Jean Ranc: Portrait of Philip V of Spain & Elisabeth Farnese (1723)

(Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain)


A set of 2 portraits by the French artist Jean Ranc (1674-1735). Depicted is king Philip V of Spain (1683 – 1746) and his second wife Elisabeth Farnese (1692 – 1766). Philip V was second son of Louis of France, the eldest son of king Louis XIV of France, better known as 'Le Grand Dauphin ') and the first member of the House of Bourbon to rule as king of Spain. Having no children to succeed him, king Charles II of Spain named the 16-year old Philip, a nephew of the French king Louis XIV, as his heir in his will. In theory Philip had renouced his claim to the French throne but in practice his uncle king Louis XIV stationed French troops in Spanish territories. As Philip was a direct relative of king Louis XIV of France, other European nations regarded a possible unification of France and Spain under one monarch in the posible future as a threat to European stability, jeopardising the balance of power. The resulting conflict escalated in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) which lasted for 13 years. At the end of the conflict the Spanish empire was divided amongst European nations but Philip kept the right to the Spanish crown. In a treaty it was declared that an union of the Spanish and French thrones was forbidden. These two paintings are official portraits of Philip and Elisabeth. Philip is shown wearing armor, a commander's staff, the insignia of the order of the Golden Fleece and the blue sash of the Order of the Holy Spirit, symbols of his Spanish dominion as heir to the House of Burgundy, and of his French origins. Paintings from 1723.

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