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Young woman asleep on a hammock
Paret y Alcázar, Luis
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Paret y Alcázar, Luis

Madrid (Spain), 1746 - Madrid (Spain), 1799

Paret y Alcázar, Luis See author's file

Young woman asleep on a hammock

1780 - 1781. Oil on copperplate.
Room 093

This small painting is one of Paret’s most exquisite creations. It was located and published in 1988 by Luna, who rectified the erroneous attribution to the Austrian Rococo painter Johann Georg Platzer (1704–1761). A young woman is depicted in a modest interior with a tiled floor and wood-panelled walls adorned with paintings and a mirror. She stands out in front of drapery, sleeping placidly on a hammock and leaning on one of her feet. She wears an elegant white-and-blue silk dress with a golden ruffle and short sleeves adorned with red ribbons that match her bonnet. Her head, resting on her left hand, rests on a lace-covered cushion, while in her other hand, she blithely holds a handkerchief. Before climbing into the hammock, she has taken off one of her silk shoes and has left one breast unclothed as she falls asleep. In the background is a cabinet containing tin dishes, a bottle and a glass vase with roses, which reflects – in the manner of 17th-century Dutch painting – the light coming in through the open window. The window suggests a light breeze diffusing the perfume of roses, which are often a symbol of love, but also of vanity. The mirror may also epitomise purity, which contrasts with the inconstancy evoked by the swaying of the hammock. On the other hand, the glass of the containers may allude to the frailty of feminine virtue, probably already lost, as the fallen bottle and glass cup in the foreground of the canvas seem to convey.

The theme of the sleeping young woman who draws the voyeur’s unwitting gaze dates to classical literature. Likewise, the figure painted by Paret recalls the classical sculpture Sleeping Ariadne whose head also rests on her hand and whose breasts are also exposed. The handkerchief in the hand – which suggests an unveiling of the secret and the unseen – is a motif present in the nude mortals and goddesses of Titian’s ‘poesie’. For instance, in Danae and the shower of gold (Museo del Prado). The allusions to the classical world ennoble the erotic scene. The exotic air of a distant world, suggested by the hammock – an object that the artist may have become acquainted with in Puerto Rico and whose origin was in Central and South America – as well as by the Mexican rocking chair rouse the viewer’s imagination.

The painting stands out for its technique of fast and loose, yet confident and precise, brushstrokes. He uses only those brushstrokes that are strictly necessary to outline the figure and the various objects and to create the different planes of space that are startlingly deep. The ochre-coloured layer covering the reddish mixture contributes to the luminosity and warm tone of the painting. It also acts as a half-tone amidst the great variety of light and dark colours. The few brushstrokes that hint at the young woman’s dress create not only an effect of transparency, but also a sensation of the fleeting moment and of pleasure in general. This strategy reveals Paret’s mastery and subtlety in conveying a universal message through the technique and the materiality of the pigments, a demonstration of his modernity.

As for the date, this work has been related to the Prayer of the rosary and the drawing of Celestina and the lovers of 1784, which share similarities in the depicted interiors. At the same time, the figure and her anatomy do not yet reveal the realism seen in those works, which is why it has also been dated to the artist’s years in Puerto Rico. Nonetheless, the modelling of the drapery recalls that of The Circumspection of Diogenes from 1780, executed after his return to Spain. According to the current study of his work, the copper support (which the painter did not use until his Bilbao period) would also indicate that Paret may have painted this picture after having just returned to Spain.

Maurer, Gudrun, 'Luis Paret y Alcázar. Joven dormida en una hamaca' En:. Paret, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2022, p.180-181 nº 43


Technical data

Inventory number
Paret y Alcázar, Luis
Young woman asleep on a hammock
1780 - 1781
Height: 19 cm; Width: 15 cm
French art market; private collection, Madrid, 1988; acquired by the State from Christopher González-Aller S. L. for the Museo del Prado, 2012.

Bibliography +

Pardo Canalís, E, Libros y cuadros de Paret en 1787, Revista de ideas estéticas, 90, 1965, pp. 109.

Luna, J.J, Luis Paret y Alcázar. Obras inéditas y otras consideraciones sobre su pintura, Archivo español de arte, LXI, 244, 1988, pp. 374-375.

Luis Paret y Alcazar, 1746-1799, Servicio Central de Publicaciones del Gobierno Vasco, Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1991, pp. 278-281 n.29.

Morales y Marín, José Luis, Luis Paret, vida y obra, Aneto Publicaciones, Zaragoza, 1997, pp. 129-130 nº 40.

Luna, J. J, 'Joven dormida en una hamaca' En:, El Conde de Aranda, Gobierno de Aragon, Zaragoza, 1998, pp. 374-376.

González de Durana, Javier, 'Fractura pérdida y rehabilitación de Luis Paret y Alcázar' En: El arte del siglo de las luces, Fundación de Amigos, Galaxia Gutenberg, Madrid, Barcelona, 2010, pp. 293-313 [309].

Maurer, G., Goya: lo bello y lo recóndito. En: La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 340.

Mena Marqués, M.; Albarrán, V., La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, folleto, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 46 n.201.

Luna, Juan José, Luis Paret y Alcázar 'Muchacha durmiendo'. En: Museo Nacional del Prado. Memoria de Actividades 2012, Mº de Educación, Cultura y Deporte, Madrid, 2013, pp. 40-42.

Martínez, A, El pincel y la máscara. Luis Paret en la encrucijada (1766-1775), ARS Magazine. Revista de Arte y Coleccionismo, 23 (Julio-Sep.), 2014, pp. 96.

Mena Marqués, M.; Albarrán, V., Azúa, F. de, La belleza cautiva. Pequeños tesoros del Museo del Prado, Museo del Prado - Obra Social ''La Caixa'', Barcelona, 2014, pp. 166.

Prado captive beauty: treasures from the Prado Museum, Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, 2015, pp. n.77.

ALba, L. García Maíquez, J. Gayo, M.D, Jover de Celis, M. Merino Gorospe, J.L, 'Aportaciones al estudio técnico de las obras de Paret' En:, Paret, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2022, pp. 47-63 [43].

Maurer, Gudrun, 'Luis Paret y Alcázar. Joven dormida en una hamaca' En:, Paret, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2022, pp. 180-181 nº 43.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2838.

Inscriptions +

Signed. Front, lower right corner

Exhibitions +

24.05.2022 - 21.08.2022

COPIA DE - Paret
24.05.2022 - 21.08.2022

Captive Beauty. Treasures from The Prado Museum
10.10.2015 - 31.01.2016

Captive Beauty. Small Treasures at the Prado Museum
16.07.2014 - 05.01.2015

Captive Beauty. Fra Angelico to Fortuny
21.05.2013 - 10.11.2013

Location +

Room 093 (On Display)


Displayed objects +


Update date: 23-11-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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