Portrait of the Marchioness of Villafranca de Goya

Portrait of the Marchioness of Villafranca de Goya
Portrait of the Marchioness of Villafranca de Goya

Among the many portraitsmade by Francisco de Goya, this one he did in 1804 of theMarchioness of Villafrancais very interesting. And it is so both for its pictorial quality, and for the type of representation chosen.


Portrait of the Marchioness of Villafranca by Goya

The woman portrayed is the aristocrat María Tomasa Palafox y Portocarrero. A very unique lady within courtly environments, since since she was a child, her mother made sure that she received a careful education and culture, something that she turned into her passion for painting, and in fact only a year after this portrait she would become an academic of merit at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. And so Goya presents her to us, painting her husband. With which the result is a unique double portrait of marriage.

We see her wife sitting in a huge red chair. She in a most comfortable position, not only because of her seat, but because she even has her feet resting on a cushion. Another issue is the clothes, since despite being a family scene, we see her dressed in a pompous dress, and if she was painted by Goya, the court painter, she couldn't appear either dressed in any way.

Armed with her brushes and her palette, she seems to be looking at the model posing outside the painting, her husbandFrancisco de Borja Álvarez de Toledo, Marquis of Villafranca.Which we only see because of the portrait that the woman has supposedly done on the canvas. The effigy from there looks at his wife, posing a most suggestive visual game. Among other things because they are the most tender and loving looks, since at the time, the love between this couple was one of the most admired and envied in the Madrid court.

And Goya captures it in a very dynamic way, with an energetic and long brushstroke. He does not dwell on the most precious details, but on the sensations and communication of the scene. A very interesting work and a good reflection of his work as a portrait painter of the Aragonese painter, who by the way throughout his life painted several members of this woman's family. For example, to her own sister Gabriel, who was the Marchioness of Lazán or her cousin theGeneral José de Palafox.

Today we can see the painting in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. And if you look at it in person, it is curious to look for the place chosen by the great painter to place his signature. It is not in a lower corner, as is usual. Instead, you can read his autographed name on the arm of the big chair.

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