A rarity in France…and Navarre

On 25 September 2019, by Anne Foster and Claire Papon

Coming from the former collection of a private mansion in Toulouse, this panoramic view of Pamplona is one of the few works by Juan Bautista Martinez del Mazo to come on the French market.

Juan Bautista Martinez del Mazo (c. 1612-1667), View of Pamplona, oil on canvas, 65.5 x 132 cm.
Estimate: €90,000/120,000

This mid-17th century painting is surmounted by the arms of Pamplona: a lion under a crown alternating in the shield with those of Navarre, a province in northern Spain. This work echoes the view of Zaragoza now in the Prado Museum in Madrid, executed in 1646-1647 during a journey with Philip V's son, the Infante Baltasar Carlos (1629-1646), to whom Juan Bautista Martinez del Mazo had taught drawing and painting since 1643. After the prince's premature death, the artist obtained official duties and was commissioned by the king to paint views of Pamplona. These, together with the panorama of Zaragoza, were mentioned in 2015 in the catalogue for the Diego Vélasquez exhibition at the Grand Palais. And for good reason… Born in around 1610 in the province of Cuenca, in 1631 Martinez del Mazo entered the studio of the master of Spain's golden age, whose daughter Francisca he married two years later. He established himself as Vélasquez's leading and most loyal collaborator. For a long time, the master's works of lesser quality were attributed to Martinez, before his artistic identity was recognised. His palette was often livelier and his forms simplified, and he used more white highlights. While he is known for his portraits of grandees at the Spanish court, hunting scenes and copies of works by Flemish and Venetian painters, though not religious subjects, his views of cities are far rarer. So this picture could have considerable appeal on both sides of the Atlantic.

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