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Manuel Silvela y García Aragón
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
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Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de

Fuendetodos, Zaragoza (Spain), 1746 - Bordeaux (France), 1828

Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de See author's file

Manuel Silvela y García Aragón

Ca. 1809. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

Manuel Silvela y García de Aragón was born in Valladolid on 31 October 1781. His father died when he was just seven years old. After having spent several years in Ávila under the tutelage of his uncle, he was married in Valladolid to a young woman from a well-to-do family, María de los Dolores Blanco, and his first son was born there in 1803. Five years earlier, Silvela had received his doctorate in law, theology and philosophy at the University of Valladolid. He had intended to pursue a career in law but, after failing to obtain employment, he moved to Madrid in January 1808, shortly before the Peninsular War against the forces of Napoleon broke out in May of that year. He was friends with professors and colleagues from the university who shared the ideals of the afrancesados, the term for those who supported the political and social advances in France following the French Revolution. His political allegiances thus led him, on 8 November 1809, at the age of 27, to accept the important post of Alcalde de Casa y Corte (a judge linked to the royal court) and, subsequently, membership in the Council of State in the government of Joseph Bonaparte. Joseph had been named king of Spain by his brother Napoleon in 1808. According to the biography of Silvela written by his son, he had agreed to participate in the government imposed by the French -so despised by the Spanish as a result of the war- because he shared with [his] colleagues the desire to protect as many as possible from the fury of the military. He was a close friend of the playwright and poet Leandro Fernández de Moratín, who also served in the government of Joseph I, beginning in November 1811 as Secretary of Language Translation and principal librarian in the Royal Library. Silvela may have met Francisco de Goya through Moratín. When the French government in Madrid fell in 1813, and despite the offer of important posts by the new government, Silvela left Spain for exile in France. After years of penury in Bordeaux, during which he survived by teaching Spanish, he opened a grammar school for the children of expatriates from Spain and from the newly-independent former Spanish colonies in the Americas. He also invited Moratín to join him. Silvela moved to Paris in 1827, where he continued to work as a teacher and published numerous books on political and historical subjects. He died in 1832, weakened by illness that was the effect, according to his son, of the deprivations and sorrows he suffered in exile. This portrait of Silvela was traditionally considered to be from the period of the Peninsular War. Later it was dated to Goya´s years in Bordeaux, between his arrival there in 1824 and Silvela´s departure for Paris in 1827, although this claim does not take into account the evidence of style and technique nor the age and circumstances of the sitter. In fact, the portrait looks nothing like the concise, brilliant, modern -almost romantic- technique with which Goya portrayed his sitters during those last years of his life, as in the portraits of Joaquín María Ferrer and his wife (private collection), María Martínez de Puga (1824; Frick Collection, New York), Jacques Galos (1826; Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia) or Juan Bautista de Muguiro (1828; P2898). Silvela´s age in this portrait, furthermore, supports the dating of the canvas to the period of Joseph I´s rule, when the young jurist was barely 30 and at the beginning of his political career. Other elements support this earlier date, such as the grey frockcoat with its wide lapels, the high collar wrapped in a striped cravat, as well as his hairstyle and sideburns, which all reflect the fashion around the year 1808. The sitter does not face the viewer, but rather gazes toward the right, a detail that might indicate the work was of an intimate, private nature, as in the few other occasions in which Goya painted his models in similar poses. It was surely accompanied by a pendant portrait of Silvela´s wife, which would have hung, according to custom, to the right of her husband´s image. This portrait is not mentioned in Silvela´s writings, nor in those of Moratín (which often alluded to both the politician and the painter during their years in Bordeaux), nor is there any documentation of its presence in the family´s collection until 1900. It was ultimately sold to the Prado by Silvela´s great-grandson in 1931 (Mena, M.: Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado, Queensland Art Gallery-Art Exhibitions Australia, 2012, p. 254).


Technical data

Inventory number
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
Manuel Silvela y García Aragón
Ca. 1809
Height: 95 cm; Width: 68 cm
Acquired by the Ministerio de Instrucción Pública from Jorge Silvela; assigned to the Museo del Prado, 1931.

Bibliography +

Catálogo de las obras de Goya expuestas en el Ministerio de Instrucción Pública y Bellas Artes, Ministerio de Instrucción Pública y Bellas Artes, Madrid, 1900, pp. 18, n. 44 (45).

Lafond, P., Goya, Librairie de L`Art Ancien et Moderne, París, 1902, pp. 138, n. 212.

Tormo y Monzó, Elías, Varios Estudios de Artes y Letras. Vol. I, I, Viuda e Hijos de M.Tello, Madrid:, 1902, pp. 223.

Loga, V. von, Francisco de Goya, G. Grote`sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Berlín, 1903, pp. 200, n. (285).

Calvert, A. F., Goya, John Lane, Londres; Nueva York, 1908, pp. 140, n. 233.

Catálogo de la exposición de pinturas españolas de la primera mitad del siglo XIX, Sociedad Española de Amigos del Arte, Madrid:, 1913, pp. 29, n. 152.

Beruete y Moret, Aureliano de, Goya pintor de retratos, I, Blass y Cía., 1916, pp. 148; 182, n. 278.

Loga, V. von, Francisco de Goya, G. Grote`sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Berlín, 1921, pp. 198, n. (285).

Mayer, A. L., Francisco de Goya, F. Bruckmann A. G., Munich, 1923, pp. 201, n. 421.

Lafuente Ferrari, Enrique, Catálogo ilustrado de la exposición de pinturas. Centenario de Goya, Museo del Prado, Madrid:, 1928, pp. 62-63, n. 60.

Desparmet Fitz-Gerald, X., L' œuvre peint de Goya. Catalogue raisonné, II, F. de Nobele, París:, 1928-1950, pp. 216, n. 505.

Noul, M., Sotomayor, F., Muguruza, P., Les chefs-d'oeuvre du Musée du Prado, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Ginebra, 1939, pp. 9, n. 16.

Llanos y Torriglia, F. de, ''Moratín retrata a Goya en casa de Silvela'', en: Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia conmemorativo del bicentenario del nacimiento de Don Francisco de Goya, Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid, 1946, pp. 63-73.

Sánchez Cantón, F. J., Vida y obras de Goya. Ed. en inglés: The Life and Works of Goya, Madrid: Peninsular, 1964, Peninsular, Madrid, 1951, pp. 100, 126-127.

Arean, C., Treasures of Spanish Art / Tesoros del Arte Español, Ministerio de Informacion y Turismo, Madrid:, 1968.

Gudiol, José, Goya, 1746-1828: Biografía, estudio analítico y catálogo de sus pinturas, I, Polígrafa, Barcelona, 1970, pp. 346-347, n. 567.

Gassier, Pierre y Wilson-Bareau, Juliet, Vie et oeuvre de Francisco de Goya: l' oeuvre complet illustré: peintures, dessins, gravures, Office du Livre, Fribourg, 1970, pp. 262, n. 891.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972, pp. 285, n. 2.450.

Angelis, Rita de, L'Opera Pittorica Completa Di Goya, Rizzoli, Milán, 1974, pp. 124, n. 519.

Angelis, Rita de, La obra pictórica completa de Goya, Noguer, Barcelona, 1975, pp. 124, n. 539.

Salas, Xavier de, Goya, Patronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid:, 1977, pp. 126, n. 41.

Camón Aznar, José, Francisco de Goya, III, Caja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Aragón y Rioja, Zaragoza:, 1980, pp. 171.

Gudiol, José, Goya, 1746-1828: Biographie, Etude Analytique et Catalogue de ses Peintures, I, Ediciones Poligrafa S.A., Barcelona, 1984, pp. 115, n. 536.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 297-298, n. 2.450.

Pérez Sánchez, A. E., Goya en el Prado. Historia de una colección singular. En: Goya. nuevas visiones. Homenaje a Enrique Lafuente Ferrari, Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1987, pp. 317-318.

Luna, Juan J., Spanish Painting of 18th and 19th Century. Goya and His Time, The Seibu Museum of Art, Tokio:, 1987, pp. 136, 215, n. 39.

Moreno de las Heras, M., ''Manuel Silvela'', en Pérez Sánchez, A. E. y Sayre, E. A. (dir.): Goya y el espíritu de la Ilustración, Museo del Prado, Madrid:, 1988, pp. 269-271, n. 72.

Moreno de las Heras, M., ''Manuel Silvela''. En: Goya and the spirit of enlightenment, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:, 1989, pp. 162-164, n. 72.

Morales y Marín, José Luis, Goya. Catalogo de la Pintura, Academia de Bellas Artes de San Luis, Zaragoza, 1994, pp. 303, n. 390.

Luna, J. J., Moreno de las Heras, M. (dir.), Goya: 250 Aniversario, Museo del Prado, Madrid:, 1996, pp. 434-435, n. 1.634.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, Madrid, 1996, pp. 152, n. 2.450.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996, pp. 423, n. 1.634.

Moreno de las Heras, Margarita, Goya: pinturas del Museo del Prado, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1997, pp. 340, n. 122.

García, F. (dir.), Goya y Moratín. [En Burdeos 1824-1828], Fundación Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa- Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Bilbao:, 1998, pp. n. 2.

Ribemont, F. y García, F. (dir.), Goya. Hommage. Les anées bordelaises, 1824-1828. Présence de Goya aux XIX et XX siècles, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Burdeos:, 1998, pp. 191, n. 4.

Vega, Jesusa, ''Don Leandro Fernández de Moratín [Manuel Silvela]'', en: Goya 1900. Catálogo ilustrado y estudio de la exposición en el Ministerio de Instrucción Pública y Bellas Artes, II, Dirección Gral. de BB. AA. y Bienes Culturales, Instituto del Patrimonio Histórico Español, Madrid:, 2002, pp. 96-98, n. 45.

Bozal, Valeriano, Francisco Goya. Vida y obra, II, TF Editores, Madrid:, 2005, pp. 63.

Brown, Jonathan, Goya´s Last Works, The Frick Collection; Yale University Press, Nueva York, 2006, pp. 112-117, n. 11.

Bozal, V. y Lomba Serrano, C. (dir.), Goya y el mundo moderno, Lunwerg; Fundación Goya en Aragón, Zaragoza:, 2008, pp. 88; 102, n. 10.

Bozal, V. y Lomba Serrano, C. (dir.), Goya e il mondo moderno, Skira, Milán:, 2010, pp. 91; 100, n. 5.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1634.
Autor, Goya./1634. Asunto, don Manuel Silvela./ Lienzo, 95 x 68 cm./ Nº catalogo, 2450./ Adquirido a D. Jorge Silvela en junio de 1931, por el Ministerio de Instrucción Pública...

Catálogo Goya, Pierre Gassier y Juliet Wilson. Núm. 891.

Exhibitions +

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
16.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Houston TX
15.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
22.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Brisbane, Australia
21.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Goya y el mundo moderno. Milán
15.03.2010 - 27.06.2010

Goya y el mundo moderno
18.12.2008 - 22.03.2009

El retrato español en el Prado. De Goya a Sorolla
La Coruña
11.06.2008 - 07.09.2008

El retrato español en el Prado. De Goya a Sorolla
12.03.2008 - 25.05.2008

Aragón. Los escenarios de la justicia
05.09.2007 - 30.09.2007

Aún aprendo: Goya's Last Works
Nueva York NY
10.02.2006 - 14.05.2006

Homenaje a Goya
18.05.1998 - 26.07.1998

Homenaje a Goya
01.03.1998 - 06.05.1998

Goya y el Espíritu de la Ilustración
Nueva York NY
09.05.1989 - 16.07.1989

Goya y el Espíritu de la Ilustración
18.01.1989 - 26.03.1989

Goya y el Espíritu de la Ilustración
04.10.1988 - 18.12.1988

Goya y su tiempo: Pintura Española de los siglos XVIII y XIX
29.04.1987 - 06.09.1987

Update date: 11-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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