The Frick Collection
The King at War: Velázquez's Portrait of Philip IV
Special Exhibitions

The King at War: Velázquez's Portrait of Philip IV
October 26, 2010, through January 23, 2011

Chronology and Map

1599 Velázquez is born in Seville.
1605 Philip, Prince of Asturias, is born in Valladolid.
1621 Philip III dies; his son succeeds him as Philip IV.
1623 Velázquez travels to Madrid and is appointed court painter to the king.
1635 France declares war on Spain.
1640 Rebellions against Spain break out in Catalonia and Portugal.
1641 Louis XIII of France rules over Catalonia as count of Barcelona.
1643 Philip sends an army to the eastern border of the kingdom of Aragon to regain control of Catalonia.
1644 February King and court leave Madrid to be nearer the unfolding battle. The Spanish army lays siege to the citadel of Lérida.
  May 2 Philip IV reviews his troops, wearing the same costume seen in the Frick portrait.
  May 15 The idea of having the king’s portrait painted most likely takes shape as the Spaniards gain the upper hand against the French during the siege of Lérida. Philip IV waits for the rebels’ surrender from the nearby village of Fraga, which was hardly prepared to accommodate the courtiers.
  June 1 The house at which Velázquez lodges is transformed to allow him to paint: a window is cut into the wall of the small room that serves as the studio; the roof requires repairs, and dried rushes are scattered on the fl oor against the chilling damp.
  June or July The king sits for Velázquez on three different occasions, and the portrait is sent to Madrid once it is finished.
  Late July After months of siege, the city of Lérida negotiates the conditions for surrender.
  July 30 The conditions for the surrender are signed.
  August 8 Philip IV marches through Lérida.
  August 10 On learning of the surrender, the Catalans in Madrid hold a thanksgiving service, organized in advance, to celebrate the king’s entry into Lérida.
1660 Velázquez dies. No records have been found of the whereabouts of the painting after 1644, but it must have been in one of the royal residences in or around Madrid.
1665 Philip IV dies.
1748 The portrait is given by Ferdinand VI (1713–1759) to his brother, Philip, duke of Parma (1720–1765).
1910 The painting appears on the international art market. After descending for generations within the house of Bourbon-Parma and being moved among several castles and country houses, the painting is sold by Elias,
duke of Bourbon-Parma (1880–1959).
1911 Henry Clay Frick buys the portrait of King Philip IV of Spain at the staggering price of $475,000. This is Mr. Frick’s most expensive art purchase to that date.