It is a beautiful portrait of a little girl in half-length, her hands joined for prayer, her eyes wide open in a rather sad expression. The chiaroscuro on a black background and the realism of this child's portrait without any moving intent plead for an autograph work by Velazquez.
During the X-Ray inspection several white dots forming a halo were discovered, in conformance with a traditional iconography of Mary's childhood. This painting could have been conceived as an Inmaculada before being transformed by the artist in a modello portrait.
If this is the case it is probably prior to an Inmaculada preserved at the Fundacion Focus Abengoa in Sevilla, dated around 1618 and attributed by some experts to Velazquez and by others to Alonso Cano. Velazquez and his younger colleague Cano were both students in Sevilla to Francisco Pacheco, a painter and theoretician who had met El Greco and specialized in religious art for the local ecclesiastical clientele.
The high skill of Velazquez was precocious : barely 18 years old in 1617, he was received in the corporation of the painters of Sevilla and his first masterpiece mixing genre and still life, Vieja friendo hiejos, was painted in the following year. He was remaining at that time in the entourage of Pacheco whose daughter he married in 1618.
SOLD for € 8M before fees