Francisco de Goya

María del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva Álvarez de Toledo, XIII duquesa de Alba

María del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva Álvarez de Toledo, XIII  duquesa de Alba
Datos Generales
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 / 23 Nov 2011

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.

Análisis artístico

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.



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    Ministerio de Instrucción Pública and Bellas Artes
    consultant editors Aureliano de Beruete, Alejandro Ferrant, Marqués de Pidal and Ricardo Velázquez. May 1900
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    Sociedad Española de Amigos del Arte
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    The Royal Academy of Arts
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    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Fernando Álvarez de Sotomayor. From April to May 1928
  • Exposición conmemorativa del centenario de Goya
    Palacio de Oriente
    organized by Patrimonio Nacional. June 1946
  • 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 en las colecciones madrileñas
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Enrique Lafuente Ferrari. From April 19th to June 20th 1983
  • Goya. La década de Los Caprichos
    organized 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 1993
  • El Retrato español, de El Greco a Picasso
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    from October 20th 2004 to February 6th 2005
  • Goya en tiempos de guerra
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Manuela B. Mena Marqués, from April 14th to July 13th 2008
  • Colección Casa de Alba
    Museo de Bellas Artes
    consultant editor Valme Muñoz. From October 15th 2009 to January 10th 2010
  • L'œuvre peint de Goya. 4 vols
    Xavier Desparmet Fitz-Gerald
    p. 79, cat. 361
  • Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    Juliet Wilson and Pierre Gassier
    p. 170, cat. 351
    Office du livre
  • Goya, 1746 – 1828. Biografía, estudio analítico y catálogo de sus pinturas, 4 vols.
    José Gudiol
    vol. I, p. 289, cat. 334
  • Goya en las colecciones madrileñas
    Enrique (comisario) Lafuente Ferrari
    pp. 158, 159,160 y 161 (il.), cat. 23
    Amigos del Museo del Prado
  • Goya en tiempos de guerra
    Manuela B. (comisaria) Mena Marqués
    pp. 137, 138 y 139 (il.), cat. 5
    Museo Nacional del Prado
  • Colección Casa de Alba
    Valme Muñoz
    cat. 21
    Consejería de cultura de Andalucía
Enlaces externos
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