La duquesa de Abrantès (1816). Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828).Oil on canvas. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid.

The Duchess received an enlightened education. Among her hobbies was music and song, as revealed in the musical score. The lady is dressed in French fashion with a wreath of white roses, as worn by Spanish ladies in that period. The technique, vibrant and fast, echoes the colorful portraits of the 18th century, although light rubbings and black brushstrokes are of the artist’s later style.

Postscript to La Pepa and A Painting by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes: La Junta de Filipinas

“In 1815, Goya was commissioned to commemorate a meeting of the junta of the Royal Company of the Philippines, then a Spanish colony. The result was one of the most subtly devastating comments ever made by an artist on officialdom, on the pompous gathering of authorities to determine the fate of others. In the dead center of the canvas, whose vast dimensions (more than thirteen feet wide) and sweeping one-point perspective suggest virtual extension of the spectator’s space into the council room, we see Ferdinand VII himself, a tiny figure seated haughtily against a round-back chair a trifle larger than those that fan out around him. But this foreboding image of power is so remote that it becomes a phantom of judicial authority. Moreover, the simple box space, evocative of the most stable and rational order, is invaded by engulfing shadows that contrast strangely with the disintegrating glare of sunlight from what seems an alien world outside. Inside, all is darkness and inertia. The figures on the two sides have barely the energy left to shift their legs as they squirm with boredom, and those on the dais look as if they may soon be absorbed into their chairs.”

Quote from 19th-Century Art by Robert Rosenblum and H.W. Janson

To know more about the painting

Joaquina Téllez-Giron y Pimentel, Marchioness of Santa Cruz (1805). Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828).Oil on canvas. Museo Nacional del Prado.

The lady, wearing an elegant white chiffon dress is crowned with oak leaves, with its fruits, according to the fashion of that period, which in this case symbolizes virtue, perseverance and strength. The lady supports her left arm on a guitar shaped lyre instrument fashionable at the time.

Maria Tomasa Palafox y Portocarrero, Marchioness of Villafranca, painting her husband (1804). Francisco de Goya y Lucientes. Oil on canvas. Musea National Del Prado.

Palafox (1780-1835), dressed in a white empire style robe, paints a portrait of her husband, the Marquis of Villafranca XI.

The Marquis looks to his wife from his own portrait, in a game that Goya used consciously, perhaps reflecting the great love that professed marriage.


Francisco de GOYA Y LUCIENTES (Spanish painter (1746-1828)

Giant, by 1818

Evoking the uneasiness that wells up in the face of some unfathomable power, Goya’s Giant is staggering. This rarity ranks with works by Dürer and Rembrandt as one of the most impressive images ever printed from a copperplate. Like a mezzotint engraver, Goya proceeded to scrape highlights into metal previously roughened with grainy aquatint. Thus he sculpted this colossus—Prometheus? Zeus? god of war?—out of darkness. Everything that held Goya in awe seems to have been compacted into this mysterious, ominous being.