Allegorical Figure of Friendship (recto); Christ on the Cross (verso)

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Object Details


Allegorical Figure of Friendship (recto); Christ on the Cross (verso)


Attributed to Juan del Castillo (Spanish, about 1590 - about 1657)




about 1630 - 1650


Pen and brown ink


21.7 x 14.8 cm (8 9/16 x 5 13/16 in.)

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This figure, labeled Amititia (Amicitia) in the lower left, represents Friendship. Juan del Castillo took the elements of the allegory from Cesare Ripa's Iconologia of the 1600s, which became a standard reference work for artists searching for ways to represent abstract ideas. According to Ripa, Amicitia was to be shown as a fair young woman, simply draped in the white robe of Truth, the virtue upon which friendship is based. She goes barefoot "for friendship knows no inconvenience too great for it," and rests one foot on a skull, "for friendship jeers at death." The artist probably intended the sphere drawn here as a free allusion to the skull. The inscription cerca (close) and lexos (far) on her breast refers to Ripa's description of keeping friends close to one's heart, regardless of whether they are near or far.

Castillo drew a study for a scene of Christ on the Cross on the back of this drawing. Since Castillo drew the cross at an oblique angle, the figure may have been made for a Raising of the Cross.

Juanes to Goya: Spanish Drawings 1560 -1825 (September 14 to November 28, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 14 to November 28, 1999
Window onto Spain: Drawings and Prints from Ribera to Goya (February 17 to May 16, 2004) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 17 to May 16, 2004