Juan Pantoja de La Cruz

Juan Pantoja de La Cruz - 1

  • Year of birth: 1553
  • Date of death: 26 Oct 1608
  • Country: Spain


Pantoja de La Cruz, Juan Spanish painter who was the official court portrait painter of kings Philip II and Philip III.

The future painter was born in 1553 in Valladolid. About the early years of his life there is very little documentary evidence, so there’s no reliable data about its origin, or even accurate attribution of most of his paintings.

It is believed that he moved to Madrid from Valladolid still a teenager. In the capital he became a student of the Spanish artist, court of master portrait painter, Alonso Sanchez Coello. According to the analysis of some local researchers, the young man could be a relative of this painter, which quite significantly explains the workshop so the young visitor of the young man.

Due to the fact that all the time in the Studio Coello de La Cruz almost didn’t sign their work, there are numerous difficulties with the attribution of works to him and his teacher. Basically, this was done in the past century according to the results of the preserved documentation and the analysis of the nature of the letter.

Only after the teacher died, Pantoja received independence and began to sign their own paintings. In 1598 he became the official court painter to king Philip III. From this point there is a detailed documentation of his work.

According to most researchers of creativity of the master, in his painting combined the manner of the image individuals inspired by Venetian artists and very thorough, careful, and even pedantic writing out the smallest of details typical of the Flemish school. Initially, naturally, the style of the work de La Cruz much like the author’s writing is his teacher, but over time he has developed an independent vision of the ceremonial portrait. It is believed that the best of the artist’s work is portraits of young infant. They are more soft and delicate, though full of lots of detail, like the other paintings of the master.

He did manage well person, but a special feature of his portraits was full detail. The paintings of the artist can literally count the small stitches of embroidery on clothing, every jewel and precious stone jewelry. On such careful works you can just study the history of the Spanish court fashion of the period. Every folds of fabric, embroidery, ribbon or lace are in place and are depicted with the greatest possible realism. The portrait becomes close pictures are a frozen moment of time.

In our time, there is evidence that part of the work of the artist and his teachers do not belong to their brush, and made by Italian artist Sofonisba Anguissola. She was a court painter to the Spanish king at the same time as with Pantoja Coelho. Despite some similarity of the style of painting and works in the same subjects, proof of belonging of paintings by a particular artist does not exist, as they were not personally signed by them.