María Teresa (1638–1683), Infanta of Spain

Artist: Velázquez (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez) (Spanish, Seville 1599–1660 Madrid)

Date: 1651–54

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: Overall 13 1/2 x 15 3/4 in. (34.3 x 40 cm); original painted surface 12 7/8 x 15 1/8 in. (32.7 x 38.4 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: The Jules Bache Collection, 1949

Accession Number: 49.7.43


The daughter of King Philip IV of Spain, María Teresa became the presumptive heir to the throne upon the death of her brother in 1646. Princely suitors from around Europe were keen to have a portrait of the young infanta as she reached marriageable age. Originally bust length but subsequently cut down and then reenlarged at the bottom, this likeness of María Teresa wearing a wig with butterfly ribbons may have served as a model for assistants in Velázquez's workshop to copy as they met the demand for official portraits of the young princess. In 1660 the infanta secured an important political alliance by marrying Louis XIV, her first cousin, and becoming queen of France.