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March 2007

Juan Carreño de Miranda's Portrait of the Dwarf Michol

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2007;9(2):152-153. doi:10.1001/archfaci.9.2.152

Juan Carreno de Miranda (1614-1685) was one of the most versatile and successful painters of the Madrid School inSpain and one of a handful of artists working at the court of Carlos II at the close of the 17th century. Carreño de Miranda was born into a family of minor nobility in Avilés, Asturias, Spain, where his father worked as an art dealer. The young Carreño accompanied his father to Madrid in 1624 and soon after began his apprenticeship with the painter Pedro de las Cuevas. He later worked with Bartolomé Roman. Carreño's talent soon surpassed that of his masters, and he began his career as a religious painter for various religious institutions in the city, although none of the paintings from these years survive. In Madrid, Carreño was doubtless influenced by the works of Rubens and Van Dyck and, in particular, Titian's great Poesie series of mythological paintings in the royal collections. In Carreño's independent paintings of the 1640s and 1650s, he attempted to integrate the warm palette and rich tonality of the Venetian's style with the painterly fluidity of the Flemish masters. Carreño's 1654 painting of the Penitent Magdalene (Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid) showing the Magdalene seated before her grotto, her abundant hair falling between her breasts, derives from Titian's famous paintings of the Magdalene, a version of which was in the Royal Palace and Monastery of the Escorial, near Madrid. Carreño's most accomplished religious work was his large altar painting of the Mass of St. John of Matha (Museé du Louvre, Paris, France), which he executed in 1666 for the Trinitarian church in Pamplona, Spain. Carreño's painting records the moment when St John of Matha received a vision of an angel with his hands resting on the heads of 2 captives, inspiring him to establish the Trinitarian order for the redemption of Christian prisoners.Article