|Charles IV of Spain and his Family,|
1800-01, Francisco Goya
Legend has it that this master painter worked with such effortless agility he could complete a painted likeness in as little as two or three hours. This no doubt was a quality much admired by the impatient, spoiled royalty of the Spanish court for whom he worked much of his life. His group portrait of the exceedingly homely family of King Charles IV probably did more to destroy any notion of nobility of this unnoteworthy ruling clan than all the exclamations of Spanish royal adversaries put together. Yet strangely enough, Goya managed to pull it off while maintaining himself in the good graces of his royal patron.
|The Naked Maja, 1800, Francisco Goya|
|The Clothed Maja, 1803, Francisco Goya|
The next day, when he descended upon the Goya's humble abode, he found his wife's picture, rendered quite beautifully, but also quite tastefully dressed. In a single night, Goya was reported to have painted a second version, now known as The Clothed Maja, to avoid the wrath of her outraged husband. The legend, of course, is just that, a legend. Both paintings do exist, but the second was done several years later, after the duchess became a widow. Somehow, I like the legend better.