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Portrait of King Charles IV
Copy Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
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Copy Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de

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

Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de See author's file

Portrait of King Charles IV

1790. Oil on canvas.
On display elsewhere

Upon the death of Charles III, Goya was asked to paint portraits of the new monarchs, Charles Bourbon IV and his wife, María Luisa of Parma. As a recently named Royal Painter, the artist was responsible for supplying portraits of the Royal Family; aided by several painters in his workshop, he was required to fulfill the commissions of numerous different institutions and private citizens throughout Spain who wanted to have official representations of the King and Queen. The new King and Queen must have posed for live studies by the painter. These he kept in his workshop, so that he or his assistants could make from them a series of official portraits for the commissions requested of him. Experts have recently discovered beneath the surface of a curious portrait of María Luisa (P7104) what must have been the original live study of the Queen. The sharp facial expression, the precise modeling and the depth of her gaze indicate that this was undoubtedly the first portrait of her, and that it was painted from life; moreover, the dress and large hat, in fashion in 1789, remain, lightly sketched. The later repainting, from Goya´s hand, covered the close-fitting earlier dress as well as the large, gauzy, feathered hat, and the black mole on her temple, which had also gone out of style by the turn of the century. He nevertheless preserved the youthful face of the sovereign, which contrasts strangely with the new fashions of 1800.

This portrait demonstrates the working methods of the artist. Numerous versions survive, each with its own slight changes and variations. Among the many royal portraits, those requested to preside over the meeting hall of the Royal History Academy in 1789 are perhaps the loveliest and highest-quality official paintings of the new monarchs. From that time on, Goya was obliged to paint a large number of replicas of these compositions, in different formats but basically maintaining their original concept. For example, the Royal Tobacco Factory of Sevilla, the richest institution in that city, commissioned two copies in May, 1789, to be used as part of the temporary decorations put up for festivals acclaiming the new King and Queen in the Plaza de la Fama in front of the factory building. The Prado portraits follow the established model with few variations, and the artist´s assistants may have worked on them. Goya was not much given to this type of formal portrait, in which his inspiration was constrained by protocol and previous royal images, but in spite of this, these are good examplesof his inventive capacity and the quality of his painting. Compared to the affected portraits already done by Maella, lifeless variants of Meng´s style, these paintings by Goya at the least express their subjects´personalities, well known from literary descriptions of the time. Charles IV is kindly and lost in thought, just as Goya would have seen him in those years, when, for example, during an audience, according to Goya´s own account in his correspondence with his friend Martín Zapater, the King would affectionately ask after his son´s health, then absent-mindedly take up his violin without further commentary. The Queen had been a lively and graceful beauty in her youth; by 1789 she had lost most of her charms, but Goya depicted her as an elegant woman according to the extravagant fashion of the time, interested in what was going on around her, with an alert and curious gaze and an agreeable smile. The rang of the colors is exquisite, and the artist has placed the figures in front of a set of green silk curtains, painted with vibrant and rapid brushstrokes that were far removed from the belabored and highly polished technique of Mengs and his followers (Text drawn from Mena, Manuela., The Majesty of Spain, Jackson, Mississippi, 2001, pp. 84-85).

Morales Vallejo, J., Ruiz Gómez, L. (dir.), The Majesty of Spain. Royal Collections from The Museo del Prado & The Patrimonio Nacional, Jackson (Mississippi), Mississipi Commission For International Cultural Exchange, 2001, p.84-85


Technical data

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Inventory number
Copy Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
Portrait of King Charles IV
Height: 152 cm; Width: 110 cm
Acquisition for the Prado Museum in 1911.

Bibliography +

Tormo y Monzó, Elías, ''Las pinturas de Goya y su clasificación y distribución cronológicas (con motivo de la exposición de sus obras en Madrid)''. En: Varios Estudios de Artes y Letras, I, Viuda e Hijos de M.Tello, Madrid, 1902, pp. 201, n. 179.

Loga, V. von, Francisco de Goya, G. Grote`sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Berlín, 1903, pp. 186, n. 98.

Calvert, Albert F., Goya, John Lane, Londres; Nueva York:, 1908, pp. 122, n. 5.

Beroqui, Pedro, Adiciones y correcciones al catálogo del Museo del Prado, II/I, [s.n.], Valladolid, 1914, pp. 21, n. 1322.

Beruete y Moret, Aureliano de, Goya. Pintor de retratos, I, Blass y Cía, Madrid, 1916, pp. 30-31; 169, n. 20.

Loga, V. von, Francisco de Goya, G. Grote`sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Berlín, 1921, pp. 184, n. 98.

Mayer, August L., Francisco de Goya, F. Bruckmann A. G, Munich, 1923, pp. 182, n. 119.

Desparmet Fitz-Gerald, X., L'oeuvre peint de Goya. Catalogue raisonné, II, F. de Nobele, París:, 1928-1950, pp. 59, n. 340.

Sambricio, Valentín, Los retratos de Carlos IV y María Luisa de Parma, por Goya, Archivo Español de Arte, XXX, 1957, pp. 87.

Sambricio, Valentín, Exposición Francisco de Goya. IV Centenario de la capitalidad, Ayuntamiento de Madrid, Dirección General de Bellas Artes, Madrid:, 1961, pp. 101, LXXX.

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. n. 283.

Salas, Xavier de (dir.), El Arte de Goya, Mainichi Shimbun, Tokio:, 1971, pp. n. 24.

Angelis, Rita de, L`Opera Pittorica Completa Di Goya, Rizzoli, Milán, 1974, pp. 104.

Gassier, Pierre, Vida y obra de Francisco de Goya: reproducción de su obra completa: pinturas, dibujos y grabados, Juventud, Barcelona, 1974.

Angelis, Rita de, La obra pictórica completa de Goya, Noguer, Barcelona, 1975, pp. 104.

Hofmann, W. (dir.), Goya. Das Zeitalter der Revolution. Kunst um 1789-1830, Prestel Verlag München; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburgo, 1980.

Camón Aznar, José, Francisco de Goya, II, Caja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Aragón y Rioja, Zaragoza, 1981, pp. 74-75.

Pérez Sánchez, A. E., ''Los Goya de Tabacalera'', en Rodríguez Gordillo, J. M.: Goya. Retratos para la Real Fábrica de Tabacos de Sevilla, Tabapress para Tabacalera S. A., [S.L.], 1985, pp. 66.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 274, n. 740b.

Morales y Marín, José Luis, Goya. Catalogo de la Pintura, Academia de Bellas Artes de San Luis, Zaragoza, 1994, pp. 212, n. 193b.

El "Prado disperso". Cuadros depositados en Zaragoza, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XVI, 1995, pp. 76.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, Madrid, 1996, pp. 157, n. 7103.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996, pp. 348, n. 1336.

Cancela Ramírez de Arellano, M. L., ''Retrato de Carlos IV'', en Torralba, F. (dir.): Realidad e imagen. Goya, 1746-1828, Gobierno de Aragón, Zaragoza:, 1996, pp. 104.

Morales y Marín, José Luis, Las parejas reales de Goya. Retratos de Carlos IV y María Luisa de Parma, Real Academia de Nobles y Bellas Artes de San Luis, Zaragoza:, 1997, pp. 19, n. 3.

Luna, J. J., ''Carlos IV''. En:, El Conde de Aranda, Gobierno de Aragon, Zaragoza, 1998, pp. 366-367, n. 351.

Morales Vallejo, J., Ruiz Gómez, L. (dir.), The Majesty of Spain. Royal Collections from The Museo del Prado & The Patrimonio Nacional, Mississipi Commission For International Cultural Exchange, Jackson (Mississippi), 2001, pp. 84-85.

Vega, Jesusa, ''Carlos IV (de azul)'', en Goya 1900. Catálogo ilustrado y estudio de la exposición en el Ministerio de Instrucción Pública y Bellas Artes, II, D. Gral. de BB.AA. y Bienes Culturales, Instituto del Patrimonio Histórico Español, Madrid:, 2002, pp. 282-284, n. 179.

Mano, José Manuel de la, ''Goya versus Bayeu: de la Proclamación a la Exaltación de Carlos IV'', en Ansón Navarro, A. (dir.): Francisco Bayeu y discípulos, Cajalón, Zaragoza, 2007, pp. 148-154.

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 740 B.

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1336.
''Autor= D. Francisco Goya/ 1336 Asunto = retrato de Carlos IV/ Lleva casaca azul bordada con plata, espadín y apoya la mano izquierda sobre la cadera. Figura de más de medio cuerpo y tamaño natural./ Dimensiones = alto 1,52 ancho 1,10'' [Al margendel nº 1335], Procede del Ministerio de Hacienda incorporado al Museo por Reales órdenes de 15 de febrero y 10 de marzo de 1911 lo mismo que los tres siguientes

Exhibitions +

Intercambio con la Fondazione Magnani-Rocca: Goya e Italia
18.05.2008 - 15.09.2008

Tha majesty of spain. Royal collections from the Museo del Prado & patrimonio nacional (La majestad de España)
Jackson MS
01.03.2001 - 03.09.2001

El Conde de Aranda
23.09.1998 - 10.01.1999

Location +

Zaragoza - Museo de Zaragoza (Deposit)

Displayed objects +

Insignia of the Royal Order of Saint Genaro

Order of the Holy Ghost

Golden Fleece

Crown / Wreath

Cloak, Royal / Robes, Royal

Update date: 26-05-2022 | Registry created on 21-07-2018

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