Museums and Art

Portrait of Donna Isabel de Porsel, Francisco de Goya

Portrait of Donna Isabel de Porsel, Francisco de Goya

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Portrait of Donna Isabel de Porsel - Francisco de Goya. 82x54.6

The picture was conceived as a pair to the portrait of her husband Donna Isabel de Porsel, Don Antonio de Porsel. Spouses were close friends Goya, and he, a guest in their house, wrote them in gratitude for the hospitality. It so happened that the portrait of her husband was in Buenos Aires and was stored in a jockey club, but the fire that happened destroyed him. Portrait of Donna Isabel de Porsel, almost certainly the one that Goya selected for an exhibition at the San Fernando Academy in Madrid in 1805, remained there. In 1896, it was acquired by the National Gallery. Examination of the picture in x-rays showed that it was painted on top of the image of a man in military uniform.

Donna Isabel on the canvas presented is dressed like a mach. In Madrid in the 18th century, this style was associated with a woman from the bottom of society, easy behavior. But by the end of the century and at the beginning of the next, he became fashionable in aristocratic circles for several reasons: as an expression of the national-patriotic spirit and, probably, since he emphasized the female mystery and beauty by the indispensable black mantilla and high waist. This dress justifies the pose of the model, which is typical for flamenco: the left hand is bent at the elbow and rests on the thigh, while the torso and head are sharply turned in the opposite direction. Had it not been associated with the image of mahi, she would have been perceived very vulgarly. In the picture, attire and behavior are an expression of the aristocrat’s game of something risky. Of course, this could not have been done without Isabel’s “permission” (in the guise of a mach, Goya even portrayed Queen Mary Louise of Parma).

Watch the video: Caravaggio: His life and style in three paintings. National Gallery (August 2022).