The Family of Carlos IV
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Inventory number
P00726
Author
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
Title
The Family of Carlos IV
Chronology
1800
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimensions
280 cm x 336 cm
School
Spanish
Theme
Portrait
On display
Yes
Provenance
Royal Collection (Royal Palace, Madrid, “¿comedor del rey o en la sala de corte? ”, 1800; Royal Palace, Madrid, “antiguo dormitorio de los príncipes”, 1808; Royal Palace, Madrid, “callejón de paso a las tribunas”, 1814-1818)

This portrait of the family of King Carlos IV (1748-1819) was painted in Aranjuez and Madrid in the spring and summer of 1800, shortly after Goya was named First Chamber Painter. It clearly show's the artist's mastery at individualizing characters.

The forerunners to this complex composition are Louis-Michel van Loo's Portrait of Felipe V and his Family (P02283) and Velázquez's Las Meninas (P01174), both of which are in the Prado Museum Collection.

The scene is presided over by Queen María Luisa de Parma (1751-1818) and King Carlos IV, at the center. Beside them are their children, the infante Francisco de Paula (1794-1865) and the infanta María Isabel (1789-1848). On the left are the Prince of Asturias and future Fernando VII (1784-1833), wearing blue; the infante Carlos María de Isidro (1788-1855), who was second in succession to the throne; the infanta María Josefa (1744-1801), who was the King's sister; and an unidentified young woman. On the right are the infante Antonio Pascual (1755-1817), the King's brother; a rendering in profile of Carlota Joaquina (1775-1830), Queen of Portugal and eldest daughter of the Monarchs and the Prince and Princess of Parma: infanta María Luisa (1782-1824) holding her son Carlos Luis (1799-1883); and her husband, Luis de Bourbon, the future King of Etruria.

Of special interest here is the careful rendering of the clothing, which was the latest fashion at that time, and of the jewels, which may have been created by the Court Jeweler, Chopinot; as well as the honors, such as the sashs of the Order of Carlos III and of the recently-created Order of María Luisa, the Golden Fleece, and the crosses of the Immaculate Conception and Saint Genaro.

The harmonious and clear yet complex composition reveals the artist's mastery. The subtle definition of characters bears witness to the painter's ability to analyze human beings.

This work is listed in Madrid's Royal Palace in 1814 and in the Prado Museum collection in 1824.

 
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