Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

This portrait of Philip III, king of Spain from 1598 to 1621, is an exact likeness of the monarch, from his actual height (about 5 ft. 4 in.) to his armor, which still exists in the royal collection. It is one of at least five versions of the portrait produced by court painter Juan Pantoja de la Cruz to stand in place of the king in palaces and government buildings. As you can see in the adjacent gallery and corridor, U.S. presidents such as George Washington and John Adams adopted this style of full-height portraiture for their images as elected officials, appropriating the powerful visual language of kingship.

As official “chamber painter” at the Spanish court, Pantoja was the only person allowed to take the likeness of the king from life. His original drawing from a sitting with the king was carefully transferred to various canvases by tracing through the paper with powdered white gypsum on the back, after which Pantoja and his studio assistants would paint the replica portraits. Replicas like this one were sent as gifts to foreign courts or taken to disseminate the image of the king throughout his colonies. They indicate the power invested in the royal body and the ways that art helped maintain this position of authority.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1922.73
People
Workshop of Pantoja de la Cruz, Spanish (1553 - 1608)
Title
Philip III of Spain
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
c. 1607-1608
Culture
Spanish
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/231806
Location
Level 2, Room 2210, West Arcade
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
203.84 x 99.7 cm (80 1/4 x 39 1/4 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Dr. Denman W. Ross
Accession Year
1922
Object Number
1922.73
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

The Annual Report of the President of Harvard University to the Overseers on the State of the University for the Academic Year 1922-1923, President and Fellows of Harvard College (Cambridge, 1923), p. 228

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), pp. 123, 372, repr. b/w cat. no. 820

Simon Schama, "Blue as Can Be: A Color Archive's Treasures Reveal a History of Pigment", The New Yorker (September 3, 2018), pp. 28-32, p. 31

Jo Kirby, "Scientific Examination of Works of Art in Museums and Galleries", The Burlington Magazine (December 2019), No. 161, pp. 1004-1017, pp. 1008, in fig. 4

Leigh Anne Miller, "A Second-generation Framing Conservator on Tinkering with Picasso, Van Gogh, and Titian Frames", Art in America (August 4, 2020), https://www.artnews.com/art-in-america/interviews/framing-conservator-picasso-van-gogh-titian-1202695819/, accessed August 24, 2020

Colleen Walsh, "Unraveling a Fine Arts Mystery", The Harvard Gazette (February 18, 2020), https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/02/harvard-art-museums-restores-king-philip-iii-portrait, accessed February 19, 2020

Exhibition History

32Q: 2210 West Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/04/2021 - 01/01/2050

Related Works

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu