Duchess Alba in black by Francisco de Goya

Duchess Alba in black by Francisco de Goya

Although this portrait was painted by Goya shortly after the death of the husband of the Duchess of Alba, her black outfit is more romantic than mourning. This dress was often worn by women from below, who wanted to attract the attention of men. At the time the picture was created, the Duchess was 55 years old. She was famous for her charm, upbringing and beauty.

Two years earlier, Goya painted another portrait of the Duchess of Alba, where she was dressed in a white dress. According to many testimonies, the Duchess and Goya were in love affair, and the portrait contains indirect indications of this. First,

they include an inscription, which draws the attention of the audience duchess. It reads: “Only Goya.”

Similar panegyrics, praising the skill of painters, often appeared in the pictures of the time, but in this case this phrase can have another, hidden meaning. Secondly, these are the words “Alba” and “Goya” on the rings of the duchess. Goya cherished the memory of the duchess and after their parting. In 1802, the Duchess of Alba died.

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