Francisco de Goya

José de Vargas Ponce

José de Vargas Ponce
Datos Generales
The Royal Academy of History, Madrid, Spain
104 x 82 cm
Técnica y soporte
Oil on canvas
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Documented work
Royal Academy of History
Ficha: realización/revisión
21 Mar 2010 / 14 Apr 2021

D. Josef de Vargas. Por Franco. de Goya año de 1805.

Don Josef de Vargas y Ponce, Teniente de / Navio de la Real Armada. Director / de la Real Academia de la Historia / Electo en XXX de noviembre de MDCCCIV ("Don Josef de Vargas. By Franco de Goya, 1805. Don Josef de Vargas y Ponce, Lieutenant of the Royal Navy. Director of the Royal Academy of History. Elected 30 November 1804", lower part of canvas).


The Royal Academy of History commissioned Goya to paint this portrait on 10 May 1805, and the artist was paid for his work in 1806. Since then it was always belonged to this same institution.

Análisis artístico

José de Vargas Ponce (Cádiz, 1760-Madrid, 1821) was painted by Goya after being named director of the Royal Academy of History. He wrote plays and satirical poetry. He enlisted in the navy in 1782, was a midshipman, and reached the rank of captain. He was also liberal minister for Madrid from 1813 to 1820.

José de Vargas wrote to Ceán Bermúdez, also painted by Goya, to act as mediator between himself and the artist: "I want Goya to do it, who has been approached about the matter and who has given his consent. But I also want you to send him a brief note, telling him who I am and our mutual relationships, so that, seeing as this is something that the academy demands, it will not be a hasty mess, but rather the way he can do it when he really wants to".

The subject is shown sitting in front of a neutral background, wearing naval gala uniform, with his right hand concealed inside his waistcoat and his left hand hidden behind his back. This is a simple portrait in which, despite the important position held by the sitter, Goya paints him, according to Manuela Mena, as an informal and warm, yet self-confident, person.

The jacket, with its gold borders and buttons, heightens the luminosity of the portrait and the elegance of its subject.

  • Goya 1900
    Ministerio de Instrucción Pública and Bellas Artes
    consultant editors Aureliano de Beruete, Alejandro Ferrant, Marqués de Pidal and Ricardo Velázquez. May 1900
  • Pinturas de Goya
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Fernando Álvarez de Sotomayor. From Apri to -May 1928
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    organized by Ayuntamiento de Madrid and Dirección General de Bellas Artes at the Casón del Buen Retiro
    consultant editor Valentín de Sambricio
  • Goya. 250 Aniversario
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Juan J. Luna. From March 29th to June 2nd 1996
  • Goya en tiempos de guerra
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Manuela B. Mena Marqués, from April 14th to July 13th 2008
  • Francisco Javier Sánchez Cantón
    Los cuadros de Goya en la Real Academia de la Historia
    Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia Conmemorativo del Bicentenario del Nacimiento de Francisco de Goya
    pp. 7-27
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    p. 199, cat. 827
  • vol. I, p. 327, cat. 494
  • Goya. 250 Aniversario
    MadridMuseo del Prado
    pp. 218 (il.), 395 y 396, cat. 124
  • MENA, Manuela B. (comisaria)
    Goya en tiempos de guerra
    MadridMuseo Nacional del Prado
    pp. 208 y 209 (il.), cat. 38
Enlaces externos
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