Diego Velázquez is a renowned Spanish artist of the 17th century, who painted the full-length portrait of Nun Jerónima de la Fuente in 1620. The oil on canvas painting, measuring 160 x 110 cm, is displayed at the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Jerónima was the first abbess of the convent of Santa Clara de la Concepción in Manila and a Franciscan nun.
The artwork depicts an elderly figure sitting firmly on a chair with her eyes gazing downwards, indicating humility and grace. She wears a white habit gown with a veil draped over her head that falls onto her shoulders. Her hands clasp around the rosary beads while holding open pages from a Holy Book. Two cherubic angels hand down flowers from above in the painting’s background.
There are two slightly different versions of this powerful piece depicting Mother Jeronima De La Fuente done by Velázquez during his early career stage as court painter for King Philip IV. One can observe subtle differences between them like more subdued colors or expressions. It’s unknown how Velázquez gained knowledge of this important subject but has resulted in some scholars suggesting he may have heard about her writings or seen letters she penned during his Philippine visit.
This exceptional painting reflects both religious devotion and human qualities captured very skilfully by Diego Velázquez which conveys depth and meaning to any viewer that lays their eyes upon it throughout its showcase life span till now thus making it one of his most cherished works throughout history!