(bapt Madrid, March 1, 1607; d after 1678).
Spanish collector and patron. He was a court functionary closely connected with commerce in precious objects, silver, gold and jewellery. His interesting picture collection indicates his decidedly Italianate taste and connoisseurship. It grew from a modest but select group of works in 1643 to a large collection in 1664 of tapestries, jewellery, objets d’art and over 200 paintings, including Diego de Velázquez’s ‘The Weavers’ (Fable of Arachne) (c. 1657; Madrid, Prado), first recorded in an inventory of Arce’s collection in 1664, and a Holy Trinity by Jusepe de Ribera (possibly the painting of 1632–6; Madrid, Prado). Arce was also a patron of the Italo-Spanish painter Angelo Nardi (he had five to eight works by 1657).
The extensive documents of Arce’s financial affairs offer a glimpse into Spanish middle-class life in the 17th century. Included are matters relating to his custody of the children of his first wife by a previous marriage; the elaborate arrangements separating his estate from those of his two wives, their children by him and by previous husbands, and other relatives; and the attempts of his son to enter the ranks of the lesser aristocracy....