Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares

engraving of man in profile in circular frame, surrounded by seated angels, lion's skin, Medusa relief, owl, fruit

Paulus Pontius, after Diego Velázquez and Peter Paul Rubens
Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares, ca. 1626
Engraving on paper
23 3/4 × 17 1/8 in. (60.3 × 43.6 cm)
National Gallery of Art, Washington; Gift of the Estate of Leo Steinberg, 2011
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

 

Northern prints such as this provided the visual model for many of Murillo’s portraits and their framing devices. The portrait of the Count-Duke of Olivares, King Philip IV’s minister and one of the most powerful men in Spain, is based on an image by Velázquez, while the framing elements were designed by Rubens. Palm branches, torches, and trumpets herald the sitter’s fame. The spear, shield, and owl of Minerva (on the left) praise his wisdom, while the club and lion skin of Hercules (on the right), celebrate his strength. The unfinished state of this specific example of the engraving is particularly rare.