- Reference number
- Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de (Spanish)
- José Álvarez de Toledo, Marquis of Villafranca and Duke of Alba
- Ca. 1795
- 195 cm x 126 cm
- On display
- Madrid 1795, marquesa viuda de Villafranca (?), 1801; por herencia al XII marqués de Villafranca, 1821; por herencia a don Pedro Álvarez de Toledo y Palafox, XIII marqués de Villafranca, 1867; por herencia a su hijo, don José Joaquín Álvarez de Toledo y Silva, duque de Medina-Sidonia; pasa a su hijo, don Alonso Álvarez de Toledo y Caro, XV Marqués de los Vélez y XXVI conde de Niebla, quien lo legó (1897) al Museo del Prado, ingresando en 1926, a la muerte de su viuda, doña Trinidad Caballero y Muguiro, que lo tuvo en usufructo.
José Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba and XI Marquis of Villafranca was the husband of María Teresa de Silva, Duchess of Alba. He is portrayed full length, wearing a yellowish frock coat, a blue-speckled white vest, greenish grey stockings and black riding boots with spurs.
The Duke leans on a desk that bears a violin and a black hat. In his hands he holds the score to Four Songs with Accompaniment by Franz Joseph Haydn, whom this nobleman had commissioned to write several compositions.
These numerous details are far from superfluous. They were subtly introduced by Goya to bring out the virtues of this personage, who was a virtuoso musician and multi-instrumentalist, though this did not keep him from enjoying the virile pastimes of aristocracy, such as riding horses.
This, one of Goya's most beautiful portraits, stands out not only for its masterful pictorial technique but also for the perfect construction of the space, whose perspective is accentuated by the position of the desk.