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Mazo's 'Queen Mariana of Spain in Mourning'

Paul Ackroyd, Dawson Carr and Marika Spring
Technical Bulletin Volume 26, 2005


Mazo’s portrait of Queen Mariana of Spain in Mourning, dated 1666, is one of two known signed paintings by the artist. Mazo’s career was overshadowed by his master and father-in-law, Velázquez, and his chief responsibility was to emulate Velázquez’s style in copies and adaptations of portraits mostly of Philip IV and his family. Problems over the attribution of paintings by Velázquez and the various members of his workshop frequently occur and the aim of the technical examination of this particular portrait was to record the differences in paint handling and technique between Mazo and his master.

The painting was examined using IR reflectography, x-radiography and cross-sections of paint samples were studied and compared to technical studies made of Velázquez’s paintings at the Prado, Madrid. Although the materials used by the two artists are similar, differences in paint handling are most noticeable in a comparison of the x-radiographs of Queen Mariana’s face in the National Gallery picture and in the Prado’s portrait of Queen Mariana by Velázquez, painted between 1652 and 1653. Mazo’s treatment of the face is laboured and the paint thicker and generally more opaque than Velázquez’s portrait of the queen. The article also gives a brief account of Mazo’s career and of the recent restoration treatment of the painting. 


attribution, Mazo, technical examination, Velázquez, x-radiograph 

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Mazo's 'Queen Mariana of Spain in Mourning', Paul Ackroyd, Dawson Carr and Marika Spring (PDF 7.5MB)

To cite this article we suggest using

Ackroyd, P., Carr, D., Spring, M. 'Mazo's "Queen Mariana of Spain in Mourning"'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 26, pp 43–55.

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