Velázquez’s Royal Masterpiece: Isabel de Borbón Hits Sotheby’s Auction

Discover the pinnacle of portraiture as Sotheby’s presents Diego Velázquez’s masterpiece: the full-length portrait of Isabel de Borbón, Queen of Spain.

Rarely seen on the open market, this tour de force in art history captures the essence of Queen Isabel, marking a transformative period in Velázquez’s illustrious career. Sotheby’s anticipates the portrait, valued among the most valuable Old Master Paintings, to fetch around $35 million in the February 2024 auction.

Royal Elegance Unveiled: Isabel de Borbón in Velázquez’s Lens

Explore the regal depiction of Queen Isabel, poised confidently in a stunning black court dress, symbolizing her commanding status. Velázquez, known as ‘The Painter of Painters,’ meticulously captures her in her twenties, showcasing her quick wit, intelligence, and generous spirit. The portrait stands testament to Velázquez’s mastery, with its dazzling portrayal and historical significance.

The illustrious journey of the portrait adds to its allure. Once housed at the Buen Retiro palace in Madrid, it journeyed through France during Napoleon’s invasion, graced King Louis Philippe’s Galerie Espagnole in the Louvre, and found a place in the esteemed collection of Henry Huth. Its remarkable provenance culminates in its anticipated appearance at Sotheby’s auction.

Velázquez’s Royal Masterpiece: Isabel de Borbón Hits Sotheby’s Auction
Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez, Isabel de Borbón, Queen of Spain

Public Exhibition and Auction Details

Ahead of the auction, Isabel de Borbón, Queen of Spain, will be displayed in the UK for the first time in 50 years at Sotheby’s New Bond Street Galleries from 1st to 6th December.

This free public exhibition will showcase not only Velázquez’s masterpiece but also a rare Rembrandt painting and works by prominent female artists of the 17th and 18th centuries.

After its stint in London, the masterpiece returns to New York for a pre-sale exhibition at Sotheby’s annual Master Paintings auction on February 1st, 2024. This provides art enthusiasts and potential buyers with an opportunity to witness the magnificence of Velázquez’s Isabel de Borbón up close.

The current auction record for Velázquez stands at $16.9 million for the artist’s Saint Ruffina, sold at Sotheby’s London in 2007.


As Sotheby’s prepares to auction Velázquez’s rare and iconic portrait of Isabel de Borbón, Queen of Spain, art enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the opportunity to acquire this exceptional piece of art history.

The portrait not only embodies the skill and artistry of Velázquez but also offers a glimpse into the intriguing history of European royalty. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this historic auction in February 2024.

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