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Life of RODRIGO DE VILLANDRANDO


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  Spanish painter. He was a pupil and collaborator of Juan Pantoja de la Cruz (whose will he witnessed in 1608) and was a portrait painter at the court of Philip III, an honour that he shared with Bartolom Gonzlez and Pedro Antonio Vidal (fl. 1599-1617). In June 1621, in recognition of his merits, Philip IV nominated him Ugier de Cmara, a court position that Velzquez later obtained and that Eugenio Cajs asked for repeatedly without success. He held this post for only a short time, for in December 1622 it was noted that he had already died in Madrid, possibly at a young age, as in June of that year he had been admitted to the studio of Pedro Garca as an apprentice for six years.
  Few of his works survive. In the unpublished Inventorio del Alczar de Madrid (1636; Madrid, Biblioteca Palacio Real) six portraits of members of the royal family are mentioned as hanging in the Galera del Medioda. Their costumes, accessories and poses are precisely described, and they depicted Philip III, his queen Margaret of Austria (d. 1611), Philip III s son Philip with the Dwarf Solplillo and his wife Elizabeth of Bourbon, and two other of Philip III s children, the Infanta Dona Maria of Hungary and the Infante Cardenal Don Fernando. The portrait of Philip III is described as depicting the sitter with blackened weapons and with his hand, carrying a baton, over a globe. It can therefore be identified as the work in the convent of the Descalzas Reales in Madrid, which is similar to one (1617; Madrid, Prado) by Vidal. The portraits of Philip with the Dwarf Solplillo and his wife Elizabeth of Bourbon are both in the Prado, and the latter is shown in the white dress she wore in 1619 on her arrival in Lisbon on a visit to Portugal. Through the distinctive red-and-white tiling shown in them, the portraits of the Infanta Dona Maria of Hungary and the Infante Cardenal Don Fernando can be identified with those in the Monasterio de la Encarnacin in Madrid. As Philip IV became king on 21 March 1621, the whole series was probably painted c. 1620-21. There are two other signed portraits by Villandrando: Philip III Wearing Court Costume (Madrid, Convento Encarnacin) and Margaret of Austria (Madrid, Convent of the Descalzas Reales). All of Villandrando s portraits show an extreme fidelity to the representation of accessories. A detailed description of the attributes of royalty or particular rank makes the sitter s social position evident, but little attention is given to an accurate depiction of anatomy.
  
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Portrait of a Gentleman
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