María de las Nieves Micaela Fourdinier, the Painter's Wife1783. Oil on copperplate, 37 x 27.7 cm.
The sitter, dressed in the French style, plays a melody on her musical box. Her far-away expression reflects the sensibility that was fashionable in female portraits at this period. At the base of the window frame with its garland of roses, symbol of love, is the dedication: Luis Paret wishing to paint his beloved wife in colour did so in the year 1783.
The painter´s wife is shown with a luxurious dress and a complicated haird that includes a small bouquet of flowers similar to the floral paintings this artist made some years before (P1042 and P1043). She sits on a chair, in three-quarters and holding a music box, and her appearance evokes a melancholy atmosphere. This sensation of distance is reinforced by the fact that we see her through a window frame adorned with rose tendrils —symbolizing love— and a Greek inscription. All of this frames the figure in a sort of trompe l´oeuil. Paret masterfully unfolds a variety of different manners of painting to distinguish between the softness of his wife´s hair —with extremely fine brushstrokes— and the rigidity of her white satin dress, capturing its highlights with expressive touches.