María Francisca de la Gándara, Countess widow of Calderón1846. Oil on canvas, 128 x 98 cm.
Born in 1786 in New Spain, María Francisca de la Gándara y Cardona was the widow of General Fñelix María Calleja del Rey, the last Spanish Viceroy of Mexico. She died in Valencia in 1855. She sits across from the viewer and looks directly at him. In her right hand she holds a breviary, marking the page where she intends to continue her interrupted reading. Her left hand holds a lace handkerchief, which is traditional in female portraits. The marked representation of these objects is the artist´s way of emphasizing the lady´s piety and high social standing. The qualities of the objects, especially the lace on her head, the subtle variations of the white in her handkerchief, and the varied purples of her silk dress are examples of Vicente López´s virtuoso technique.