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Attributed to Miguel Jacinto Meléndez (1679-1734)

Maria Luisa Gabriela of Savoy, Queen Consort of Philip V of Spain (1688-1714) c. 1702-1714

Oil on canvas | 82.6 x 62.5 cm (support, canvas/panel/stretcher external) | RCIN 402597

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  • Maria Luisa Gabriela of Savoy (1688-1714) was the daughter of Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia, Duke of Savoy (1666-1732). In 1701, at the age of thirteen, she was married to Philip V (1683-1746), the first Bourbon King of Spain. A weak and ineffectual King, Maria Luisa held great influence over her husband and despite her youth, served as Regent between 1702 and 1704 while the King was absent fighting in the War of Spanish Succession. Maria Luisa died in 1714, aged only twenty five.

    This portrait was possibly painted by Philip V's court painter Miguel Jacinto Melendez (1679-1734) or his brother, Francisco Antonio Melendez (1682-1752). Born in Ovideo, Miguel Jacinto and his brother moved to Madrid at the end of the seventeenth century, where they studied in the workshop of José García Hidalgo, former disciple of Juan Carreño de Miranda, explaining Miguel Jacinto's adherence to the late Baroque style of the Madrid School during his early career.  Following the deaths of the last three great Baroque painters at the court of the Austrias; Juan Carreño de Miranda, Francisco Rizi and Francisco de Herrera, Miguel Jacinto consolidated his position as the leading portraitist of the court. He painted numerous portraits of Philip V and Queen Maria Luisa Gabriela and in 1712 was grated the title of honorary painter to the King.

    Following his artistic training in Madrid, Francisco Antonio Melendez moved to Italy, where he lived for many years. He returned to Spain in 1717 and quickly established himself as a miniaturist in the court of Philip V.

    This delicately painted portrait shows the influence of both the Italian and Spanish school of portraiture. The inclusion of the small spray of flowers held by the sitter indicates that the painting may have been intended as a marriage portrait, although the age of the sitter – who appears older than thirteen – calls this into question. Unless painted in Savoy before the marriage of Maria Luisa to Philip V, the painting is more likely to be by Miguel Jacinto Melendez, as Francisco Antonio was in Italy throughout the queen's reign.

    The work of the Melendez brothers represents the final echo of the great tradition of Spanish court portraiture before it was transformed by the arrival of French painters on the peninsula in the second half of the eighteenth century.


    Purchased by Queen Victoria from the collection King Louis Philippe, Christie's, 7 May 1853, Lot 139, for £17.

  • Medium and techniques

    Oil on canvas


    82.6 x 62.5 cm (support, canvas/panel/stretcher external)

    109.5 x 85.0 x 6.2 cm (frame, external)

  • Category
    Object type(s)
  • Alternative title(s)

    Marie Louise Gabrielle of Savoy, Queen Consort of Philip V of Spain (1688-1714)

    Queen Marie Louise Gabrielle of Savoy (1688-1714)

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