Artus Quellinus the Elder
Antwerp 1609 - Antwerp 1668
Inventory number 701
During his time in the Low Countries, Marquis Luis de Benavides committed himself to the establishment of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, which saw the light of day in 1663. As a mark of gratitude and respect, this wonderful portrait bust of the Marquis was placed in the hall of honour of the city’s Guild of St Luke. It was crafted by Artus Quellinus the Elder, one of the most prominent Baroque sculptors in the Netherlands. Quellinus was frequently commissioned by churches and he also decorated the new city hall of Amsterdam, known today as the Royal Palace. Yet he was known best of all for his delicate, realistic portraiture. This portrait of Luis de Benavides Carillo, Marquis of Caracena, Governor of the Spanish Netherlands is a good example of his work. It exudes self-assuredness and power, and reflects the model’s status and rank. The Marquis was, first and foremost, a military man. Quellinus therefore emphasised his marshal’s baton, the mark of his authority, and worked out his armoured suit in fine detail.
A sophisticated man
Apart from highlighting his military rank, the bust also exudes an air of sophistication. The manicured hands and loose curly hair of the Marquis, and the embroidered collar over his shoulders, all refer to the high culture of the aristocracy to which he belonged.