In 1659, Diego Velázquez painted a portrait of Prince Felipe Prospero, the Prince of Asturias. The painting showcases the young prince’s delicate and wistful beauty that is emphasized by his red dress with silver embroidery and white pinafore. Currently housed in Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, this portrait is one of the two portraits made for Emperor Leopold I, their mother’s brother and Margarita’s future husband.
Despite his youthful splendor depicted in the painting, Prince Felipe Prospero had a tragic end. Inbreeding left him severely epileptic, and he died at just three years old from a violent seizure. The portrait effectively portrays a sense of fragility in Prince Felipe that further bolsters Velazquez’s mastery as an artist.
Diego Velázquez was regarded as one of the greatest Baroque painters in history due to his mastery of forms and ability to capture emotional complexities with painterly finesse. His contemporary art critics praised him for accurately integrating human emotion into artwork; thus it comes as no surprise that this delicate painting successfully captures Prince Felipe’s character through its depiction despite his young age when the artwork was created.