Infant Don Balthasar Carlos with Horse, 1635/1636


The six-year old crown prince, sitting here on his pony in his representative function, would die only eleven years later. Velazquez portrayed him often, showing him as a hunter as well with a rifle and two dogs. In this setting, he gallops through the mountain range lying north of Madrid which symbolizes the Spanish kingdom with the vastness of the earth and the skies.

The perspective makes this small animal with the strange proportions look even more absurd, and the point of view is quite low - supposedly delivering the impression as if this beloved young prince and future representative of the kingdom sets from the ground with more grace and more altitude of flight (however short).


The boy is set apart from life as he fills his place in the system of his royal society. Still, one can discover the real child wondering in his smallness about the splendour and the magnificence and the enormous responsibilities lying ahead of him (of which, of course, he is quite aware already) ...