Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
Oil on canvas
20 1/2 x 16 1/4 in. (52.1 x 41.3 cm)
Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum purchase with funds donated by The Meadows Foundation and a gift from Mrs. Eugene McDermott, in honor of the Meadows Museum's 50th Anniversary, MM.2013.08
Listen to Meadows Museum docent Edith Krutilek discuss this work (2:06 minutes)
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828)
Portrait of Mariano Goya, the Artist's Grandson, 1827
by Edith Krutilek, Meadows Museum docent
We see a well-appointed young man dressed as a young gentleman of his time, with cravat and coat. We are privy knowing that Mariano is Goya’s grandson; the sitter for the portrait, and his grandfather the painter. Knowing this, and taking a closer look at Mariano, we see a young man who sits in a genteel and respectful manner for his grandfather, and, while we can’t see Goya, we can see the portrait before us and sense that Goya has rendered a portrait that emanates his love for Mariano.
As an important anecdote: Goya became seriously ill in his forties. This illness left him deaf for the rest of his life. However, this was not an impediment or deterrent to Goya, for his oeuvre includes numerous works such as etchings, aquatints, lithographs, and paintings such as this portrait.
What makes this portrait even more special is that Goya dedicated it on the reverse side of the canvas. It reads in Spanish as follows: “Goya á su nieto en 1827 a los 81 años de su edad” and I translate as: “Goya to his grandson, in 1827 at 81 years of age.” Goya was prolific until his last days. He died a few months after painting this portrait of and for Mariano.
This work is a 16-inch by 20-inch vertical portrait of a male figure from the waist up. The man is situated in the center of the composition facing the viewer from a slightly turned angle. He wears a black suit jacket which takes up most of the lower portion of the painting. Underneath the jacket, he wears a black vest and cream dress shirt with collar upturned just below his chin. Around the collar, a gray scarf is tied neatly.
He has a round face with hints of pink in his cheeks and chin. He also has light brown eyes, thick brown eyebrows, a straight and angular nose, full lips, and a small dark mark on his lower left cheek—perhaps a scar or birthmark. Dark brown, cheek-bone-length curls contrast with his medium-light skin tone. The background is a medium gray with strokes of paler grays and subtle blues.