Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of this Version


Publication Source

The Cambridge Companion to Velázquez

Start Page


Last Page



In 1640 Diego de Saavedra y Fajardo, one of the most influential seven­teenth-century Spanish writers, made a remarkably explicit reference to the effect that images of kings had upon their subjects as he recalled his own experience of viewing a royal portrait by Velazquez. In it Philip IV appeared "full of grace, august in his countenance ... [and] I was over­come with such respect, [that] I !melt down and lowered my eyes." The importance of the king's representation within a monarchy like Spain's, composed of a number of territories where the king was an "absent" ruler, is also evident in royal ceremonies celebrated in kingdoms distant from the monarchy's political center. In 1621, for example, the elites of the viceroyalty of Peru took oaths of loyalty to the new monarch, Philip IV, in a ceremony replete with symbols of obedience, loyalty, and adoration for the king. In the absence of the monarch himself, a portrait of Philip, framed in gold and "seated" on a throne, beneath a canopy, presided over the ceremony.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This material has been published in The Cambridge Companion to Velázquez edited by Suzanne Stratton-Pruitt. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge University Press.



Date Posted: 28 February 2017