Carlos (1629-46) was the son of King
Philip IV and heir to the Spanish throne. In this
portrait he is only about 3 years of age and his
cherubic cheeks, innocent gaze and golden curls
seem to represent the perfect image of childhood,
but his setting and costume give a different message.
He is standing, bathed in light, in a stage-like
setting: a red velvet curtain to the left and
an empty black space behind him. He is holding
a sword and a sceptre-like staff. Lying on a cushion
next to him is an adult-looking hat decorated
with large and elaborate feathers.
His opulent silver dress with lace collar and
pink sash, tied around his chest, indicates his
youth, nobility and affirms his status. The heavy
brocade seems to sparkle by the artist’s
application of small flecks of white paint.