Portrait of the Don Isabel de Porcel, Francisco de Goya

Portrait of the Don Isabel de Porcel, Francisco de Goya
Portrait of the Don Isabel de Porcel, Francisco de Goya - 1

  • Posted by Francisco de Goya
  • Museum: National Gallery (London)
  • Year: Until 1805

Overview of the painting :

Portrait of the Don Isabel de Porsel – Francisco de Goya. Until 1805. Oil on canvas. 82×54.6

   The picture was conceived as paired to the portrait of her husband donna Isabel de Porsel, don Antonio de Porcel. The couple were close friends of Goya, and he, a guest in their house, wrote them in gratitude for the cordiality. It so happened that the portrait of her husband got into Buenos Aires and was stored in a jockey club, but the fire that happened destroyed him. The portrait of the donna Isabel de Porsel, almost certainly the one that Goya selected for the exhibition at the San Fernando Academy in Madrid in 1805, remained there. In 1896, the National Gallery acquired it. A study of the picture in x-rays showed that it was written on top of a man’s image in military uniform.

   Donna Isabel on the presented canvas is dressed like a Mach. In Madrid of the 18th century, this style was associated with a woman from the bottom of society, easy behavior. But by the end of the century and at the beginning of the next, for several reasons, he became fashionable in aristocratic circles: as an expression of the national patriotic spirit and, probably, because he emphasized the female mystery and beauty of the indispensable black mantle and high waist. Such a dress justifies the pose of the model, which is characteristic of flamenco: the left hand is bent in the elbow and rests on the thigh, while the torso and head are sharply turned in the opposite direction. If it were not connected with the image of the Maha, it would be perceived very vulgarly. In the picture, the outfit and behavior are an expression of the game of aristocrat in something risky. Of course, this could not be done without the “permission” of Isabel herself (in the guise of the Maha Goya even portrayed Queen Maria Louise of Parma).