(Valladolid, 1553 - 26 October 1608, Madrid) Spanish painter, one of the best representatives of the Spanish school of court painters. He worked for Philip II and Philip III. The Museo del Prado contains examples of his severe portraiture style.
Juan Pantoja de La Cruz was, born 1553 in Valladolid. Very little is known of his formative years as a painter. He was a pupil of the court painter Alonso Senchez Coello in Madrid and he must have assisted his master in complying with his duties as painter of the Spanish King, Philip II. Pantoja probably continued to work in his master studio after completing his training. He married in 1585 beginning to paint for the court around that time. After Sanchez Coello's death in 1588, Pantoja took over his master workshop and became court painter to Philip II of Spain.
Pantoja kept working for the court and the nobility, painting portraits of Prince Philip, the future Philip III, in 1592 and 1594. Among his most well known works is the portrait of Philip II wearing a cape and hat all in black, painted around 1594 for the Escorial. This portrait is one of the best representations of the idea of Spanish majesty, based on the remoteness of the monarch. On Philip II's death in 1598, Philip III confirmed Pantoja's status as court painter. When the court settled in Valladolid in 1601, Pantoja moved to the new capital, remaining in this city, several years.