At this time, Francisco de Goya is enjoying enormous prestige at the court of Madrid. And the aristocrats compete for his services so that he portrays them. One of the lucky ones is the family of the Dukes of Osuna to whom he painted this painting between 1787 and 1788. An oil painting that we can see today in the Museum del Prado in Madrid.
The family of the Dukes of Osuna de Goya
This is a painting that we can frame within the most intimate line of rococo art. It presents us with the family in an interior environment, but without a specific background. The protagonists are those portrayed and as more familiar notes appear the toys or the puppy.
He introduces us to the Duke, his wife and the four children that the couple had at that time. The duke dresses like a soldier and, yes, in mourning for the death of his father. While the lady is in the fashion of the time with a French-inspired dress. At the same time that the children are decked out for the occasion of being immortalized in the portrait, but Goya has been able to convey that they are children and that they are actually thinking of playing.
The truth is that the painter had great affection for this family, since they were the first patrons he had when he arrived in Madrid. For that reason there are different works in which he portrayed them. Although this time it was one ofthe first times he did a family portrait, a variety of the genre that was not too used to in Spanish art.
Hence, some historians think that this familiar pose would be a proposal from the dukes themselves, who were among the personalities who represented the Enlightenment in Spain and knew the fashions cultural events that took place in other European countries, where this type of portrait was much more common. Although it must be understood not only as a sample of their culture and modernity, at the same time appearing in such an image placed them at a very high level of the aristocracy, at a height very close to the royal family itself, which Goya would also immortalize. in the famous Family of Carlos IV.
But pictorially you have to appreciate how Goya knows how to eliminate any accessory element from the background. He is not so interested in capturing the social level of those portrayed, as being able to make a psychological portrait of them. Hence, the dresses are not the protagonists either, in fact they are repeated between the characters. But instead, the faces of all of them are different, and therein lies the true art of the painter's portrait.