A painting with the whole family

In ‘The Glory’, painted by Titian, Charles V wanted to surround himself with a number of family members. However, the painting is not without controversy

The Glory is a work that Emperor Charles V commissioned from Titian during their meeting in Augsburg between 1550 and 1551. It is a painting in which the emperor appears surrounded by his loved ones… and in which there are notable absences.

During his lifetime, Emperor Charles V commissioned several paintings from Titian, the genius of his time. But at their last meeting in Augsburg, between 1550 and 1551, he proposed a special painting. And that was the one that the Italian genius sent to Brussels in 1554. That work is The Glory.

The painting, which is in the Prado Museum, and a copy of which stands out on the altarpiece in the church of the Monastery of Yuste, is dominated by the Trinity. To its right are two intercessors, the Virgin and Saint John the Baptist.

Meanwhile, on the left, there are angels with palms accompanying different members of the imperial family. To begin with, the Emperor himself appears with the imperial crown next to the Empress Elizabeth. Behind him, and a little lower down, is his son Philip. These figures are accompanied by those of Joanna and her sisters Eleanor and Mary; and, on a lower level, two elderly, bearded men identified as Pietro Aretino and Titian himself in profile.

Significant, however, are two absences from the moment of Emperor Charles V’s presence before the Trinity: his brother Ferdinand and his nephew Maximilian. This absence is due to the crisis triggered by the imperial succession between Ferdinand and Philip at the Augsburg meeting of 1550-51, when the painting was commissioned.

As a curiosity, it should be noted that the work remained in the Aula de Moral at the Escorial from at least 1566. In 1837 it was transferred to the Museo del Prado, where it can now be seen.

SOURCE: Museo del Prado

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