José María Álvarez de Toledo, 15th Duke of Medina Sidonia

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José María Álvarez de Toledo
Duke of Medina Sidonia and Alba,
Marquis of Villafranca del Bierzo (etc...)
José Álvarez de Toledo, Duque de Alba.jpg
The Duke of Alba by Francisco de Goya, 1795
Spouse(s) María del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva Alvarez de Toledo, 13th Duchess of Alba

Issue

María de la Luz (Adopted)
Full name
José María del Carmen Francisco Manuel Joaquín Pedro Juan Andrés Avelino Cayetano Venancio Francisco de Paula Gonzaga Javier Ramón Blas Tadeo Vicente Sebastián Rafael Melchior Gaspar Baltasar Luis Pedro de Alcántara Buenaventura Diego Andrés Apostol Isidro
Noble family House of Toledo
Born (1756-07-16)July 16, 1756
Madrid, Spain
Died June 9, 1796(1796-06-09) (aged 39)
Seville, Andalusia, Spain

Don José María Álvarez de Toledo y Gonzaga, 15th Duke of Medina Sidonia, 11th Marquis of Villafranca del Bierzo, Grandee of Spain, jure uxoris Duke of Alba de Tormes, Grandee of Spain (16 July 1756 – 9 June 1796) was a patron of the artist Francisco Goya.

Biography[edit]

Álvarez de Toledo was born in 1756 in Madrid. He became chamberlain, at thirteen, to King Charles IV of Spain. He, originally Marquess of Villafranca, married his kinswoman Doña María del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva y Álvarez de Toledo, 13th Duchess of Alba, who was the legendary "Duchess of Alba" in Goya's paintings, thus becoming de jure uxoris Duke of Alba. Their marriage made them the wealthiest couple in the kingdom; they competed against the Osuna family. A year after his marriage, he inherited the dukedom of Medina-Sidonia and joined two of the most important Houses of the Spanish nobility.

The failed attempt of his friend Alejandro Malaspina to oust Queen María Luisa's favourite Manuel de Godoy in favour of the Duke of Alba put an early end to the political career of the progressive aristocrat.

In 1796, Álvarez de Toledo y Gonzaga died on June 9 in Seville.

In a famous portrait by Goya, the duke is clad in elegant riding clothes. With an air of melancholy he looks up from the music book he is holding in his hands, including the "Four songs/with piano accompaniment/by Mr. Haydn". The duke commissioned several works from Joseph Haydn and was a gifted musician himself. In his painting, Goya subtly combines the symbols of his model's passion for music and equestrian skills (viola or violin, riding boots and riding hat) with the neoclassical interior of the ducal residence.

Ancestry[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

Titles[edit]

Styles[edit]

  • The Most Excellent The Duke of Fernandina (1756–1773)
  • The Most Excellent The Marquis of Villafranca del Bierzo (1773–1776)
  • The Most Excellent The Duke of Alba (1776–1779)
  • The Most Excellent The Duke of Medina Sidonia and Alba (1779–1795)
Spanish nobility
Preceded by
Pedro de Alcántara Alonso Pérez de Guzmán
Duke of Medina Sidonia
1779-1796
Succeeded by
Francisco de Borja Álvarez de Toledo
Preceded by
Antonio Álvarez de Toledo
Duke of Fernandina
1773-1796
Marquis of Villafranca del Bierzo
1773-1796
Italian nobility
Preceded by
Antonio Álvarez de Toledo
Prince of Montalbán
1773-1796
Succeeded by
Francisco de Borja Álvarez de Toledo