- House of Alba Foundation, Madrid, Spain
- 194 x 130 cm
- Técnica y soporte
- Oil on canvas
- Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
- Documented work
- Fundación Casa de Alba
- Ficha: realización/revisión
- 22 Feb 2010 / 12 May 2022
A la Duquesa / de Alba Frco. De / Goya 1795 ("To the Duchess / of Alba Francisco De / Goya 1795", bottom left).
Until 1834-1840 there is no documentation recording the provenance of this canvas, at which point it reappears in the possession of the Duchess of Berwick and Alba, in the Liria Palace in Madrid, where it has remained until the present day.
María del Pilar Cayetana de Silva Álvarez de Toledo, (Madrid, 1762 - 1802), the 13th Duchess of Alba, was painted by Goya several times. On this occasion Goya painted her at the age of thirty-three, wearing an elegant long white dress which enhances her figure and is notable for the red sash tied at the waist matching the ribbons of the same colour placed at her bust and in her hair. The quality of the material of the Duchess's dress is striking and is painted with great skill, as is her long mane of curly hair: it falls to her waist and is styled in a fashion popular at the end of the 18th century. The red and white colours of the dress may be a reference to the crest of the House of Alba; in the 18th century their coat-of-arms was draped in a purple, ermine-lined robe.
Her face is not particularly expressive; this, according to Gudiol, contributes to the creation of an image more akin to a religious icon than the portrait of a society lady.
Her hand points down to the floor, indicating the inscription mentioned above. Her right wrist is decorated with gold bracelets, and on her upper arm she is wearing another gold and enamel bracelet which carries the initials of her illustrious family names: an "S" for Silva and a "T" for Álvarez de Toledo, her husband's name.
By her side we can see a white poodle, which was painted in at a later date. Its back leg is decorated with a red bow matching those worn by the Duchess.
The common belief that this painting forms a pair with the portrait of her husband, the Duke of Alba, is now questioned.
Goya 1900Ministerio de Instrucción Pública and Bellas ArtesMadrid1900consultant editors Aureliano de Beruete, Alejandro Ferrant, Marqués de Pidal and Ricardo Velázquez. May 1900cat. 36
Retratos de mujeres españolas por artistas españoles anteriores a 1850Sociedad Española de Amigos del ArteMadrid1918cat. 32
Spanish paintingsThe Royal Academy of ArtsLondon1920cat. 115
Pinturas de GoyaMuseo Nacional del PradoMadrid1928consultant editor Fernando Álvarez de Sotomayor. From April to May 1928cat. 43
Exposición conmemorativa del centenario de GoyaPalacio de OrienteMadrid1946organized by Patrimonio Nacional. June 1946cat. 11
Francisco de Goya. IV Centenario de la capitalidadorganized by Ayuntamiento de Madrid and Dirección General de Bellas Artes at the Casón del Buen RetiroMadrid1961consultant editor Valentín de Sambriciocat. 14
Goya en las colecciones madrileñasMuseo Nacional del PradoMadrid1983consultant editor Enrique Lafuente Ferrari. From April 19th to June 20th 1983cat. 23
Goya. La década de Los CaprichosMadrid1992organized by Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando sponsored by Fundación Central Hispano, Madrid, consultant editor Nigel Glendinnig. From October 26th 1992 to January 10th 1993cat. 16
El Retrato español, de El Greco a PicassoMuseo Nacional del PradoMadrid2004from October 20th 2004 to February 6th 2005cat. 61
Goya en tiempos de guerraMuseo Nacional del PradoMadrid2008consultant editor Manuela B. Mena Marqués, from April 14th to July 13th 2008cat. 5
Colección Casa de AlbaMuseo de Bellas ArtesSevilla2009consultant editor Valme Muñoz. From October 15th 2009 to January 10th 2010cat. 21
L'œuvre peint de Goya. 4 volsParís1928-1950p. 79, cat. 361
Vie et ouvre de Francisco de GoyaParísOffice du livre1970p. 170, cat. 351
BarcelonaPolígrafa1970vol. I, p. 289, cat. 334
Goya en las colecciones madrileñasMadridAmigos del Museo del Prado1983pp. 158, 159,160 y 161 (il.), cat. 23
Goya en tiempos de guerraMadridMuseo Nacional del Prado2008pp. 137, 138 y 139 (il.), cat. 5
Colección Casa de AlbaSevillaConsejería de Cultura de la Junta de Andalucía2009cat. 21