Philip IV of Spain (ruled 1621 - 1665) was known as the 'Planet King', shining as brightly in the sphere of the arts as would Louis XIV the Sun King after him. The Buen Retiro Palace (though how largely destroyed) was a model for Versailles, but surpassed any palace ever built in Europe for the collection of paintings it contained, especially those commissioned in the 1630s from the finest painters in Europe at the time. These included the court painters Velazquez and Zurbaran (Spanish), the honorary court painter Rubens (Flemish), Claude, Poussin (French), Jan Both and Herman van Swaneveld (Dutch), and Domenichino, Lanfranco and other Italians. A much fascinating new material illustrating the pictorial. This magnificent catalogue contains a mouthwatering display of paintings by these masters, and decoration of the major focus of the Golden Age of Spanish painting, the new Buen Retiro Palace built by Philip IV. While many of these are very famous - but seen now in a new light - others have remained unidentified in the Prado's storerooms. Jonathan Brown and John Elliott are well-known for their landmark publication on the Buen Retiro Palace in Madrid.
In this catalogue accompanying a major exhibition at the Prado Museum in the summer of 2005, they summarize and add details to their earlier research. The other authors break new ground in their further exploration of the extraordinary collection of masterpieces, old and new, for the Buen Retiro.