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Bernardo Polo (17th Century)
Fiestas Triunfales
signed 'Bernardo Polo me fecit dat' lower right
oil on canvas
47 x 77½in. (119.5 x 197cm.)
Anon. sale, Christie's, London, Spanish Art II, Old Master Pictures and Drawings; 19th and early 20th Century Pictures; Prints and Contemporary Art, May 29, 1992, lot 338 (illustrated in color)

Lot Essay

Bernardo Polo was born in Huamantla, Tlaxcala, but worked in Puebla and in fact was married in that city in the year 1696. His son, José Patricio, and his grandson, José Aniceto, were also accomplished artists from Puebla.

This painting depicts the triumphant march accompanying Alessandro Farnese's entry into Paris in 1592, liberating the city from Protestant rule. The city of Paris celebrates the triumph by erecting a prominent and elaborate arch, as presented in this composition. Alessandro Farnese, Duke of Parma, was accompanied by his son Rainuccio Farnese and the Duke of Mayenne, head of the Catholic League.

Polo has taken his inspiration for the composition of this painting from a significant etching from the series Las Decadas de las Guerras de Flandes, executed in 1681 to illustrate the work written by the Jesuit priest Famien Strada. The first Spanish edition was published that same year and was in wide circulation throughout the Spanish Empire, undoubtedly appearing in Mexico soon thereafter.

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