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Art Historian William B. Jordan Donates Portrait by Velázquez to Prado Museum

Madrid’s Prado Museum has announced that Portrait of Philip III, a painting recently attributed to Diego Velázquez, was donated to the nonprofit organization American Friends of the Prado Museum by art historian William B. Jordan.

The work is the first donation received by American Friends of the Prado Museum—a project supported by a group of American patrons with the aim of contributing to the conservation of the collections housed in the Museo del Prado and the dissemination of Spanish, European, and classical Greco-Roman heritage.

Jordan, a Spanish still-life painting specialist, bought the canvas from a London auction house in 1988. Following its restoration, a technical study of the work determined that the portrait was made by Velázquez. It was created as a preparatory painting for the face of Philip III, who is depicted in The Expulsion of the Moriscos, 1627, which was destroyed by a fire in the Real Alcázar in Madrid in 1734. No copies of the work survived and it is only known from written descriptions.

In a statement, the museum said: “The addition of this work to the museum’s collections as a long-term deposit will contribute to completing its representation of Velázquez as a royal portraitist, given that it is a work of outstanding quality and previously unpublished in the scholarly literature. As such, it will help to cast light on one of the key works of the artist’s early period at court.”