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The king of Spain Charles IV and his family

Painting, 1800, 280×336 cm

Description of the artwork «The king of Spain Charles IV and his family»

The Spanish king Charles IV, his wife Maria Luisa of Parma, their ages and numerous "offspring and other family members"... in Front of us the famous family portrait of the Spanish monarchs of the brush court painter Francisco Goya. Portrait, the most caustic and succinct characteristic which gave the French romantic poet Theophile Gautier. He said that in this picture sees not the king and Queen, and "the Baker's wife, who received a big win in the lottery".

Who is depicted in the picture?

Stout figure of Spanish king Charles IV in the black coat covered with orders, wig and fishnet stockings, shifted a little to the right from the center of the picture. In the center is depicted the Queen, his wife, Maria Luisa, and it's no wonder she is, imperious, voluptuous, and cruel and her favorite Manuel Godoy, and not a spineless, weak-willed Charles, belonged to the actual power in the country.

Next to the monarchs – their youngest children, 6-year-old Infante Francisco de Paula and 11-year-old Infanta Maria Isabella. On the left, 16-year-old Prince of Asturias, future king Ferdinand VII (hereinafter, the aged Goya caught and his reign, too, and his cruelty will flee in Bordeaux, France, where he met death). Prince dressed in a dark blue camisole and looks at the picture is much more confident than his father, as, indeed, it was in reality. Left shoulder Infanta from the darkness of the background, like from the nightmare etchings of Goya, the face of the elderly Infanta Maria Josefa sisters of the Queen, with a hooked nose and sunken mouth.

In addition, the left in the picture is 12-year-old Infante Carlos maría de Isidro, the second in line of succession after Ferdinand. So he shows: behind the heir No. 1. Who is the woman standing next to the princes and turned away from the audience, is a mystery. On the website of the Prado Museum labels it as "unknown young woman".

Behind the king is depicted a 45-year-old Infante Antonio Pascual de borbón, brother of Charles IV, in profile next to him – the eldest daughter of monarchs Carlota joaquina, Queen of Portugal. To the right of 18 – year-old Infanta Maria Louisa, her son, baby Carl Louis and her husband Louis de Bourbon, the future king of Etruria.

"The family of Charles IV" is a tribute or a mockery?

"The family of Charles IV" – a formal portrait, and at the same time, it is easy to read irony Goya. On the one hand, the Spanish rulers, present and future, shown in the splendor of the Royal glory. Goya meticulously reproduces their clothes, richly decorated with court jeweller precious stones. Women's decoration, the order of the king (among them, recently established the order of Maria Luisa and the Golden fleece and the Cross of the Immaculate conception) – all Goya writes, it seems, with some special pleasure. With no less taste and skill transferred to the texture of the fabrics: heavy gold brocade, soft and silky-matte velvet, lightweight lace. However, the splendor of the costumes only accentuates the physical imperfection of the characters. According to the memoirs, the king was phenomenally loose, and the Queen a wanton and altogether ugly. And Goya is not seeking to give them in idealized form. It depicts not the God-like Tsar, and ordinary mortals of flesh and blood.

In the democratic criticism decided to write about the family of Charles IV almost with disgust: spiritual poverty, petty-bourgeois mediocrity, a family of shopkeepers, vulgarity, ignorance, degeneration and others. In the work of Goya saw almost a caricature. This is unlikely and in fact the case. Rather, we are dealing with a critical extreme. While Goya remained an artist, he created a keen portraits that reveal him as a student of human nature. And, by the way, the monarchs portrait was perceived favorably.

But what is more interesting: this portrait depicts people who are close by blood – the king and Queen, their three daughters, three sons, a grandson, a son-in-law, sister of the Queen and the king's brother. As was customary among the European ruling dynasties, many of them are connected double sister relationship: husband of Mary-Louise – at the same time her cousin; the king's brother Antonio Pascual was married to a Royal daughter, his niece, Maria Amalia (her the picture – she died two years before its creation in 1798-m; and maybe this is her Goya painted turned away to the wall?). But despite the closeness of blood, these people look amazing alienated, fragmented, closed in itself, as if they were gathered for posing for the artist is a simple coincidence. And in the picture there is one who carefully observes all of them.

Self portrait by Goya in the painting "the Family of Charles IV"

Francisco Goya said: "I recognize three teachers Rembrandt, Velasquez and nature". In this ceremonial portrait of king Charles IV with his family is a direct reference to welschnofen "Meninas" – famous painting-illusion, where, surrounded by the royals (the Infanta Margarita and reflected in the mirror of the king and Queen, her parents) idol Goya, velázquez depicted himself at work. Goya here without hesitation to imitate Velasquez. Similarly, in a group picture of the family of Charles IV Francisco Goya self-portrait enter: in the darkened left corner, behind the royals, behind the easel, you can see in Rembrandt's pensive face of the artist.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Romanticism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1800

Size: 280×336 cm

Artwork in selections: 38 selections

Exhibitions history