Susana Varela Flor
Universidade Nova de Lisboa
This is the story of an Infanta who was made Queen. This is a scene where one can see the public entrance of someone important. This is the depiction of a royal square on a busy day in the seventeenth century.
Created by the Dutch painter Dirck Stoop in 1662, this canvas portrays a moment from daily life in Lisbon, during the time in which the Portuguese crown were making the final preparations for the feasts in celebration of the wedding of the Infanta Catarina de Bragança, daughter of the Queen Regent Luísa de Gusmão, with the English monarch Charles II of the Stuart dynasty. This marriage strengthened the diplomatic ties between the Portuguese Court and its British counterpart. It also coincided with the troubled period in Portugal, which had been at war with Spain since 1640 and after the reinstatement of sovereignty: a period of Restoration ...
He lived with his family, including his father, Willem Jansz Stoop (d. 1646) a distinguished stained glass painter, and two brothers who were also painters, named Maerten and Jan. Dirck Stoop is also referred to in documents as a painter of horses, alluding to his main activity as an artist. Stoop´s name is also registered in 1638 at the Utrecht guild of painters. In 1647, after a sojourn in Italy, Stoop returned to Utrecht. The decade of the 1650s is the least documented period in his career. However, some authors theorise that Stoop worked in close partnership with other Dutch painters such as Jacques Muller (d. 1673), Willem Ormea (1611–1673) and Cornelis Willaerts (act. 1622–1666).
The connection between Stoop and the kingdom of Portugal is still difficult to discern with precision. The arrival of Stoop in Portugal may be explained by contacts made in London, where he may have travelled during the late 1650s in search of new job opportunities.
On 23rd June 1661, Francisco de Mello e Torres (c. 1610-1667), signed in London the Whitehall Treaty on behalf of the Portuguese Crown. The signing of this peace and trade alliance proved to be an important turning point in the political role that Portugal would play in Europe after gaining its sovereignty from Spain.
Accordingly, the marriage between Catherine of Braganza and Charles II of England was considered to be as a great diplomatic victory for the House of Braganza in the post-Restoration period. In September 1661, Dirck Stoop was in Lisbon, accompanying the English Ambassador Extraordinary Edward Montagu, who had come to Portugal. Stoop’s mission was the iconographic recording of events related to the marriage ceremonies of Catherine of Braganza to Charles II and its festivities, as shown here...
Stoop painted the canvas, subject of this presentation, which he signed and dated as “London 1662”. It may have been a commission by the Portuguese Ambassador Francisco de Mello e Torres extolling his rise to the Marquisade of Sande.
The map drawn by the architect João Nunes Tinoco (c. 1650) effectively shows us this wide space, facing the river. You can also see, on the right, the medieval district of narrow and winding streets and, on the left, the orthogonal Bairro Alto with well-defined spaces and blocks.
This is clearly visible in paintings of iconographic relevance which we can now observe. This is the depiction of the king's oath ceremony, after the proclamation of independence in 1640, following 60 years of Spanish rule. When observe with more scrutiny, we see that it was the east-facing wall of the Royal Palace that was used for the construction of the stage on which the oath was to take place. The intense red and gold colours of the fabrics used lend to the scene an enormous sense of the magnificence of the ceremony. Furthermore, the procession full of pomp and circumstance develops further to the right, where we see in detail the king on horseback, under a white pallium, surrounded by several elements of the highest clergy and nobility.
Another example of Terreiro do Paço's enormous versatility is the following engraving:
The square is heavely decorated and fully crowded with people. One can see examples of ephemeral architecture, covered with classical quotations and draped in cloths and fine fabrics, as was the style in vogue in the arts at the time.
Even in times after Stoop’s painting, the use of the great royal square was maintained as a privileged space for celebration, as can be seen in this other stunning painting. It shows the arrival of the Apostolic Nuncio to the Terreiro do Paço in 1693, Monsignor Giorgio Cornaro, moments before the first audience with the Portuguese king, Pedro II. It is worth noting, for example, the parade of carriages on the right side of the painting, the enormous ephemeral arcade that was built next to the buildings to receive the various institutional and local authorities and the exhibition of covers and fabrics on the windows of the houses facing the square.
All this magnificent atmosphere was no stranger to the people of Lisbon who had become accustomed to going to Terreiro do Paço for such events of pomp and pageantry.
Let us take another look at Dirck Stoop’s painting again. Taking advantage of the massive Royal Palace of Ribeira, our painter frames the Terreiro and displays various and isolated stories that are justified in the historical context of the marriage agreed between the royal houses of Portugal and England in the year 1662.
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1) Lisboa, Museu de Lisboa – Palácio Pimenta (inv. MC.PIN 261)
2) Utrecht, Centraal Museum (inv. 2298) - ©CC-PD-Mark
3) Image available in: https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/dirck-stoop-utrecht-c-1618-c-1686-5101494-details.aspx ©Christies
4) London, British Museum, The Coronation procession of Charles II in four rows (numbered 17-20); beginning with "Sergants at Armes" and ending with "Captain of the Guard"; being the last of four plates of this event taken from John Ogilby's 'The Entertainment of ... Charles II', 1662 Etching, inv. 163613001, ©The Trustees of the British Museum, (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
5) Lisboa, Museu de Lisboa – Palácio Pimenta (inv. MC.GRA 503)
6) Lisboa, Museu de Lisboa – Palácio Pimenta (inv. MC.DES 1084)
7) Lisboa, Museu de Lisboa – Palácio Pimenta (inv. MC.PIN 262)
8) Vila Viçosa, Paço Ducal de Vila Viçosa (inv. 4815)
9) Lisboa, Museu de Lisboa – Palácio Pimenta (inv. MC.GRA 1074)
10) Lisboa, Museu Nacional dos Coches – image available in: artsandculture.google.com/asset/JQHiTENYrWsC4A ©CC-PD-Mark
11) Lisboa, Museu de Lisboa – Palácio Pimenta (inv. MC.GRA 1885)
Title: Baroque Lisbon: Power and Performance
Author: Susana Varela Flor (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Instituto de História da Arte – Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas).
Web Design: Kunsthistorisches Museum – Visual Media, Vienna
English Translation / Proof Reading: Susana Varela Flor / Erin Coghill
Funding: The research undertaken for this digitorial has been funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia-FCT, as part of its Norma Transitória programme [DL 57/2016/CP1453/CT0032].
This Digitorial has been realized through a funding of Museu de Lisboa – Palácio Pimenta / EGEAC