This excellent Immaculate Conception is signed and dated 1666 by the prestigious court painter Juan Carreño de Miranda. The work originated from the now destroyed Convent of Saint Francis in Vitoria, where it must have arrived through the intervention of Bernabé Ochoa de Chinchetru, whose portrait was painted by Carreño de Miranda a few years earlier. The work was transferred to the sacristy of Vitoria cathedral following the secularisation of the Convent of Saint Francis.
It depicts a young Virgin from the front with a serene look on her face. She has a rhomboidal outline and is opening her arms in a welcoming gesture. The composition is enhanced by a group of child angels fluttering at her feet with Marian symbols. It was during this decade that Juan Carreño de Miranda established his iconographic model for the Immaculate Conception, which was influenced by models from Van Dyck and Rubens. Loose, vibrant brushstrokes are used, although a certain almost classicist restraint can also be observed in his work, a departure from other contemporary painters such as Francisco Rizi, Antolínez, Escalante and Solís, who developed the subject with greater flamboyance and excitement.
Mirari. Un pueblo al encuentro del arte [cat.]. Vitoria-Gasteiz: Sala Amárica. Diputación Foral de Álava, 1989, p. 326 (ficha confeccionada por Fernando Tabar Anitua).
TABAR ANITUA, Fernando. Barroco importado en Álava y Diócesis de Vitoria-Gasteiz: Escultura y Pintura [cat.]. Vitoria-Gasteiz: Diputación Foral de Álava, 1995, pp. 240-243.
BARTOLOMÉ GARCÍA, Fernando R. El arte Barroco en Álava, Vitoria-Gasteiz: Diputación Foral de Álava, 1999, pp. 96-97.
VÉLEZ CHAURRI, José Javier; ECHEVERRIA GOÑI, Pedro Luis. "Pintura barroca con vinculación histórica al País Vasco". En: LUCES DEL BARROCO, Pintura y escultura del siglo XVII en España [cat.]. Vitoria-Gasteiz: Fundación Caja Vital Kutxa, 2002, pp. 23, 72-73.