Magnet set pictures two scenes from Spanish history painted by Spanish artist, Diego Velazquez: The Surrender of Breda and Count-Duke Olivares – Don Gaszpar de Guzman (1547-1645) – on horseback.
As a favorite of Spanish King Philip IV, Roman-born Olivares served as Spain's prime minister 1621 to 1643. He led Spain's military campaign to recapture Holland during the Thirty Years War and initiated tax increases that led to revolts in Catalonia and Portugal. Olivares was determined to return Spain to the power and influence enjoyed during the reign of Phillip II. At that time Spain had ruled the Dutch and Olivares made regaining control of the Netherlands his #1 goal. To that end he led Spain to attack Dutch fleets and damage the Dutch economy by blocking the herring and salt trade. The high point of Olivares' program came on June 5, 1625 when Spain's siege of the Dutch fort at Breda led to surrender. In subsequent years, madness and bad decisions, both military and political, led Philip IV to recognize, reluctantly, that Olivares had become a liability. He left office in 1643, two years before his death.
Velazquez' Surrender of Breda painting was one of twelve that Philip IV commissioned in 1635 to decorate the Hall of Realms at the grand Buen Retiro retreat outside Madrid (six by Velazquez). The painting portrays Justin of Nassau, Dutch commander, giving the keys to the city of Breda to conqueror, Genoese Italian general Ambrosio Spinola. No such keys existed, or were transferred, and by decade end Breda was back in the hands of the Dutch.