Nude Maja

Francisco Goya • Painting, XIX century, 98×191 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Portrait, Nude
Style of art: Romanticism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: XIX century
Size: 98×191 cm
Artwork in collection: Prado Irina Olikh
Artwork in selections: 63 selections

Description of the artwork «Nude Maja»

"He, Goya, portrayed in this naked and dressed, but still naked woman of all women whom have ever slept in bed or in sekute. He pictured the body, calling to all kinds of pleasures. And two faces, one full of expectations and lust, frozen lust, cruel, alluring, dangerous look; the other a bit sleepy, slowly awakening after quenched the passion and are already hungry for new pleasures".
Lion Feuchtwanger. "Goya, or the Heavy way of knowledge"

Young naked woman lying with my head hands and slightly bent feet on the rumpled bed. On his pale face, framed by curly dark hair, highlighted the huge black eyes, small, slightly smiling mouth and a spot of blush is too bright to be real.
This woman's body like no conventionally-ancient goddesses of the Italian Renaissance, nor of the lush ladies Baroque nor on the porcelain beauties rocaille. Strictly speaking, if you do not pay attention to the doll's make-up and excessive white body, it is finally the image of real women folded gracefully, but not without flaws, lying on the bed in a sexy (albeit slightly awkward) position, not pretending to be neither Venus nor Dan nor Beersheba. At once, the viewer does not distract from the nudity nor decorations nor servants, nor the hustle-bustle of the amours, once the artist makes a Flirty attempts to cover the Breasts and the bosom of the heroine of the semi-transparent draperies, once her body doesn't seem any marble or satin – it's real until thick overgrown reddish hair in the abdomen.
But more than defiantly naturalistic decision body, surprised by the sight of the heroine, looking at the viewer with a blatant challenge. "Maha dressed"according to the legend were written later, especially in order to use a special mechanism to close a "Mach naked".

The first contender for the role of model Goya has long been considered Maria Caetano de Silva, 13th Duchess of Alba. For this we must thank lion Feuchtwanger and his excellent book "Goya, or the Heavy way of knowledge" - the alleged affair of the artist and the Duchess was there described with such passionate conviction that the biographers can only speculate about its real duration (because of the fact that the novel was not, nobody would believe). Cayetana Alba, the granddaughter of "hangman of the Netherlands" of the Duke of Alba, was beautiful, headstrong, brash, unpredictable, and certainly without any embarrassment stripped to the artist (and, presumably, lover). Besides, its origin, the name and the popularity that she enjoyed in Spain, allowed her to not really afraid to do things and on the verge of decency, and on the verge of the law.
Proponents of this hypothesis do not mind a very vague resemblance of the person "max" with the preserved portraits of Caetani – because Goya is known for its ability to give the terms of anonymity.

The second candidate for the role of "Mahi" is Josefa (Pepa) Tudo – lover and (possibly) the secret wife of all-powerful first Minister of Spain, Manuel Godoy, the favorite of Queen Marie-Louise.
By assumption Feuchtwanger, both paintings were repurchased by Godoy from the heirs of the late Duchess of Alba, but if you believe the testimony of a certain Pedro Gonzalez de Sepulveda, Godoy showed him dressed and naked blunder in 1800, during the life of Caetani, together with other paintings from his collection of naked beauties (by the way, among them was "Venus with a mirror" by Velazquez).

In 1808 both paintings were confiscated by the Inquisition, and then appeared in the collection of the Academy of San Fernando, and in 1901 was transferred to the Prado.
I must say,the current members of the genus Alba not happy to be heirs of that may lay on the crumpled sheets in front of a deaf artist, and was willing to give him this honor even though Josefa Tudo, although any other long-deceased beauty of the numerous mistresses of Godoy, or the Goya. In the end, in 1945, they decided to exhume the bones of Caetani, hoping the measurements to prove the lack of similarity between his papapetropoulou and "Naked Mahou", but alas is almost the only one clearly given the picture ratio – the proportion of the length of the femur and tibia, and these bones had been broken, when Napoleon's soldiers threw the remains of the Duchess from the tomb.

Author: Oksana Sanzharova