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Doña Francisca Vicenta Chollet y Caballero

Doña Francisca Vicenta Chollet y Caballero, 1806

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
Spanish, 1746-1828
Oil on canvas
overall: 40 1/2 in x 31 7/8 in
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

In 1799, Francisco de Goya was made First Court Painter to King Charles IV of Spain. For the next ten years he painted numerous official portraits of the royal family, and many portraits of subjects of the court circle. In 1801, he painted Antonio Noriega de Bada y Bermúdez (National Gallery, Washington), the court treasurer and the husband of the sitter in this picture, who in that year was awarded the honorific membership in the Order of Carlos III. Five years later, the painter finished this portrait of Doña Francisca, in which he combines elements of delicate detail with great finesse—the embroidery of her silk dress, her sparkling tiara, and the dog’s outrageous collar—with an equally free, palpable brushwork. X-rays of portions of the composition, including her pose and the scampish pug, reveal final alterations made by Goya, causing some scholars to speculate that the portraits of husband and wife were originally intended as pendants. The ultimate simplicity of the composition and reduction of spatial depth give the subject a quiet and intimate character, despite her diffident aire.

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