King Charles II of Spain (1661-1700), son of Philip IV and his second wife Mariana of Austria, was the last Habsburg ruler of Spain. The present likeness relates to the full-length, autograph portrait of Charles II by Carreño de Miranda, signed and dated 1671, in the Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Oviedo. Another autograph version, signed and dated 1673, is in the collection of the Staatliche Museen, Berlin. Carreño de Miranda was considered, after Velázquez, to be the most accomplished Spanish portrait painter of the second half of the seventeeth century.
The inscription 'B.' on the painting refers to its provenance, in the collection of the heirs of Don Luis Jaime Antonio de Borbón y Farnesio, Infante of Spain; upon his death in 1785 his possessions were transferred to the Palacio de Boadilla del Monte near Madrid. At one point the painting also bore the inventory number 213, from an inventory of the palace taken in 1886.
We are grateful to Angel Mario Carreño and Pilar López for confirming the attribution to the artist (written communication, 27 November 2008).