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José Ximénez Donoso

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Equestrian Portrait of Don Juan José of Austria

by José Ximénez Donoso, circa 1660–1680

Brown ink and brown wash over black chalk, heightened with white gouache, squared in black chalk (recto); black chalk (verso)
23.2 × 21.3 cm (9 1/8 × 8 3/8 in)
A highly successful and ruthless general, Don Juan José of Austria suppressed an anti-Spanish uprising in Naples when he was only eighteen years old. This scene shows his triumphal entry following the suppression of the revolt. A young fisherman had led a protest against a new tax on fruit imposed by the aristocracy; the protest later turned into an insurrection aiming at slaughtering the nobility. As the general leads his cavalry into the city, trampling a child underfoot, he receives the homage of the population in the person of the bearded man kneeling to the left, who offers a platter containing three utensils, perhaps representing the keys of the city. José Ximénez Donoso copied the equestrian figure from a well-known etching by Jusepe de Ribera but added soldiers and spectators to the background. The artist drew the whole scene in black chalk but reinforced the forms of Don José and his horse, copied from the print, in pen and brown ink. The drawing is squared for transfer, implying that the composition was intended for a painting or perhaps a print.
J. Paul Getty Museum

17th century