Migliara Giovanni, Charles V Withdrawing to the Monastery of San Yuste in Estremadura and to the Monks of the Order of St Jerome – Interior of a Monastery
1 / 20

1,825 - 1,830; oil on canvas mounted on Masonite
cm. 57 x 46,2
Signed bottom right: "Gio Migliara"
Inventory: AH01706AFC
Provenance: Milan, Finarte, Auction 852, 16 March 1993 (post auction buy)

This painting came from the antique market and entered the Cariplo Collection in 1993. It depicts Charles V withdrawing to the monastery of San Yuste in Estremadura in 1556, after abdicating from the imperial throne. Moral reflection on the loss of power and the transitoriness of earthly things, to which the burial in the foreground seems to allude, gives way to a simpler interpretation of the event. This is rendered as a genre scene following the many examples offered by contemporary French painting, from François Marius Granet to Henry Fradelle and Pierre Revoil, whose work on the same subject as the canvas in the Collection was shown in the 1838 Paris Salon.

Migliara possibly based the figure and costume of the king on an old portrait of Charles V, or perhaps he was inspired by an engraving, but he added details to the garments drawing on his experience in making costume–sketches for the theatre. His skilful distribution of light, filtering from the open window above, with a red curtain blowing in the breeze – the only masterly touch of colour in the sober tones of the canvas – accentuates the meeting between the king and the prior that takes place beside the statue of St Just, patron of the place. The emperor’s page, who is looking outside, perhaps seeking the retinue, and the monk in the foreground withdrawing to a basement room, remain in shadow. They are mere extras, yet they allow the artist to create an interplay of different areas and perspectives that is typical of his extensive oeuvre.

Migliara painted various versions of this subject, the first being the large–format canvas commissioned by Marquis Antonio Visconti and shown at the Esposizione di Belle Arti dell’Accademia di Brera in 1828 with the title Emperor Charles V who after abdicating supreme power in favour of his son Philip II, withdraws at the age of 57 to the monastery of San Yuste Estremadura and to the monks of the order of St Jerome, followed by the subsequent replicas in miniature, documented by the photographs from the Fondo Sartorio now in the photographic library in Alessandria.  The emperor’s private life also inspired the painting Charles V Giving his Dog to Andrea Doria shown at the Esposizione di Belle Arti di Brera in 1829 and the miniature of Charles V with the Monks at the Milanese Monastery of San Celso.

From November 2011, the work has been on view at the Gallerie d’Italia in Milan.

Sources:Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio archivistico Cariplo, Opere d'arte. Atti d'acquisto ex Cariplo. Fald. 3/3, pratica no. 879 R/969


Dipinti del XIX secolo, Asta 852, Finarte, Milano, 1993, n. 23, p. 17, ill.;
Tesori d'arte delle banche lombarde, Associazione Bancaria Italiana, Milano, 1995, n. 577, p. 300, ill.;
Paola Zatti, Giovanni Migliara, Interno di convento, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 168, p. 262, ill. ;
Elena Lissoni, in Fernando Mazzocca, a cura di, Da Canova a Boccioni. Le collezioni della Fondazione Cariplo e di Intesa Sanpaolo, Skira, Milano, 2011, n. III.25, p. 186, ill.

Elena Lissoni
Credits © Copyright 2009 by Fondazione Cariplo. Tutti i diritti riservati.
Esclusivamente i contenuti della collezione online di artgate-cariplo.it sono disponibili secondo una licenza CC BY-SA