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Francisco Goya Gallery     Prints.     Full biography.
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828)
By the 1780s Goya was Spain's leading painter, specializing in religious pictures and portraits. He left a ruthlessly penetrating record of his patrons and private expressions of introspection, moral objectivity, and caustic commentary on his times. A 1792 illness left Goya deaf and mentally broken. He turned inward and began painting dark, disturbing, private works. His etchings expressed his distaste for the corrupt, fanatical establishment, particularly the Church, for whom he worked. During the Napoleonic wars, Goya recorded his reactions to the occupying French army’s atrocities. By 1814, the repressive Spanish monarchy was restored and Goya resumed painting the royals, whom he portrayed with at times unflattering frankness.
3rd of MAY 1808
Marquesa de Santiago
Bullfight
Reclining Nude
SATURN DEVOURING HIS SON
WINE HARVEST
FORGE

Viewer

Portrait of the Marquesa de Santiago, 1804
Oil on canvas 82 1/2 x 49 3/4 in.
Getty Museum  

The Marquesa de Santiago stands full-length in front of a landscape of gently sloping hills. Well-born, very wealthy, and a commanding presence, she confronts the viewer directly. Her white lace mantilla extends to her knees, and she holds a closed fan in her left hand. Heavily applied make-up accentuates her features. Known for her dissolute lifestyle, the Marquesa died at the age of forty-three, three years after this portrait was made. An English visitor to Spain once described her as "very profligate and loose in her manners and conversations, and scarcely admitted into female society…and said to boast of her nocturnal revels."

While contemporary portraitists sought to convey ideal beauty with a highly finished technique, Goya used a more expressionistic handling of the paint. Broad, quick brushstrokes describe her dark dress, and the application of thick impasto suggests the gold braid on the Marquesa's sleeve and lace of her mantilla. In the background, crude cottages and trees are merely indicated with wide, rapid sweeps of the brush.
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