This intense portrait depicts Fernando Niño de Guevara (1541–1609), who in 1596 was named cardinal and is dressed as such here. In 1599 he became Inquisitor General of Spain but resigned in 1602 to serve the rest of his life as Archbishop of Seville. The painting probably dates from the spring of 1600 when the cardinal was in Toledo with Philip III and members of the Madrid court. El Greco had lived in Venice and in the Farnese Palace in Rome, where Titian’s portraits (such as those of the Farnese Pope Paul III) would have revealed to the Greek painter the psychological possibilities of portraiture.
This celebrated picture—a landmark in the history of European portraiture—has become emblematic not only of El Greco but also of Spain and the Spanish Inquisition. Fernando Niño de Guevara, from a noble family of Toledo, rose to prominence under Philip II and was named cardinal in 1596. Here he wears a cardinal’s biretta (cap), mozzetta (cape), and rochet (the lace-trimmed garment). In April 1599 he was nominated as Inquisitor General by Philip III but served in that office for only two years, since the king’s favorite, the Duke of Lerma, was determined to place his own uncle in the cardinal’s position. To that end, evidently, Niño de Guevara was appointed Archbishop of Seville, which he remained until his death on January 8, 1609.
The portrait was probably painted in March and April 1600, when the cardinal (aged about 59) was in Toledo for several weeks. His visit began as part of the king and queen’s formal entry into the city on March 2; a few days later an auto-da-fé was held at which Philip III vowed to protect the Holy Office and forty-six alleged transgressors were assigned unfortunate fates. The cardinal paused at Toledo briefly in 1601 and went there on family business in 1604, but the time required and other considerations make it unlikely that the portrait was painted at either of those later dates.
Scholarly attention to the painting followed shortly upon its sale in 1904 from a noble collection in Madrid to the Museum’s great benefactors, Henry and Louisine Havemeyer. For the next eighty years the picture was discussed as a portrait of Niño de Guevara, an identification which must have descended with the work through eighteenth- and nineteenth-century collections. However, in articles of 1982 and 1984 Brown and Carr maintained that the sitter was not Niño de Guevara but his successor as Inquisitor General, Cardinal Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas (1546–1618). Apart from minor works that depend directly on the present picture, no other portrait of Niño de Guevara is known. Sandoval, by contrast, appears in an Italian engraving of 1599 and in a posthumous portrait of 1619 by El Greco’s former pupil, Luis Tristán. There is some resemblance between the two men, but Sandoval does not wear glasses in the print or the painting of 1619, and his beard and mustache differ. In the engraving, the fifty-three-year old Sandoval appears younger and fuller in the face than El Greco’s figure. His glance is direct and expression congenial, as one might expect of Lerma’s mild-mannered uncle, who was known for his charity, liberal reforms, and literary interests. At the time, glasses suggested erudition, and the cardinal’s type of "cord-spectacles" was modern and fashionable. However, no one would have worn glasses in a formal portrait unless they were distinctive of their actual appearance.
The identification of El Greco’s cardinal with Niño de Guevara is now widely accepted, and seems certain based on recent (2013–14) study of the picture’s early history and provenance. In 2003 Christiansen noted that the portrait may be traced back from the Oñate collection through the counts of Añover to Pedro Lasso de la Vega Niño y Guzmán (1559–1637), Count of Los Arcos, who was Niño de Guevara’s nephew and an ambitious collector of family portraits as well as portraits of important prelates and Spanish royalty. An inventory of the count’s collection, begun upon his son and successor’s death in 1632, records seven or eight paintings by El Greco, including the Museum’s View of Toledo and "A portrait of the Cardinal Don Fernando archbishop of Seville. Inquisitor general seated in a chair. [valued] at 100 ducados." Brown and Carr attempted to explain away this first-known record of the painting by noting that the artist is not named (which is actually the norm in Spanish collections throughout the century) and by suggesting that someone outside the family may have bought the picture. But the consistent use of simple fractions (e.g., 3/5) used to reduce the appraiser Maíno’s estimates shows that the supposed sale of the collection was not a public auction but a fair distribution of goods among family members, which became necessary when Pedro Lasso’s son predeceased him. The count "bought" the cardinal’s portrait from his own collection and left it to his grandson and namesake, the second count of Los Arcos (1622–1699). The line of descent from his collection to 1904 is unbroken.
There can be little doubt that Pedro Lasso not only owned the painting after the cardinal’s death in 1609 but commissioned it in the first place. The cardinal himself was not a collector and there is no trace of his portrait ever having been in Seville (for example, in his estate, the Cathedral, or the Archiepiscopal Palace). As majordomo to Queen Margarita and owner of the family palace in Toledo, the count would have played a major part in the state visit of 1600 and was likely his uncle’s eager host. On behalf of the family, Pedro Lasso maintained and amplified a large collection of portraits in their castle at Batres, between Toledo and Madrid. In addition to Spanish kings and queens, the subjects included great saints, recent popes, a recent Inquisitor General (Cardinal Diego de Espinosa; d. 1572), Saint Teresa of Ávila, other recent or living Spanish churchmen, and "kinsmen of the lords of this house," such as the famous poet Garcilaso de la Vega and the count’s mother (the cardinal’s sister), Aldonza Niño de Guevara. Inspired by Saint Teresa, she founded a convent of Discalced Carmelites on family property at Cuerva and served as its prioress from 1585 until her death in 1604. Of the many members of the family who served the Spanish church or crown in the 1500s and 1600s none rose so high as Fernando Niño de Guevara, and this must have occasioned his nephew’s turn to El Greco.
In style and expression El Greco’s painting is one of the most remarkable portraits ever painted in Spain, especially when one compares contemporary formal portraits by artists such as Juan Pantoja de la Cruz. It has often been noted that among the artist’s most important models were two superb portraits by Titian of Pope Paul III Farnese (both in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples), which appear to have inspired El Greco’s understanding of portraiture as characterization. One also finds in works by Titian such as the Charles V Seated, of 1548 (Alte Pinakothek, Munich), the use, as here, of a setting or background to expressive effect, which was intensified when translated into the stylized manner of Spanish court portraiture. Thus, the contrasting encounter of the silk brocade wall covering (not gilt leather) with the door and the unsettling recession of the tiled floor contributes to the impression of a dynamic and perhaps restless personality. The cardinal sits still but tensely, with slight levitation implied by dense shadow beneath the chair and drapery sweeping to the right. The difference between the hands is complemented by the forms around them, with the rectilinear section suggesting stability and the brocade agitation. At least one scholar has seen the hands (which for some viewers will recall Van Dyck and Grünewald) as evoking the alternatives of predatory discipline and the possibility of pardon. The accuracy of such speculations seems immaterial compared with the fact that El Greco’s treatment of the sitter gives rise to them.
It has occasionally been wondered whether Velázquez may have had the cardinal’s portrait in mind when, in 1650, he painted his extraordinary portrait of Innocent X (Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome). This would have been unlikely if the El Greco was at Batres. However, Pedro Lasso also kept a select group of portraits (mostly of royalty and important family members) in his house in Madrid, and it is only there that the present picture was recorded during the seventeenth century. This is unsurprising, since the collection at Batres was mainly for the family alone, whereas the portraits in Madrid not only embodied family pride but also would have announced to visitors from the court and other noble houses that the counts of Los Arcos had a distinguished history and considerable influence.
[Walter Liedtke 2014]
Inscription: Signed (lower center, on paper, in Greek): Domenikos Theotokopoulos / made this
the sitter's nephew, Pedro Lasso de la Vega Niño y Guzmán, 1st Conde de los Arcos, Señor de Cuerva, Batres y Añover de Tormes (possibly from about 1600–d. 1637; inv., April 15, 1632, as "Un retrato del Cardl D. Ferdo Niño, arcobispo de Sevilla. Inquisidor genl sentado en silla. [valued] en cien duc[ad]os"); his grandson, Pedro Lasso de la Vega, 2nd Conde de Arcos, 4th Conde de Añover (1637–d. 1699); his son, Joaquín Lasso de la Vega, Figueroa, Guzmán y Niño, 3rd Conde de los Arcos (1699–d. 1709); his sister, Francisca Lasso de la Vega, 4th Condesa de los Arcos (1709–d. 1711); Josefa Lasso de la Vega, 5th Condesa de los Arcos (1711–d. 1738); by descent to Sebastián de Guzmán y Spínola, 5th Marqués de Montealegre, 6th Conde de los Arcos (until d. 1757); his son, José de Guzmán y Guevara, 6th Marqués de Montealegre (1757–d. 1781); by descent through the Condes de Oñate to Carlos Luis de Guzmán y de la Cerda, 21st Duque de Nájera (until d. 1880); his widow, María Josefa de la Cerda, Condessa viuda de Oñate, Oñate Palace, Madrid (until d. 1884; inv., 1884, no. 747); Carlos Luis's brother, José Raniero de Guzmán y de la Cerda, 16th Conde de Oñate, Oñate Palace 1884–d. 1891); by descent to Juan de Zavala y de Guzmán, 25th Duque de Nájera, Oñate Palace (1901–4; sold for 200,000 pesetas to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1904; sold for Fr 225,000 to Havemeyer]; Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1904–his d. 1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907–d. 1929)
Madrid. Museo Nacional de Pintura y Escultura. "Exposición de las obras de Domenico Theotocopuli, llamado El Greco," 1902, no. 13 (as Cardinal D. Fernando Niño de Guevara, lent by Sr. Conde de Paredes de Nava).
New York. M. Knoedler & Co. "Loan Exhibition of Paintings by El Greco and Goya," April 2–20, 1912, no. 1.
New York. M. Knoedler & Co. "Loan Exhibition of Paintings by El Greco and Goya," January 1915, no. 2.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 11–November 2, 1930, no. 67 [2nd ed., 1958, no. 192].
Art Institute of Chicago. "A Century of Progress," June 1–November 1, 1933, no. 170.
Brooklyn Museum. "Exhibition of Spanish Painting," October 4–31, 1935, no. 41.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art Treasures of the Metropolitan," November 7, 1952–September 7, 1953, no. 123.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Masterpieces of Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 16–November 1, 1970, unnumbered cat. (p. 53).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A304.
Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado. "Felipe II, un monarca y su época: un príncipe del renacimiento," October 13, 1998–January 10, 1999, no. 138.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "El Greco," October 7, 2003–January 11, 2004, no. 80.
London. National Gallery. "El Greco," February 11–May 23, 2004, no. 80.
Toledo. Museo de Santa Cruz. "The Greek of Toledo," March 14–June 14, 2014, no. 27.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "El Greco in New York," November 4, 2014–February 1, 2015, no catalogue.
Memoria de la almoneda de los bienes del Conde de los Arcos (y Añover) R.° Lasso de la Vega. April 15, 1632 [Instituto de Valencia de Don Juan, Señorio de Batres, Ms. 19.429; see Brown and Carr 1984; Getty no. E-4], lists a portrait of Cardinal don Fernando Niño de Guevara.
Miguel Utrillo. "Le Greco." L'art et les artistes 1 (April–September 1905), p. 202, ill., as the Inquisitor, Cardinal Niño de Guevara.
Paul Lafond. "Domenikos Theotokopuli, dit Le Greco." Les arts 5 (October 1906), pp. 21, 28, ill.
Ludwig Zottmann. "Zur Kunst von 'El Greco'." Die christliche Kunst 3 (1906–07), p. 233.
Léonce Bénédite. "Les collections d'art aux États-Unis." Revue de l'art ancien et moderne 23 (January–June 1908), p. 164, ill. opposite p. 164.
Manuel B. Cossío. El Greco. Madrid, 1908, vol. 1, pp. 420–24, 595; vol.2, pl. 119 bis (detail), observes that it must have been painted between 1594 and 1604, but was probably made closer to the earlier date; states that a poor copy hangs opposite the Cardinal's tomb in the chapel founded by his ancestors in the Convent of San Pablo Ermitaño, Toledo; says that the MMA portrait perhaps hung in the same chapel before it was withdrawn by the Cardinal's descendants, the Counts of Añover de Tormes, to the Oñate Palace; considers a bust-portrait of the Cardinal in the Kahn collection, Paris [now Reinhart Collection, Winterthur] a replica.
Masters in Art: El Greco 7 (1908), pp. 271, 295, ill., pl. 8, criticizes the execution of the left hand as "not wholly successful".
Albert F. Calvert and C. Gasquoine Hartley. El Greco: An Account of His Life and Works. London, 1909, p. 144, pls. 54, 55 (overall and detail), as don Fernando Neño [sic] de Guevara; claims Velázquez's portrait of Innocent X (Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome) was influenced by this painting, but questions whether he could have seen it.
Manuel B. Cossío. El Greco. Barcelona, [191?], p. 27, dates it to the period immediately following the "Burial of the Count of Orgaz" [Santo Tomé, Toledo], between 1590 and 1603.
Maurice Barrès and Paul Lafond. Le Greco. Paris, , pp. 167–68, 89, ill., as formerly in Madrid in the collection of the Count of Paredes de Nava; mention the bust portrait as possibly a study.
August L. Mayer. El Greco: Eine Enführung in das Leben und Wirken des Domenico Theotocopuli gennant El Greco. Munich, 1911, pp. 42, 64–66, 81, ill., dates it 1596–97 and calls the bust portrait a study for our painting; sees the influence of this painting in Velázquez's papal portrait [of Innocent X].
William Bode. "More Spurious Pictures Abroad Than in America." New York Times (December 31, 1911), p. SM4.
Julius Meier-Graefe. "Das Barock Grecos." Kunst und Künstler 10 (1912), pp. 85–86, 92–93, ill. (overall and detail).
N. Sentenach. "Los grandes retratistas en España III, Del Greco á Velázquez." Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Excursiones 20 (1912), pp. 179–80, dates it about 1598.
Paul Lafond. Le Greco. Paris, 1913, pp. 88–89, viii, pl. 21, suggests the bust portrait was a first study made from life.
Hugo Kehrer. Die Kunst des Greco. Munich, 1914, pp. 53–54, pl. 35, dates it after 1596 and dates the bust portrait several years later.
A. de Beruete y Moret. El Greco pintor de retratos: Conferencia dada en Toledo. Madrid, 1914, pp. 18–19, compares our painting to Velázquez's portait of Innocent X noting that, "while in Velázquez all is serene, thought out, classic in every sense of the word, in the work of El Greco that which most attracts the attention is the lack of tranquility, the movement, the negation of all rules".
Loan Exhibition of Paintings by El Greco and Goya. Exh. cat., New York M. Knoedler & Co. New York, 1915, pp. 8–9, no. 2, date it "1596 or 1597".
August L. Mayer. "Paintings by El Greco in America, Part One." Art in America 4 (August 1916), pp. 245, 248.
Max Dvorák. "Über Greco und den Manierismus." Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 1 (1921–22), pp. 35, 39–40, ill. (overall and detail).
August L. Mayer. Geschichte der spanischen Malerei. Leipzig, 1922, p. 255.
F. J. Sánchez Cantón. Catálogo de las pinturas del Instituto de Valencia de Don Juan. Madrid, 1923, pp. 179, 239, publishes the 1884 inventory of paintings in the possession of the Condesa viuda de Oñate, including this portrait as no. 747, "Un cuadro: Retrato del Cardenal Guevara".
A. de Beruete y Moret. Conferencias de arte. Madrid, 1924, pp. 119–20, ill. opp. p. 118.
Walter W.S. Cook. "Spanish and French Paintings in the Lehman Collection." Art Bulletin 7 (December 1924), p. 54, notes a resemblance between the sitter in this portrait and the figure of St. Jerome [Lehman Collection].
Elizabeth du Gué Trapier. El Greco. New York, 1925, pp. 52–54, 156, pl. 12.
Julius Meier-Graefe. The Spanish Journey. London, 1926, pp. 322–23, recounts the purchase of this picture by Durand-Ruel for 200,000 pesetas.
August L. Mayer. Dominico Theotocopuli, El Greco. Munich, 1926, pp. xxiv, xxxiii–iv, 52, no. 331, pls. 79, 80 (overall and detail), dates it 1596–1600 and considers the bust portrait a study and not a replica; mentions an old copy of poor quality in the burial chapel of San Pablo Ermitaño, Toledo.
Hugo Kehrer. Spanische Kunst von Greco bis Goya. Munich, 1926, pp. 91–93, 95, ill., quotes a contemporary poem about Cardinal Niño de Guevara by José de Valdivielso.
Malcolm Vaughan. "Portraits by El Greco in America." International Studio 86 (March 1927), p. 24, describes it as the supreme example of El Greco's "fourth period (1594–1600)".
Emilio H. del Villar. El Greco en España. Madrid, 1928, pp. 147–48, pl. 35.
"Die Sammlung Havemeyer im Metropolitan-Museum." Pantheon 5 (May 1930), p. 210, observes that since the Cardinal came to Toledo from Rome in 1600 and left Toledo for Seville in 1601, the portrait must date between these two years.
Frank Rutter. El Greco (1541–1614). New York, , pp. 106–7, no. 133.
Frank Gray Griswold. El Greco. 1930, unpaginated, pl. 12, dates it 1590–1600.
Frank Jewett Mather Jr. "The Havemeyer Pictures." The Arts 16 (March 1930), pp. 458–59, 480, ill.
H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, pp. 50–51, ill.
August L. Mayer. El Greco. Berlin, 1931, pp. 130–31, 133, fig. 102.
M. Seuphor. Greco: Considérations sur sa vie et sur quelques unes de ses oeuvres. Paris, 1931, p. 12, dates it 1598.
A Century of Progress: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture Lent from American Collections. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1933, pp. 26–27, no. 170, pl. 26.
Raymond Escholier. Greco. Paris, 1937, p. 169, ill., dates it about 1600.
M. Legendre and A. Hartmann. Domenikos Theotokopoulos, called El Greco. Paris, 1937, pp. 49, 504, ill., date it 1596–1600.
Ludwig Goldscheider. El Greco. London, 1938, p. 26, colorpl. 184, dates it 1600–01.
Hans Vollmer inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Hans Vollmer. Vol. 33, Leipzig, 1939, p. 7, lists it with examples of the transition to the artist's late style.
Hugo Kehrer. Greco als Gestalt des Manierismus. Munich, 1939, p. 81, fig. 17, dates it about 1600.
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, pp. 227–29, ill., mistakenly reports that it originally hung opposite the cardinal's tomb in the Convent of San Pablo, Toledo; calls the bust-length portrait at Winterthur a replica made after it.
Kurt Pfister. El Greco. Zürich, 1941, pp. 50, 54, ill., dates it about 1600.
Harry B. Wehle. "A Great Velázquez." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 1 (November 1942), pp. 121–22, ill.
Ignacio de Beryes. Domenicos Theotocopoulos, El Greco. Barcelona, [1944?], p. 19, as from his "second Toledan period".
Arturo Serrano Plaja. El Greco. Buenos Aires, 1945, pp. 29–32, pl. 38, dates it 1600–01.
Walter W.S. Cook. "Spanish Paintings in The National Gallery of Art –1– El Greco to Goya." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 28 (August 1945), p. 75.
Jean Babelon. El Greco. Paris, 1946, pp. 32–33, 37, pl. 62, dates it 1596–1600.
Millia Davenport. The Book of Costume. New York, 1948, vol. 1, p. 464, no. 1228, ill.
Anthony Bertram. El Greco. London, 1949, pl. 39, dates it 1600–01.
Leo Bronstein. El Greco. New York, 1950, pp. 84–85, ill. (color).
José Camón Aznar. Dominico Greco. Madrid, 1950, vol. 2, pp. 1159–63, 1166, 1395, no. 762, ill. (overall and details), as presumably painted in 1600; observes that the Winterthur portrait may be a study although Cossío [Ref. 1908] considers it a replica.
Art Treasures of the Metropolitan: A Selection from the European and Asiatic Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1952, p. 230, no. 123, colorpl. 123.
John F. Matthews. El Greco (Domenicos Theotocopoulos), (1541–1614). New York, 1953, unpaginated, pl. 23, dates it about 1600; notes it is "privately valued at $200,000".
Max Dvorák. "El Greco and Mannerism." Magazine of Art 46 (January 1953), p. 21.
Raymond Cogniat. Histoire de la peinture. Vol. 1, [Paris], 1954, vol. 1, p. 130, ill. (color).
Ludwig Goldscheider. El Greco: Paintings, Drawings and Sculptures. 3rd ed. London, 1954, p. 13, ill. (color, frontispiece), dates it about 1598.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), pp. 4, 30, ill.
Manuel B. Cossío with the assistance of Natalia Cossío de Jiménez inDominico Theotocopuli, El Greco. Oxford, 1955, pp. 19, 39 n. 48, no. 21, pl. 21, as from his "later period".
Antonina Vallentin. El Greco. Garden City, N.Y., 1955, pp. 209–11, pl. 67.
Paul Guinard. El Greco: Biographical and Critical Study. [Lausanne?], , pp. 66–69, ill. (color, overall and details), dates it about 1600, the year Niño de Guevara visited Toledo as grand inquisitor.
G. Marañón. El Greco y Toledo. Madrid, 1956, pp. 135–36, 200 n. 193, fig. 45, dates it after 1600.
Halldor Soehner. "Greco in Spanien." Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, 3rd ser., 8 (1957), pp. 171, 173, 177, 180, ill. (overall and detail), dates it 1605–07.
Juan Antonio Gaya Nuño. La pintura española fuera de España. Madrid, 1958, p. 198, no. 1334, dates it 1596–1601; ascribes the copy made for the Condes de Paredes de Nava to Luis Tristán.
Martin Soria in George Kubler and Martin Soria. Art and Architecture in Spain and Portugal and their American Dominions, 1500 to 1800. Baltimore, 1959, pp. 223–24, states that a copy of this portrait was made by Luis Tristán in 1612 (now Museo y Casa del Greco, Toledo).
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "El Greco's 'Vision of Saint John'." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 17 (June 1959), pp. 241, 258–59, ill.
Karl Ipser. El Greco, der Maler des christlichen Weltbildes. Braunschweig, 1960, pp. 194–96, ill., dates it about 1600; agrees with Kehrer [see Ref. 1914] in dating the bust portrait several years later.
Hugo Kehrer. Greco in Toledo: Höhe und Vollendung, 1577–1614. Stuttgart, 1960, pp. 34–35, dates it to 1600.
Martin S. Soria. "Velázquez and Tristán." Varia velazqueña: Homenaje a Velázquez en el III centenario de su muerte, 1660–1960. Ed. Antonio Gallego y Burín. Madrid, 1960, vol. 1, pp. 457, 462.
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961, pp. 97, 132, 138, 141, 152–53, 155–58, 178–79, notes that this picture was found for them by Mary Cassat and that negotiations for its purchase took four years.
Pál Kelemen. El Greco Revisited: Candia, Venice, Toledo. New York, 1961, pp. 80–81, pl. 57C.
Tatjana Kapterewa. Velázquez und die spanische Porträtmalerei. German ed. [first published in Russian, 1956]. Leipzig, 1961, p. 27, colorpl. 15.
Harold E. Wethey. El Greco and His School. Princeton, 1962, vol. 1, 58, 62–63, fig. 334; vol. 2, pp. 95, 205, no. 152, dates it about 1600 and notes that it is only a "supposition" that it originally hung in the church of San Pablo in the place of the poor copy that was seen there in the early twentieth century; observes that "Soria's  attribution of this lost copy to Tristán in the year 1612 and his location of it in the Seminary in Toledo are both erroneous"; further notes that neither Parro (1857), nor Ceán Bermúdez (1800) mentions the Cardinal's portrait in their descriptions of the church, and since they "surely would have done so had the Metropolitan canvas been there at the time, thinks "the nuns must have had it within the convent"; catalogues the bust-portrait as a copy.
Arthur Linksz. An Ophthalmologist Looks at Art and Artists. Malta, 1965, pp. 8, 10, fig. 6, [reprinted from "Proceedings of the American–Hungarian Medical Association," vol. 1, 1965], describes it as one of the earliest known examples of a person who wears spectacles "for the purpose of seeing," rather than for reading.
Denys Sutton. "The Discerning Eye of Louisine Havemeyer." Apollo 82 (September 1965), p. 231.
Arnold Hauser. Mannerism: The Crisis of the Renaissance and the Origin of Modern Art. London, 1965, vol. 1, p. 268; vol. 2, pl. 297, dates it about 1600.
Ellis Waterhouse. El Greco. [London], 1965, pp. 5–6, 8, no. 13, colorpl. 13, dates it about 1600–1601.
Georg J. Reimann. El Greco. Leipzig, 1966, pp. 63–65, pl. 63, dates it about 1600; calls the bust portrait a study.
Tiziana Frati. L'opera completa del Greco. Milan, 1969, p. 111, no. 110a, ill., colorpl. 22, dates it about 1596–1600 and calls the bust portrait a replica.
Enrique Lafuente Ferrari. El Greco: The Expressionism of His Final Years. New York, 1969, pp. 69–70, 115, 132, ill. (color), dates it about 1600.
Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, p. 208 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].
Edith A. Standen inMasterpieces of Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. New York, , p. 53, ill. (color).
Manuel B. Cossío. El Greco. Ed. Natalia Cossío de Jiménez. definitive ed. Barcelona, 1972, pp. 250–253, 393–94, no. 354, fig. 97, dates it 1594–1604; gives the probable provenance as the convento of San Pablo Ermitaño, Toledo.
Jacques Lassaigne. El Greco. London, 1973, pp. 208–9, dates it about 1600.
José Gudiol. El Greco, 1541–1614. New York, 1973, pp. 211–12, 351, no. 173, fig. 191 (color), dates it about 1600; gives provenance as "San Pablo, Toledo (?)".
E. Rainer. "Anmerkungen zur Biographie El Grecos." Das Münster 27 (1974), p. 275, ill., dates it about 1600.
David Davies. El Greco. Oxford, 1976, pp. 9, 14, no. 25, colorpl. 25, dates it probably 1600–1601.
Madlyn Millner Kahr. Velázquez: The Art of Painting. New York, 1976, pp. 111, 113–14, ill. (color), dates it about 1600.
Colin Eisler. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Vol. 4, European Schools Excluding Italian. London, 1977, p. 191, as from El Greco's "last decade," when he produced his most penetrating portraits.
Kazimierz Zawanowski. El Greco. Warsaw, 1979, unpaginated, no. 17, ill. (color, overall and detail), dates it about 1600.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 285, 292, fig. 526 (color).
Arthur Linksz. An Ophthalmologist Looks at Art. San Francisco, 1980, pp. 24, 25, 120–21, ill., notes that the sitter's glasses are fastened around his ears with string.
Katharine Baetjer. "El Greco." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 39 (Summer 1981), pp. 4–5, 39–44, ill. (color, overall and details), as probably painted in 1600; describes the portrait type as descended from Raphael and Titian.
Denys Sutton. "The Aesthete of Toledo." Apollo, n.s., 116 (September 1982), p. 155.
Jonathan Brown and Dawson W. Carr. "'Portrait of a Cardinal': Niño de Guevara or Sandoval y Rojas?" Studies in the History of Art [Figures of Thought: El Greco as Interpreter of History, Tradition, and Ideas] 11 (1982), pp. 33–44, ill. (overall and detail), illustrate a portrait of about 1675–1700 in the Palacio Arzobispal, Seville, supposedly representing Cardinal Niño de Guevara, which they believe is actually based on a 1599 engraving of Cardinal Bernardo Sandoval y Rojas; note that the cardinal in the MMA portrait resembles Sandoval y Rojas as depicted in this engraving and in a portrait by Luis Tristán in Toledo Cathedral painted in 1619, one year after Sandoval's death; conclude that the Seville portrait and the MMA's must represent Cardinal Sandoval, who was elevated to cardinal March 3, 1599, and named archbishop of Toledo six weeks later; further note that there later developed through marriage a connection between the houses of Sandoval and Oñate, and this could account for the early presence of the MMA portrait in the Oñate family collection.
Richard L. Kagan inEl Greco of Toledo. Ed. William B. Jordan. Exh. cat., Toledo Museum of Art. Boston, 1982, pp. 68–69, 71, 73 n. 117, ill. (color), supports Brown and Carr's identification of the sitter as Cardinal Sandoval y Rojas [see Ref. Brown and Carr 1982].
Edward J. Sullivan. "El Greco of Toledo." Art Journal 42 (Fall 1982), p. 239.
John Walker. Portraits, 5,000 Years. New York, 1983, pp. 123, 125–26, ill. (color), dates it about 1600.
Jonathan Brown and Dawson W. Carr National Gallery of Art. "El "Retrato de un cardenal": ¿símbolo o simulacro?" Visiones del pensamiento: El Greco como intérprete de la historia, la tradición y las ideas [Studies in the History of Art] 11 (1984), pp. 57–73, fig. 14 [due to new archival discoveries, this is a substantial rewrite of Ref. Brown and Carr 1982], cite a 1632 inventory [see Ref. 1632] of the property of Fernando Niño de Guevara's nephew, Rodrigo Lasso de la Vega (d. 1620; his heir was his nephew, Luis, who d. 1632), listing a portrait of "Card. D. Ferdo. Niño arçobispo de Sevilla... vendieronse en 800 reales (80 ducados)," but without giving the painter's name; note that the appraiser, the painter Juan Bautista Maíno, would presumably have recognized El Greco's style and in fact listed other works by him; state that the portrait was sold at the 1632 auction and is not recorded in inventories of the Oñate family (heirs of the Lasso de la Vega family) after 1700, thus our painting cannot be securely identified with it and may not have come to the family until the 19th century; find the features of the sitter close to those of Cardinal Sandoval y Rojas in his contemporary portraits, noting that he was reknowned as a patron of the arts, had actually commissioned an important series of works from El Greco, and might have commissioned a portrait from him; conclude, however, that the arguments favoring identification of our portrait with Niño de Guevara and those favoring his identification as Sandoval y Rojas are equally subjective and circumstantial, and that until a document recording the portrait's commission, or a contemporary portrait of Niño de Guevara comes to light, the identification of the sitter remains an open question; doubt that this portrait was intended to personify the evils of the Spanish Inquisition as is often suggested.
Balbina M. Caviro. "Los Grecos de don Pedro Laso de la Vega." Goya (January–February 1985), pp. 216–17, 222–26, ill., discusses the 1632 inventory [see Refs. 1632, and Brown and Carr 1984], describing the pictures listed in it as the property of Pedro Laso [sic], the ten-year-old son and heir of Luis; notes that a portrait of the Cardinal is not mentioned in either his very detailed will, or in contemporary archives of the convent of San Pablo, and identifies this portrait with the one representing Niño de Guevara included in the Laso inventory; observes that although the picture is not associated with El Greco in this document, its appraisal value and sale price, the second highest of all the pictures cited, would support this association; notes that what appears to have been a copy of the portrait is mentioned in an 1878 document in the convent.
Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, pp. 141, 153–55, 206–7, 254, colorpl. 121, describes the history of the acquisition of this painting by the Havemeyers.
Jeannine Baticle and Alain Roy. L'age Baroque en Espagne et en Europe septentrionale. Geneva, [1986?], p. 45, dates it with El Greco's paintings for the Hospital of Charity, Illescas, 1603–05.
Donna Marie Hunter. "Second Nature: Portraits by J.-L. David, 1769–1792." PhD diss., Harvard University, 1988, p. 119.
Nina Ayala Mallory. Del Greco a Murillo: La pintura española del Siglo de Oro, 1556–1700. Madrid, 1991, pp. 50–52, ill., claims that the sitter is probably Cardinal Sandoval y Rojas; dates it about 1600, noting that it was probably painted shortly after his elevation to Archbishop of Toledo in 1599.
Michael Scholz-Hänsel. El Greco: der Großinquisitor, neues Licht auf die schwarze Legende. Frankfurt am Main, 1991, pp. 5–7, 13–20, 26–28, 30, 52, 60, 63, 67–69, 72, 78 n. 87, ill. (overall and details, color detail on cover), identifies the sitter as Niño de Guevara and dates it about 1600; illustrates portraits by Titian, Raphael, and Tintoretto which may be compositional antecedents for this work.
Richard L. Kagan. "The Count of Los Arcos as Collector and Patron of El Greco." Anuario del Departamento de Historia y Teoría del Arte 4 (1992), pp. 154, 157, notes that the painting in the inventory of Pedro Laso de la Vega, Conde de los Arcos is "generally thought to be" our portrait, but "the identification of this painting has recently been challenged and its provenance remains in dispute".
Helmut Feld. Mutmaßungen zur religiösen Bildaussage in Manierismus und Barock: Tintoretto—El Greco—Bernini. Tübingen, 1992, pp. 40–41.
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1930, repr. 1961]. New York, 1993, pp. xv, 47, 97, 132, 138, 141, 152–53, 155–59, 177–79, 291, 315 n. 90, p. 320 n. 153, p. 323 n. 179, p. 324 nn. 195, 199, 204, p. 325 n. 215, p. 327 n. 242, p. 345 n. 464.
Susan Alyson Stein inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 229, 233, 236–37.
Gary Tinterow inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 17, 49.
José Álvarez Lopera. El Greco: La obra esencial. [Madrid], , pp. 74, 234, 291, no. 252, dates it about 1600; claims the sitter is most likely Cardinal Niño de Guevara.
Katharine Baetjer in "A Portrait and a Landscape by El Greco of Toledo." Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 58–60, ill.
Gretchen Wold inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 346, no. A304, ill.
Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez. "El retrato clásico español." El retrato en el Museo del Prado. Ed. Javier Portús. Madrid, 1994, pp. 240–41, ill. (color).
Fernando Benito Domenech. "La pittura spagnola dal pieno Rinascimento al Manierismo." La pittura spagnola. Ed. Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez. Milan, 1995, vol. 1, p. 280.
María Victoria Gómez Alfeo. "La crítica de 'El Greco,' en la prensa española del primer tercio del siglo XX." Historiografía del arte español en los siglos XIX y XX. Madrid, 1995, pp. 336–37, 339.
Michael Scholz-Hänsel. "The Spectacles of the Grand Inquisitor. Counter-Revolutionary Aspects in the Work of El Greco and Humanistic Ideas in the Thinking of Spanish Inquisitors." El Greco of Crete: Proceedings of the International Symposium Held on the Occasion of the 450th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth. Ed. Nicos Hadjinicolaou. Iráklion, Crete, 1995, pp. 295–307, ill., cites the influence of Tintoretto's portraits on our painting; notes that while the pattern of the floor is Italian, the interior setting is typically Spanish; claims that the Cardinal wears "the most progressive glasses of his time," glasses which were attached to the ears by loops of cord; dates it about 1600.
Richard L. Kagan. "The Count of Los Arcos as Collector and Patron of El Greco." El Greco of Crete: Proceedings of the International Symposium Held on the Occasion of the 450th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth. Ed. Nicos Hadjinicolaou. Iráklion, Crete, 1995, pp. 330, 333, 335, ill., publishes Pedro Laso de la Vega's 1632 inventory of paintings in Madrid which lists an unattributed portrait of "Fernando Nino, Arzobispo de Sevilla, inquisidor general, sentado en silla 100 duc"; notes that an early-eighteenth-century inventory of the family's estate at Batres lists "un retrato del Cardinal D Fernando Nino" in the oratory.
Albert Boime. "The Americanization of El Greco." El Greco of Crete: Proceedings of the International Symposium Held on the Occasion of the 450th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth. Ed. Nicos Hadjinicolaou. Iráklion, Crete, 1995, p. 621.
Sergio Marinelli. "Spazio e proporzione in Domenico Greco." El Greco of Crete: Proceedings of the International Symposium Held on the Occasion of the 450th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth. Ed. Nicos Hadjinicolaou. Iráklion, Crete, 1995, pp. 348, 350, 356, ill., as Cardinal Sandoval y Rojas; notes the similarity between the perspective used in our picture and that of Tintoretto's "Last Supper" (San Polo, Venice).
Velázquez: "El Papa Inocencio X" de la Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Roma. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 1996, p. 46.
Liudmila Kagané. Diego Velázquez. Bournemouth, 1996, p. 138, ill. (color), dates it about 1600.
Fernando Marías inThe Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 13, New York, 1996, pp. 343–44, ill., dates it about 1600.
Fernando Marías. Greco: Biographie d'un peintre extravagant. Paris, 1997, pp. 262–63, 308 n. 32, ill. (color), notes that it was appraised in 1632 at 100 ducats [as in Ref. Kagan 1995, but see Ref. Brown and Carr 1984, who give the value as 80 ducats].
Gary Tinterow inLa collection Havemeyer: Quand l'Amérique découvrait l'impressionnisme. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay. Paris, 1997, pp. 20, 40–41, 107, ill.
Jonathan Brown inThe Robert Lehman Collection. Vol. 2, Fifteenth- to Eighteenth-Century European Paintings. New York, 1998, p. 174, describes this picture as "reidentified as Cardinal Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas".
Trinidad de Antonio inFelipe II, un monarca y su época: un príncipe del renacimiento. Ed. Fernando Checa Cremades. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 1998, pp. 468–69, no. 138, ill. (color), dates it about 1600; as "Portrait of a Cardinal".
Yves Bottineau. Vélasquez. Paris, 1998, p. 238, dates it 1596–1601.
Veronika Schroeder. El Greco im frühen deutschen Expressionismus: Von der Kunstgeschichte als Stilgeschichte zur Kunstgeschichte als Geistesgeschichte. PhD diss., Universität München. Frankfurt am Main, 1998, pp. 117–18.
José Manuel Pita Andrade inEl Greco: Identity and Transformation; Crete, Italy, Spain. Ed. José Álvarez Lopera. Exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Milan, 1999, pp. 157–58, ill., dates it about 1600.
Jean Louis Schefer. Sommeil du Greco. Paris, 1999, p. 8.
Anna Coliva. Velázquez a Roma, Velázquez e Roma. Exh. cat., Galleria Borghese. Milan, 1999, p. 96.
Carmen Bernis. "Una pintura italiana erroneamente atribuída a El Greco: "La Dama del armiño" de Glasgow." El Greco in Italy and Italian Art: Proceedings of the International Symposium. Ed. Nicos Hadjinicolaou. Rethymno, Crete, 1999, p. 207, ill. (color detail).
José Álvarez Lopera. El retablo del Colegio de Doña María de Aragón de El Greco. Madrid, 2000, p. 71.
Felix Scheffler Universität Bochum. Das spanische Stilleben des 17. Jahrhunderts: Theorie, Genese und Entfaltung einer neuen Bildgattung. Frankfurt am Main, 2000, pp. 189–91.
Leticia Ruiz. El Greco. Madrid, 2000, pp. 52–53, 57, ill. (color), dates it 1600–1604.
Dawson W. Carr inEl Greco. Ed. Sylvia Ferino-Pagden and Fernando Checa Cremades. Exh. cat., Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Milan, 2001, pp. 92–95, ill. (color, overall and detail) [English ed., 2001, pp. 50–51].
Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez and Benito Navarrete Prieto. Luis Tristán, h. 1585–1624. Madrid, 2001, pp. 245–46, identifies Tristan's copy (Museo y Casa del Greco, Toledo) as possibly the copy which Ramírez de Arellano [Ref. 1920] and Mayer [Ref. 1931] saw in the church of San Pablo, Toledo, and Soria [Ref. 1959] identified in the Seminario de Toledo.
Gudrun Maurer. Spanish Paintings. Stockholm, 2001, pp. 67–68 n. 18, comments on the similarities between the head of the Cardinal in our painting and that of Saint Paul in El Greco's "Saint Peter and Saint Paul" (Nationalmuseum, Stockholm).
Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez. "Velázquez e Italia." Velázquez (1599–1999): Visiones y revisiones. Ed. Alberto Villar Movellán and Antonio Urquízar Herrera. Córdoba, 2002, p. 43, mentions this picture as a model for Velázquez's portrait of Pope Innocent X (Gallerie Doria Pamphilj, Rome).
Keith Christiansen et al. inEl Greco. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. London, 2003, pp. 11, 143, 190, 233, 258, 282–85, no. 80, ill. (color, overall and detail), questions the identification of the sitter as Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas [see Ref. Brown and Carr 1982], in spite of an "(undeniable) resemblance" to him as he appears in two documented portraits; notes that in these portraits the subject does not wear glasses "which seems curious for someone who chose to be portrayed wearing them in a formal portrait"; believes the provenance as supplied by Ref. Kagan 1995 lends more support to the identification of the sitter with Niño de Guevara and suggests that El Greco painted this likeness in either 1600 or 1601 when the cardinal was present in Toledo.
José Álvarez Lopera et al. inEl Greco / colaboraciones . . . Barcelona, 2003, pp. 169, 408, colorpl. XLIV.
José Álvarez Lopera inThe Spanish Portrait: From El Greco to Picasso. Ed. Javier Portús. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. London, 2004, pp. 123, 128, 133–34, fig. 63 (color), as "Portrait of Cardinal Fernando Niño de Guevera," from about 1600; comments that it was El Greco's only state portrait, completed between December 1599 and March 1602, or January 1604; remarks that El Greco "broke away from traditional practice by merging the official persona of the sitter and the characterisation of his individual personality".
José Rogelio Buendía. "El Greco: Encuentros en Roma y su proyección en Toledo." El Greco: The First Twenty Years in Spain. Ed. Nicos Hadjinicolaou. Rethymno, Crete, 2005, p. 22, fig. 8, identifies the sitter as Gaspar de Quiroga.
José Álvarez Lopera. "'El Greco' de Cossío: Gestación y primeras reacciones críticas." El Greco: The First Twenty Years in Spain. Ed. Nicos Hadjinicolaou. Rethymno, Crete, 2005, p. 269, notes that Cossío viewed the sale in the early twentieth century of this painting, the View of Toledo (MMA 29.100.6), and other works by El Greco, as an affront to the Spanish nation.
Katharine Baetjer inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Chefs-d'œuvre de la peinture européenne. Exh. cat., Fondation Pierre Gianadda. Martigny, 2006, pp. 19–20 [Catalan ed., Barcelona, 2006, p. 18].
Eric Storm. De ontdekking van El Greco: Aartsvader van de moderne kunst. Amsterdam, 2006, pp. 124–25, 127, 151.
Palma Martínez-Burgos García et al. inEl Greco & su taller. Ed. Nicos Hadjinicolaou. Exh. cat., Museum of Cycladic Art. Athens, 2007, pp. 33, 203, 205, 392–93, figs. 22 and 24 (overall in color and x-radiographs), notes that although the identity of the sitter has been questioned, the sitter in the related painting by Luis Tristán (no. 48, Museo del Greco, Toledo) has been unanimously identified as Don Fernando Niño de Guevara.
Richard L. Kagan. "The Artist's Clientele: El Greco as Businessman." El Greco's Studio. Ed. Nicos Hadjinicolaou. Iráklion, 2007, p. 47.
Eric Storm. El descubrimiento del Greco: nacionalismo y arte moderno (1860–1914). Madrid, 2011, pp. 123–24, 127, 149, fig. 29 (color) [Spanish translation of Storm 2006].
Fernando Marías inEl Greco's Visual Poetics. Exh. cat., National Museum of Art, Osaka. [Tokyo], 2012, pp. 27, 239.
Fernando Marías. El Greco, Life and Work—A New History. London, 2013, pp. 248–49, 296 n. 289, p. 337, ill. (color).
Paul-Louis Durand-Ruel and Flavie Durand-Ruel inInventing Impressionism: Paul Durand-Ruel and the Modern Art Market. Ed. Sylvie Patry. Exh. cat., Musée du Luxembourg, Paris. London, 2015, p. 40, misattribute it to Goya.
Walter Liedtke. "Three Paintings by El Greco." Metropolitan Museum Journal 50 (2015), pp. 19–25, 34–36 nn. 1–51, fig. 7 (color).
Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, pp. 280–81, no. 201, ill. pp. 201, 280 (color).