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Portrait of a Lady
Esteve, Agustín
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Esteve, Agustín

Valencia (Spain), 1753 - Valencia (Spain), 1820

See author's file

Portrait of a Lady

Ca. 1815. Oil on canvas.
On display elsewhere

This female effigy was once attributed to the Andalusian artist José Gutiérrez de la Vega (Seville, 1791–Madrid, 1865), of similar style to Murrillo. From a formal point of view, however, after analysing the aesthetic and technical characteristics of the piece, this claim was untenable. Therefore, in 1999, authorship of the piece was changed to the one it currently possesses. It depicts an elegant lady, whose attire evidences her affluent social status. Half of her body is visible, while she sits on an armchair of which a brief fragment of the back can be perceived. She is depicted in a three-quarter pose, with her face turned slightly to the left in relation to her body. However, she is not fully facing the front. She stands out against a dark neutral background, which, together with well-calculated uniform lighting, grants the figure a strong sense of volume that lends sculptural consistency to the figure. This has been successfully achieved, although there is a certain solemnity, accentuated in her features by the grimace on her face. She is a woman with large eyes, marked eyebrows and a firm nose. She has a mole under her nose that slightly livens up her facial features, which possess a serene rigidity, probably imposed by the stern general attitude that the sitter exhibits herself. She is dressed in the typical fashion of that time, heiress to the traditions of the Empire style. She is also wearing jewellery that enhances her natural attractiveness, contributing to the effect of discreet lavishness that she conveys to the viewer. Her exposed forehead is ennobled by an austere, middle parted hairstyle, which is gathered in a bun halfway down her head. It is contained by an ornate diadem headband, probably made of gold (or gilt metal). This diadem headband was sometimes held in place by a comb, decorated around the border with a series of tiny half-spheres, customary at the time. Her jewellery and neatly styled hair are sheltered by a light-coloured lace mantilla. The latter descends over the shoulders, drapes over her arms and ends up gathered with refined carelessness under her breasts. This mantilla is being used as a shawl, halfway between a garment for warmth and an ornamental garment. A beaded necklace, apparently made of coral and, from which dangles a gold medallion, hangs around her neck. Her outfit is completed by a dress with sleeves. Her bust is covered by a type of jerkin made of a different fabric where delicate tones contrast with the dark colouring of the main garment. Her hands are visible. She wears gold rings with rhinestones on both hands, and in the right hand, she firmly holds a fan. Everything in the work leads us to believe that this is a female portrait somewhere between protocol and everyday life, which could be of an aristocratic or bourgeois origin. This fact can be deduced from all the motifs observed, common to both categories, which gradually merged between 1800–1850. However, they were not easily distinguishable from one another in terms of their representation on the canvas.

Luna, J. J., Retrato de señora (h. 1815). En: Barón, J.: El retrato español en el Prado. De Goya a Sorolla, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2007, p.68, n. 6

Technical data

Inventory number
Esteve, Agustín
Portrait of a Lady
Ca. 1815
Height: 76.5 cm; Width: 58.5 cm
Acquired by the Spanish State and assigned to the Museo de Arte Moderno, 1948.

Bibliography +

Espinós, A.; Orihuela, M. y Royo Villanova, M., El ''Prado disperso''. Cuadros depositados en Granada. II. Museo de Bellas Artes. Palacio de Carlos V, Boletín del Museo del Prado, IV, 1983, pp. 189.

Luna, J. J., Retrato de señora (h. 1815). En: Barón, J.: El retrato español en el Prado. De Goya a Sorolla, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2007, pp. 68, n. 6.

Exhibitions +

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

El retrato español en el Prado. De Goya a Sorolla
18.12.2007 - 24.02.2008

El retrato español en el Prado. De Goya a Sorolla
03.10.2007 - 02.12.2007

El retrato español en el Prado. De Goya a Sorolla
12.06.2007 - 02.09.2007

El retrato español en el Prado. De Goya a Sorolla
05.03.2007 - 20.05.2007

Location +

Granada - Museo de Bellas Artes de Granada (Deposit)

Displayed objects +



Golden Fleece

Update date: 16-03-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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