The Immaculate Conception - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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The Immaculate Conception – 94/48

Quadra, Nicolás Antonio de la

Muskiz, Bizkaia, 1663-Bilbao, 15/12/1728

Oil on canvas

216 x 166 cm

DN.s (D and N intertwined) An...dra fac.t (lower centre)


Late 17th century


Acquired in 1994

The care taken in the painting of this Immaculate Conception, perhaps the artist's most notable piece of work, suggests it was a major commission. Executed in Madrid, it follows the Baroque Marian models established by masters such as Claudio Coello, Juan Carreño and José Antolínez. Despite being such a well-worn theme, De la Quadra achieved a work of quality in a vigorous style and with splendid colouring. He imbues the figures with the kind of dynamism typical of the end-of-century style, which foreshadowed the Rococo. The Virgin's ample cloak, blown by the wind, gives a powerful effect of movement, intensified by the child angels deployed in dynamically forced poses that flutter around Her in a continuous whirl. The lighting also has an essential role in the final effect, achieving a sharp contrast by setting the Virgin's blue cloak against the golden glow of the background. [Ana Sánchez-Lassa]

Selected bibliography

  • Gutiérrez Pastor, Ismael. "La Inmaculada Concepción de Nicolás Antonio de la Quadra en el Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao", Urtekaria 1995 : asterlanak, albistak = Anuario 1995 : estudios, crónicas. 1996. p. 21-30.
  • Gutiérrez Pastor, Ismael; Arranz Otero, José Luis. "Nicolás de la Cuadra, autor de los retratos reales de San Antonio de los Portugueses de Madrid", Ondare : cuadernos de artes plásticas y monumentales, n° 19. 2000. p. 472.
  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. p. 18.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. p. 18.
  • Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. p. 18, n° cat. 4.