Colnaghi Foundation Journal 01 - Page 67

POMPEO LEONI / Portrait of a Knight of the Order of Alcántara or Calatrava Identified
POMPEO LEONI / Portrait of a Knight of the Order of Alcántara or Calatrava Identified
This portrait bust in antique fashion represents a man
down to the forearms. His face is elongated, he has a
beard and a long, downward-pointing moustache, and
wide, wrinkled forehead with a receding hairline and scant
hair. The pupils are drilled and kidney-shaped, the lines
of the eyebrows only lightly traced, the nose is straight
and the lips are shut, the lower one straight. The ears are
precisely modelled. The figure faces forward, his bearing
aristocratic. He wears a frill which emerges in a natural
way from under the breastplate and there are studded
straps on his shoulders. On the right of the cuirass are
traces of a lance-rest. By way of decoration there is a cord
around the neck and a narrow border with scrolls and
flower motifs, small bells and a flower corolla, all along the
pauldrons and the centre and sides of the cuirass, ending
in a semicircle in the lower part. On the left is a chiselled
cross of one of the seven Spanish military orders of
the time. This is the cross of the Order of Alcántara or
Calatrava; both are represented in the same way and only
differentiated by colour (green and red respectively).
The bust stands on a small base with semi-circular
grooves on the sides, and a four-sided pedestal, all made
from one block. A label with the number ‘735’ or ‘732’ is
attached to the front, probably taken from the inventory
of a previous collection. The back is hollow, with a small
piece sticking out in the centre to add firmness and take
the weight of the sculpture. The material in this back
part has a completely smooth finish.
Among the surviving works by Pompeo Leoni, the bust
of Luis Quijada should be placed for stylistic reasons
between the statue of Philip II at the Palace of Aranjuez,
the two busts of Philip II in the Prado, and the statue
of Juana de Austria at prayer. The full-length figure of
Philip II (167 x 65 x 40 cm) belonging to the Patrimonio
Nacional is in marble and was signed by Pompeo Leoni
in 1567 (fig. 11).18 It is in very poor condition having
been, amongst other things, exposed to the open air.
The details of the face have therefore lost quality but
evidence of the work of the two Leonis is still there. It
was sent from Italy being one of the works from the
first commission of Charles V and Mary of Hungary
in 1549. Philip II’s moustache points upwards, his beard
and hair are slightly wavy, and his age is similar to that
of Leoni’s full-length bronze statue in the Prado.19 The
marble statue corresponds to the bronze particularly in
the style of dress. The armour shows signs of its former
rich decoration, and a cape hangs behind.20
Fig. 11 / Pompeo Leoni,
Philip II, 1567, marble,
Madrid, Patrimonio
Fig. 12 / Pompeo Leoni
(attr.), Philip II (detail), ca.
1565, alabaster, Madrid,
Museo Nacional del Prado.
Fig. 13 / Pompeo Leoni
(attr.), Philip II, ca. 1565,
marble, Madrid, Museo de
Historia de Madrid.
Another portrait of Philip II in the Prado is executed
in alabaster and much smaller at 80 cm high (fig. 12).21
The bust is cut off at the forearms, in the same way
as Luis Quijada’s, though in this case the pedestal is
decorated with a large winged figurehead. The hair in
the portrait of Philip II is worked up more, though the
eyes are carved in the same way, with kidney-shaped
pupils. The lips are fuller but the ears in both portraits
are typical of the two Leonis, with intricate curved
lines. The moustache and beard are also similar in
each. The frill on the ruff is a little larger and less
tightly gathered. The decoration of the armour is
richer, as befits a prince or king, but executed in the
same way with soft, linear chiselling. The decorative
motifs, too, are very similar. This portrait of Philip
II is close to the portrait in polychromed silver at the
Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (see fig. 9). We
know from the inventory of 1609 that this bust was in
Pompeo Leoni’s workshop.


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