco de Zurbarán’s full length portraits of Saints Justa and Rufina today in the Museo de Bilbao.37 Velázquez is also known on a number of occasions to have employed real models for his religious and historical paintings, such as the probable portrait of his wife Doña Juana Pacheco depicted in his painting of a Sybil (see figure 1) or the portrayal of a young girl for his painting of the Immaculate Conception (National Gallery, London).38 This practise by the artist, combined with the highly naturalistic physiognomy of the sitter and her humble attire in the present work, invite the intriguing question over her possible identity. Cherry considers it not implausible that the painting may reflect the likeness of one of Velázquez’s own daughters, Francesca and Ignacia. Like Saints Justa and Rufina they were sisters, also born two years apart, who were themselves true Sevillanas. Francisca was baptized in Seville on 18th May 1619 and is recorded as being fourteen years old when she married Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo in Madrid in 1633; whilst Ignacia was baptised in Seville on 1st January 1621. If Cherry’s proposed dating of circa 1632-34 for the present work is indeed correct the daughters would have been aged around fourteen and twelve at the time their father painted the present work, which judging by the youthful features of Saint Rufina would not seem to rule out their suitability as models for the depiction of their patron saint.
The oscillations in the identification of the saint depicted in the present work between Justa and Rufina can be accounted for by the fact that the identity of both sisters was indistinguishable and they both carried the same attributes. In almost every case the saint is listed as Justa (presumably because she was the elder of the two and therefore took precedence), excepting in the original Carpio inventory, where she is identified as Rufina, and as such remains so today.
Prior to the 1999 sale in New York, Saint Rufina underwent a thorough technical examination in Madrid.39 The results of this examination demonstrate many similarities with other works by Velázquez painted during the early 1630s.
Clear pentimenti can be seen to the left profile of the body of Saint Rufina, where the artist has altered the position of the figure during painting. Other more minor changes also exist to the right side of the figure, below the hand. In the upper right background abstract brush marks can be seen where the artist has wiped his brush during the course of painting, a practice frequently found in Velázquez’s work (although normally only visible with the assistance of infra-red reflectography), for example, in his painting of ‘Los Borrachos’, painted in 1629.40
The x-radiograph (see figure 13) of the painting shows a preparatory ground layer which is strongly defined in the photograph, from which a faint and somewhat blurred image of the saint emerges. The marks left by Velázquez’s palette knife in laying down the preparatory ground can be seen clearly. A number of indistinct white spots which can be seen are caused by grains of pigment remaining in the paint mixture when it was applied by the knife and brush during the painting of the work. Such distinctive characteristics of Velázquez’s technique contribute to the overall lack of clarity in the x-radiographic image of the painting.
The x-radiograph demonstrates a number of telling technical similarities with other paintings by Velázquez. The manner in which the light areas have been applied to model the head of Saint Rufina is very close to Velázquez’s technique in his painting of the Sibyl.41 The overall appearance of the image in the x-radiograph is also similar to Velázquez’s paintings of King Philip IV and the Princes dressed as huntsmen painted for the Torre de la Parada, particularly the portraits of the Cardinal-Infante Don Fernando and the Infante Baltasar Carlos (both Museo del Prado, Madrid).42 The pose of Saint Rufina is also comparable with that of these latter two sitters and is a common one in Velázquez’s work, in which the figure turns three-quarters to the front and wears a fixed, somewhat far-away gaze.
The palm which is held by Saint Rufina as a symbol of her martyrdom stands out strongly in the x-radiograph and has been painted over the drapery of the saint. The collar and cuff of her white shirt also registers strongly in the photographs and are animated passages of painting. These latter details of her costume have been painted in a loose and rapid manner, in which the white lead pigment has been directly applied with fine brush strokes. In the x-radiograph image, the ceramic plate and bowls which the saint carries, however, can barely be made out from the background.
The canvas support is closest to those used by the artist during the transitory period in his career and is similar to that used for his paintings of a Sibyl and the portrait of Doña María de Austria, Queen of Hungary.43 The canvas type is known as a ‘tafetán’ due to its weave, and the density of warp and weft is 11-12 threads per cm. This support has been relined with another canvas which has increased the size of the painting on all four sides and has left the mark of the old stretcher along the right and upper margins.
The canvas is primed with glue size, over which is laid a uniform layer of grey-brown preparatory ground. The preparation has been ground unevenly and in this respect is similar to that of the portrait of the Cardinal-Infante Dressed as Huntsman. It is made up of a mixture of iron oxide, organic black, white lead and calcite along with some traces of azurite blue and vermilion of mercury pigment. This preparatory ground forms a compact and hard layer. Velázquez then changed and lightened this original optically dark preparatory layer by the application of a layer of lead white. This process is again similar to that found in his Sibyl, although here the application of the light lead white layer was a partial one, whereas in the painting of Saint Rufina it covers the whole canvas. The colour is applied in a straightforward manner: a base layer established by the masses of lights and darks, followed by touches to define the volumes, tones and details, and to create an exciting play of brushstrokes on the picture surface. The quantities of lead white increase on the left side of the picture due to the angle of illumination of the figure.
The materials used in the present painting are the habitual ones in the work of Velázquez. The key to his skilled technique lies not in the pigments he used, which are the same as those normally used by artists of this period, but in the way these have been ground and used by the artist in the building up of the image, in the graphic eloquence of the brush and in the application of the final touches. The blue pigments are azurite, as are the green colours, and the tonality of these depends on the quantities of lead white mixed in with the former colour and the amounts of medium mixed with the latter. The green tonality of the cloak of Saint Rufina is in the green jerkins of his portraits of members of the royal family as huntsmen for the Torre de la Parada and in many of the later painting by the artist. In the dark tones there are greater quantities of calcite and this, along with the medium, gives transparency to the colour, which can clearly be seen in the infra-red image of the painting. The flesh tones are formed with a mixture of white lead, calcite and small quantities in the ruddy areas of the face. Vermilion is also used in the red tone of the drapery around the saint’s waist.
The purple colour of the drapery of Saint Rufina’s waist is made up of a mixture of azurite and lead white, over which has been applied a layer of organic red lake. Calcite is also present in all of these layers, in increasing quantities in the final layer. White lead pigment is used in larger quantities in the final touches which model the light areas of the drapery. Analysis of the white lead shows tin impurities in the pigment, which has also been found in Velázquez’s paintings from the early years of the 1630s, such as the portrait of Doña María de Austria, Queen of Hungary and the Views of the Villa Medici (both Museo del Prado, Madrid).44
In conclusion, the technical examination of the Saint Rufina demonstrates that the work is entirely consistent with other paintings produced by Velázquez during the early 1630s.
1 See P. Cherry, under Literature.
2 See J. López-Rey, Velázquez Catalogue Raisonné, Cologne 1996, vol. II, pp. 118-19, no. 49, reproduced.
3 See ibid., pp. 188-89, no. 76, reproduced, and pp. 79-80, no. 79, reproduced, respectively.
4 See A.E. Pérez Sánchez, under Literature.
5 See A.E. Pérez Sánchez, under Literature, bottom of p. 382.
6 See J. López-Rey, Velázquez Catalogue Raisonné, Cologne 1996, vol. II, pp. 52-53, no. 22, reproduced.
7 See ibid., pp. 114-15, no. 48, reproduced.
8 See E. Harris & J. Elliott, ‘Velázquez and the Queen of Hungary’, in Burlington Magazine, 1976, no. 118, pp. 24-26.
9 See J. López-Rey, op. cit., pp. 74-75, no. 32, reproduced.
10 See under Provenance.
11 See A.M. de Barcia, under Literature.
12 A.M. Barcia, see under Literature. His precise wording is: ‘entre algunos papeles relativos al pleito del Duque de Berwick con los herederos de la Duquesa de Alba D.a Maria Teresa Cayetana de Silva se encuentra copia de una lista ó inventario de las pinturas que pertenecieron á D. Luis Méndez de Haro y Guzmán…’
13 See P. Cherry, under Literature.
14 See M.B. Burke & P. Cherry, Collections of Paintings in Madrid, 1601 – 1755, 1997, part I, 437-53, document 45; and pp. 815-29, 830-77, documents 114-15, respectively.
15 For the identification of Martínez’s residence see N. Glendinning, ‘Los Contratiempos de Leandro Fernández de Moratín a la vuelta de Italia en 1796’, in Revista de Archivos, Bibliotecas y Museos, vol. LXXXII, no. 3, July – September 1979, pp. 575-82, under footnote no. 13, p. 578.
16 The inventory of the Martínez collection was discovered and analysed by María Pemán. See M. Pemán, ‘La colección artística de don Sebastián Martínez, el amigo de Goya, en Cádiz’, in Archivo Español del Arte, 51, 1978, pp. 53-62. A transcription of the inventory is in the Departamento de Historia del Arte ‘Diego Velázquez’ del C.S.I.C., Madrid, entitled Partición convencional de los bienes quedados por muerte del sr D. Sebastián Martínez, thesorero General del Reino, inscribed by Cayetano Rodríguez Villanueva y Morán, 1805, II, no. 5387, pp. 1233-1394, the entry for Santa Justa appears under no. 1316v.
17 We are grateful to Professor Nigel Glendinning for this computation, based on records from Almanak mercantil ó Guia de Comerciantes for 1803, that 1 peso (or 8 reales) was the equivalent of 38 13/32 pennies.
18 See Nicolás Cruiz y Bahamonde, Conde de Maule, Viaje de España, Francia e Italia, vol. XIII, chapter 4;
19 A scribal error on the cover of the folder containing the inventory in the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid (MS 18.630/40), has lead scholars (Baticle etc.) to record the inventory as pertaining to a 'Francisco' Casado de Torres. Only recently however Dr. Jesusa Vega, to whom we are grateful, has recently confirmed that the abbreviation on the manuscript itself (rather than the cover) reads 'Fdo.' (rather than Fco.'), thereby establishing that the inventory does relate to the brother-in-law of Doña Catalina Martínez, Don Fernando Casado de Torres.
20 See J. Ribalta, Inventaire de la Collection de tableaux Francisco Casado de Torres, Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, manuscript no. 18630, no. 40.
21 The copy of the 1867 sale catalogue at the National Art Library, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is annotated on the first page: ‘La plupart des tableaux importants Murillo -Velasquez ont été achetês pour l’angleterre par M. Cooke.’
22 The copy of the 1867 sale catalogue at the National Art Library, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is annotated on the first page: 'La plupart des tableaux importants Murillo - Velasquez ont été achetês pour l'angleterre par M. Cooke.'
23 Where it is described and admired by Alberto Ponz in his Viaje de España, vol. XVIII, 1, Madrid 1947 edition, pp. 1587-88.
24 See Zurbarán, exhibition catalogue, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 22 Sept. – 13 Dec. 1987 and Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, 14 Jan. – 11 April 1988, pp. 282-85, no. 58, reproduced.
25 In 1856 Isabel II, Queen of Spain, gave the fifth painting from the series of six scenes from the story of The Prodigan Son by Murillo to Pope Pio IX. Following the 1868 exhibition the Vatican gave the Earl of Dudley the final painting (which had never entered the Salamanca collection) in exchange for a Fra Angelico and a Bonifazio Veronese. The full set was thus exhibited at Burlington House in 1871.
26 See E. Walford, Old and New London, London 1878, vol. IV, pp. 359-75.
27 See D. Angulo Iñiguez, under Literature, vol. II, p. 237, no. 281, reproduced vol. III, plate 420.
28 See National Monuments Record (in the public archive of English Heritage), Bedford Lemere 10303, N.B.R. DD58/63, 8:IV:57, copy neg. BB70/3935.
29 See National Monuments Record (in the public archive of English Heritage), Bedford Lemere 10312, N.B.R. DD58/70, 8:IV:57, copy neg. BB70/3941.
30 For the former see Velázquez, exhibition catalogue, London, National Gallery, 18 October 2006 – 21 January 2007, pp. 204-05, reproduced figure 102; for the latter see C. Baker & T. Henry, The National Gallery Complete Illustrated Catalogue, London 1995, p. 443, reproduced.
31 See A.E. Pérez Sánchez, under Literature, p. 382.
32 See The International Studio, under Literature.
33 See D. Angulo Iñiguez, under Literature.
34 See A.E. Pérez Sánchez, under Literature.
35 See J. Brown, under Literature.
36 For the former see E. Valdivieso, Historia de la Pintura Sevillana, Seville 1992, p.153, reproduced; for the latter, see E. Valdivieso, Pintura Barroca Sevillana, Seville 2003, p. 32, reproduced figure 16.
37See E. Orozco Díaz,‘Retratos a lo divino’, in Temas del Barroco de Poesía y Pintura, 1947, pp. 31-5.
38 See J. López-Rey, Velázquez Catalogue Raisonné, Cologne 1996, pp. 30-31, no. 11, reproduced.
39 The information provided in the following technical analysis is closely based on that given in the 1999 sale catalogue.
40See J. López-Rey, Velázquez Catalogue Raisonné, Cologne 1996, vol. II, pp. 98-99, no. 41, reproduced.
41 See C. Garrido Pérez, Velázquez, Técnica y Evolución, Madrid, Museo del Prado, 1992, p. 198.
42 See ibid., p. 394 and p. 404 respectively.
43 See ibid., pp. 194-5.
44 See ibid., pp. 212-17.
Oil on canvas
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velásquez
Leeds, Dudley Gallery, National Exhibition of Works of Art, 1868, no. 2911, as Murillo (on loan from the Earl of Dudley);
London, Royal Academy, Exhibition of the Works of the Old Masters, 1871, no. 384, as Murillo (on loan from the Earl of Dudley);
New London, Lyman Allyn Museum, Spanish Paintings of the XVI to XX centuries, 7 March - 11 April 1948, no. 11, as Murillo;
Buenos Aires, Museo Municipal de Arte Hispano Americano, Exposición de Obras Maestras Siglo XII al XVII, May - July 1951, no. 23, as Murillo, Saint Justa;
Rome, Fondazione Memmo, Velázquez, 30 March - 30 June 2001, as attributed to Velázquez, but with the attribution to Velázquez fully endorsed by the exhibition curator Felipe Garín in an addenda on p. 182 of the catalogue.
77.2 by 64.6 cm.; 30 3/8 by 25 3/8 in. (with approx. 3 by 6 cm. tacking edge folded out)
Possibly recorded in an original fragmentary inventory of the collections of the 6th and 7th Marqueses del Carpio (now lost);
Possibly recorded in a transcription of the original Carpio inventory made in around 1802, formerly in the archives of the Duques de Alba (now lost);
Listed in an inventory drawn up following the death of Don Sebastián Martínez in 1800;
Listed in an inventory of the collection of Don Fernando Casado de Torres (date unknown);
Listed in an inventory of the collection of Don Celestino García Fernandez in 1844;
Catalogue des Tableaux Anciens...de M. Le Mis de Salamanca, auction catalogue, Charles Pillet, Paris, 3-6 June 1867, lot 35, p. 27;
National Exhibition of Works of Art, exhibition catalogue, Leeds 1868, p. 298, no. 2911, as hung in the Central (Dudley) Gallery;
Exhibition of the Works of the Old Masters, exhibition catalogue, London 1871, p. 34, no. 384, as hung in the Lecture Room;
W.B. Scott, Murillo and the Spanish School of Painting, 1873, p. 101, as Murillo;
C.B. Curtis, Velasquez and Murillo, 1883, p. 257, no. 361, as Murillo, St. Justa;
Masters in Art, October 1900, part X, I, p. 35, as Murillo;
Possibly A.M. de Barcia, Catálogo de la Colección de Pinturas del Excmo. Sr. Duque de Berwick y de Alba, 1911, p. 245, under appendix, as Velázquez, Saint Rufina;
A. Graves, A Century of Loan Exhibitions 1813 - 1912, London 1913, vol. II, p. 844, under 1868, no. 2911, and p. 845, under 1871, no. 384;
A.L. Mayer, 'El Arte español en el Extranjero. Tres Cuadros Interestantes Desconocidos', in Arte Español, 1930, p. 118;
The International Studio, June 1931, p. 6, illustrated on the front cover, as possibly by Velázquez;
A.L. Mayer, Velázquez, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Pictures and Drawings, 1936, p. 12, no. 47, as a lost work;
Lyra, September - October 1948, pp. 61-62, illustrated on the front cover;
Exposición de Obras Maestras Siglo XII al XVII, Colección Paula de Koenigsberg, exhibition catalogue, Buenos Aires, Museo Municipal de Arte Hispano Americano, May - July 1951, p. 19, cat. no. 23, reproduced plate XI, as Murillo, Saint Justa;
J.M. Pita Andrade, 'Mazo que poseyó El Séptimo Marqués Del Carpio', in Archivo Español de Arte, XXV, 1952, p. 223, note 1;
J.M. Pita Andrade, 'Notícias en Torno a Velázquez en el Archivo de la Casa de Alba', in Varia Velázquez, 1960, I, p. 413;
J. López-Rey, Velázquez, A Catalogue Raisonné of his Oeuvre, 1963, pp. 137-38, no. 51;
J. Camón Aznar, Velázquez, 1964, vol. I, p. 228, and vol. II, p. 996;
E. Benezit, Dictionaire des Peintres Sculpteurs Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 1966, vol. V, p. 282, as Murillo Santa Justa;
P.M. Bardi, L'opera completa di Velázquez, Milan 1969, p. 114;
D. Angulo Iñiguez, Murillo, Catálogo Crítico, 1981, vol. II, p. 518, no. 2.258, under 'Obras Discutibles', as Santa Justa;
P. Cherry, Spanish Old Master Paintings, Including Velázquez's Saint Rufina, auction catalogue, New York, Christie's, 29 January 1999, pp. 52-56, lot 206;
A.E. Pérez Sánchez, 'Novedades Velazqueñas', in Archivo Español de Arte, Madrid 1999, no. 287, pp. 372-90 (especially pp. 380-84), reproduced p. 381, figure 9;
J. Brown, 'Velázquez y lo velazqueño: los problemas de las atribuciones', in Boletín del Museo del Prado, vol. XVIII, no. 36, 2000, pp. 51-69 (especially pp. 59-67), reproduced p. 61, as Velázquez (?);
S. Salort & F. Garín, Velázquez, exhibition catalogue, Rome, Fondazione Memmo, 2001, pp. 182-85, reproduced, as attributed to Velázquez, but with the attribution to Velázquez fully endorsed by Felipe Garín in the addenda to p. 182.
Possibly Don Luis Méndez de Haro y Guzmán, 6th Marqués del Carpio (1598 - 1661), as Velázquez, Saint Rufina;
Possibly Don Gaspar Méndez de Haro y Guzmán, 7th Marqués de Eliche y Carpio (1629 - 1687), as Velázquez, Saint Rufina;
Don Sebastián Martínez (1747-1800), Cadiz, in whose posthumous inventory recorded by 1805, as Saint Justa (artist not given), valued at 1,500 reales;
By direct descent in 1800 to his daughter Doña Catalina Martínez; From whom acquired by, or by whom given to, her brother-in-law Don Fernando Casado de Torres, as Velázquez, Saint Justa, valued at 5.000 reales by Don Juan de Rivera (date unknown);
Don Celestino García Fernández, in whose collection recorded in an inventory of 1844, Saint Justa (not recorded if artist given), valued at 10.000 reales by Don José de Madrazo;
Don José de Salamanca y Mayol, Marqués de Salamanca and 1st Conde de Llanos (1811 - 1883);
By whom sold Paris, Charles Pillet (commissaire-priseur), 3-6 June 1867, lot 35, as Velázquez, Saint Clare, for 38.000 francs, to Cooke (on behalf of Lord Dudley);
In the collection of William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley and Viscount Ednam (1817 - 1885), by 1868, as Murillo, Saint Justa;
By direct descent to William Humble Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley and Viscount Ednam (1867 - 1932), as Murillo, Saint Justa;
His sale, 'The Property of The Right Hon. Viscount Ednam, M.C.', London, Christie's, 17 July 1925, lot 143, as B.E. Murillo, Saint Justa, for 950 guineas to Leggatt;
With Scott and Fowles, New York;
Mr and Mrs Joseph J. Kerrigan, by June 1931;
With Knoedler's, New York;
In the collection of Mrs Esther Slater, Oyster Bay, Long Island;
By whom sold New York, Parke-Bernet, 22 April 1948, lot 17, as Murillo, Saint Justa, for $8,000;
In the collection of Paula de Koenigsberg, Buenos Aires, by 1951;
Private collection, Brasil, from whence sold, 'The Property of a Private Collector', New York, Christie's, 29 January 1999, lot 206, for $8,912,500 (approx. £5,415,600), whence acquired by the present owner.