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The Eternal Father, sketch

Francisco Bayeu y Subías

European Art

In 1791 Bayeu, along with several other artists, earned a prestigious assignment to decorate the Oratory of the King in the Palacio Real de Aranjuez, south of Madrid. For one of the vaults of this two-chambered space dedicated to the Virgin Mary and to the Immaculate Conception, Bayeu painted a luminous God the Father enthroned on a sturdy bank of clouds. While several attendant angels bear a canopy, others carry a banderole, or banner, that reads “Virtus altissimi obumbravit tibi” (The power of the Most High will overshadow you). An aptly selected text for the ceiling of the chapel, this verse from the Gospel of Luke (1:35) further announces Mary’s future role as the mother of Jesus. In three rectangular scenes surrounding the central composition of this sketch, Bayeu provides additional episodes from the life of Mary: the Birth of the Virgin, the Education of the Virgin, and the Annunciation, the moment when Mary learns that she will bear Jesus.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: Spain
  • DATES 1791
    DIMENSIONS 24 7/8 × 24 7/8 in. (63.2 × 63.2 cm) frame: 29 × 29 × 2 3/4 in. (73.7 × 73.7 × 7 cm)  (show scale)
    INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed on banderole carried by angels: "VIRTUS ALTISSIMI OBUMBRAVIT TIBI"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Francis Gottsberger in memory of his wife, Eliza
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Francisco Bayeu y Subías (Spanish, 1734-1795). The Eternal Father, sketch, 1791. Oil on canvas, 24 7/8 × 24 7/8 in. (63.2 × 63.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Francis Gottsberger in memory of his wife, Eliza, 06.87 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 06.87_acetate_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 06.87_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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