Francisco de Goya

Ferdinand VII (Fernando VII)

Ferdinand VII (Fernando VII)
Datos Generales
MAS, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of de Santander and Cantabria, Santander, Spain
225 x 124 cm
Técnica y soporte
Oil on canvas
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Documented work
MAS, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Santander and Cantabria
Ficha: realización/revisión
14 Apr 2010 / 14 Apr 2021

Following Ferdinand VII's period of captivity in Valençay (France), the Municipal Council of Santander decided to commission Goya to paint a portrait of the monarch, to be hung in the town hall.

The council gave the following specifications for the portrait: "The painting must be seven feet tall and of proportional width. The portrait must be full-length and frontal; in the dress of Colonel of the Guard and with the royal insignia. He should have one hand resting on the pedestal of a statue of Spain, crowned with a laurel wreath, and on this pedestal must be the sceptre, the crown and the robe: at its base, a lion with broken chains in its claws. The work on the head must be very carefully done and a close likeness is desired". The artist was also requested to complete the work as quickly as possible, to which Goya responded that he would need at least fifteen days, charging for the job 8,000 reales, which would have been paid once work had finished. He signed a receipt for this very amount on 1 December 1814.

Until the death of the king, this painting remained on display in the meeting room of Santander city hall. It was later forgotten for a time until it entered the collection of the municipal fine art museum.

Análisis artístico

This portrait depicts Ferdinand VII wearing several medals and honours, including the blue and white sash of the Order of Charles III, and the large insignia of the Order of the Golden Fleece that hangs around his neck.In the background we see a statue on top of a pedestal.

This is the allegory of Spain, wearing a laurel wreath and baring her breasts. When the painting was made, she would have been crowing the king with her right hand. According to Salvador Carretero, she symbolizes the constitutional mother of the Spanish people. However, in view of the events occurring in Spain following the arrival of the monarch (the abolition of the Constitution of 1812, the restoration of the Inquisition, etc.) and which resulted in the crushing of the liberal regime, Goya made some changes to this portrait, including the removal of Ferdinand VII's laurel wreath. The figure of the lion at the king's feet would have symbolized the liberation of the Spanish people with the expulsion of the French troops.

The king is resting his left arm on the ermine-lined robes of state, on top of which sit the crown and the baton, the symbols of his royal power.The vividness of the colours, especially the red of the king's waistcoat and the ermine robe, are particularly striking and lend the painting a luminous feeling. As in so many of Goya's portraits, the brushstrokes are thickly applied.

For further biographical information, see Ferdinand VII.



The painting was restored in 1947.

  • Goya
    Festival Internacional de Granada, Palacio de Carlos V
    consultant editor Enrique Lafuente Ferrari
  • De Tiépolo à Goya
    Galerie des Beaux-Arts
    consultant editor Gilberte Martin-Méry. From May 7th to July 31st 1956
  • Francisco de Goya. IV Centenario de la capitalidad
    organized by Ayuntamiento de Madrid and Dirección General de Bellas Artes at the Casón del Buen Retiro
    consultant editor Valentín de Sambricio
  • Goya
    Musée Jacquemart-André
    consultant editor Jean-Gabriel Domergue. From December 1961 to February 1962
  • Goya and his times
    The Royal Academy of Arts
    cat. 66
  • Goya
    Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis
    The Hauge
    organized by Ministerio de Estado y Asuntos Culturales and Réunion des Musées Nationaux, July 4th to September 13th 1970. Exhibited also at the Musée de l’Orangerie des Tuileries, Paris, October 25th to December 7th 1970, consultant editors Jeannine Baticle and A. B. de Vries
  • De Greco á Picasso. Cinq siècles d’art espagnol
    Musée du Petit Palais
    from October 10th 1987 to January 3th 1988
  • Goya y el espíritu de la Ilustración
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    from October 6th to December 18th 1988. Exhibited also at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, January 18th to March 26th 1989; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nueva York, May 9th to July 16th 1989, Madrid curator Manuela B. Mena Marqués, scientific directors Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez and Eleanor A. Sayre
  • Goya
    La Lonja, Torreón Fortea y Museo Pablo Gargallo
    consultant editor Julián Gállego
  • Realidad e imagen. Goya 1746 – 1828
    Museo de Zaragoza
    consultant editor Federico Torralba Soriano. From October 3th to December 1st 1996
  • E. Ortiz De La Torre
    Un retrato de Fernando VII por Goya
    Boletín de la Biblioteca Menendez y PelayoI
    pp. 23 -60
  • Valentín de (comisario) Sambricio
    Francisco de Goya, IV Centenario de la Capitalidad
    MadridExcmo. Ayuntamiento de Madrid y Dirección General de Bellas Artes
    pp. 27 y 28, cat. X
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    p. 297
  • vol. I, p. 361, cat. 630
  • José Camón Aznar
    Francisco de Goya, 4 vols.
    ZaragozaCaja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Aragón y Rioja
    vol. IV, p. 35
  • MENA, Manuela B. (comisaria) and PÉREZ SÁNCHEZ, Alfonso E. y SAYRE, Eleanor A. (directores)
    Goya y el espíritu de la Ilustración
    MadridMuseo del Prado
    pp. 366, 367 (il.) y 368, cat. 118
  • Julián Gállego
    pp. 122 y 123 (il.), cat. 45
  • Federico (comisario) Torralba Soriano
    Realidad e imagen. Goya 1746 – 1828
    Madrid, Gobierno de Aragón y Electa
    pp. 170 y 171, cat. 60
  • Salvador Carretero Rebés
    El Fernando VII de Francisco de Goya del Museo de Bellas Artes de Santander
    Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo de Santander y Cantabria /MAS
    pp. 152-169
Enlaces externos
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