This video produced by the Prado Museum discusses the fascinating process of validation of the authorship and subsequent acquisition and restoration of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s painting, The Wine of the Fiesta of San Martin (El vino de la fiesta de San Martín), acquired by the museum in 2010. The commentary (with English subtitles) is by Gabriele Finaldi, assistant director of the museum’s Conservation and Research department; Pilar Silva, chief of the department of Spanish paintings (1100-1500), Flemish paintings and northern schools; and Elisa Mora, painting restorer of the Prado. This painting is an important acquisition, as the Prado Museum has only one other work by Bruegel the Elder, The Triumph of Death (c. 1562), which has been in the Prado collection since 1827.
The Wine of the Fiesta of San Martin comes to the Prado from the extensive art collection of one of Spain’s most noble houses, that of the Dukes of Medina Sidonia. It was acquired by Luis Francisco de la Cerda, the IXth duke of Medinaceli, during his tour of duty as ambassador of Spain in Rome and Viceroy of Naples in the late 17th century. Historical references link the painting with the Gonzaga ducal collection (1626-1627) in Mantua. It arrived in Spain no later than 1702 when the duke returned from Naples.
For more information, in Spanish, on the fascinating life and times of the controversial last Duchess of Medina Sidonia and her historical archive of some six million Spanish documents dating back to the 13th century, see this article in Madrid’s El País newspaper.