In both Spain and her New World colonies the tradition of painting the aristocracy has a long and rich history. Throughout the colonial era, the New World elite and hereditary nobles were granted European 'títulos de Castilla' (titles of Castilla). These titles were almost always granted in favor of illustrious aristocrats, especially those sending economic support back to the Spanish crown. This exceedingly rare 17th century oil on copper portrait represents one such member of that privileged class, a young aristocratic woman in a voluminous gown with floral embroidery and puffy 'virago' sleeves trimmed in white lace. Although the subject of this painting remains a mystery, the heraldic shield silhouetted by an eagle together with the small reliquary hanging from her waist may offer important clues.
Displayed in a superb 17th century hand carved and gilt-wood frame, likely original to the painting, with Latin inscription along the top face. Though mostly obfuscated, the Latin word 'EXCERCITVS' is still legible. 'EXCERCITVS' is a word often used in Roman numismatics together with 'GLORIA' for 'GLORIA EXERCITVS', or 'Glory of the Army'.
Dimensions: Frame measures 13.5 inches x 10.25 inches. Painting measures 11.5 inches x 8 inches.
Condition notes: in overall good condition. Minor surface abrasions, small areas of paint loss, minor soiling.
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