This copy, less than half the size of the original now in the Prado, is of high quality, although the landscape and sky are sketchy.
The original hung in the Salón de Reinos in the Buen Retiro palace in Madrid, between two great equestrian portraits of the sitter’s parents, King Philip IV and Queen Isobel, also by Velázquez. The King’s magnificent charger also rears – in his case a traditional and powerful image of kingly strength and awesome control. The image of the diminutive Prince, on his barrel-chested ‘Thelwell’ pony, walks a masterly line between infantile charm (with just a hint of the comic) and royal dignity. Velázquez makes a potentially ridiculous image both touching and serious.