The Black Duchess

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Portrait of the Duchess of Alba)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Portrait of the Duchess of Alba
Goya-duquesa de alba.jpg
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Dimensions194 cm × 130 cm (76.5 in × 51.25 in)
LocationNew York Hispanic Society, New York

The Black Duchess (also Mourning Portrait of the Duchess of Alba or simply Portrait of the Duchess of Alba) is a 1797 oil-on-canvas painting by Spanish painter Francisco Goya. The Duchess in the painting is María Cayetana de Silva, 13th Duchess of Alba, then 35 years old. It is a companion piece to the more chaste The White Duchess, completed two years earlier. In this work, de Silva is dressed in low cut Maja clothing. She probably agreed to this depiction in that it might show her as a "woman of the people".[1]

As of 2012, the painting has been kept at the New York Hispanic Society, operated by the Hispanic Society of America.[2]


The Portrait of the Duchess of Alba was painted in 1797 by Spanish painter Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes. The work is kept at the New York Hispanic Society, owned and operated by the Hispanic Society of America.[3][4] In the painting, the duchess (María Cayetana de Silva, 13th Duchess of Alba[a]) is thirty-five years old, and her husband had died the year before, so she is dressed in mourning clothes (attire). In the painting, she is pointing to the ground, where the words "solo Goya" are lightly engraved. She is wearing two rings, one engraved with the word "Alba", the other engraved with "Goya". The inscription of the word "solo" was initially hidden, but after the painting was restored the word was revealed.[5]

This work is among a number Goya painted of the duchess.[6] When she retreated to a residence after her husband died a year earlier[7] for a period of mourning, Goya followed and created numerous paintings and sketches of the duchess during her stay.[8] One day, the duchess walked into Goya's studio and requested that he put on the duchess' makeup, then create a painting for her, which he did. This painting is the Portrait of the Duchess of Alba, painted at her request.[9]


  1. ^ Full name: Spanish: Doña María del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva Álvarez de Toledo y Silva Bazán, décimo tercera duquesa de Alba de Tormes, décima primera duquesa de Huéscar, sexta duquesa de Montoro, octava condesa-duquesa de Olivares, décimo primera marquesa del Carpio, décimo tercera marquesa de Coria, novena marquesa de Eliche, décimo segunda marquesa de Villanueva del Río, sexta marquesa de Tarazona, marquesa de Flechilla y Jarandilla, décimo primera condesa de Monterrey, décimo cuarta condesa de Lerín, décimo tercera condesa de Oropesa, décimo cuarta Condestablesa de Navarra, décimo segunda condesa de Galve, décimo cuarta condesa de Osorno, de jure duquesa de Galisteo, décimo primera condesa de Ayala, novena condesa de Fuentes de Valdepero, condesa de Alcaudete, condesa de Deleitosa, señora del estado de Valdecorneja, señora de las baronías de Dicastillo, San Martín, Curton y Guissens


  1. ^ Hughes, 161
  2. ^ Milam, Jennifer Dawn (18 April 2011). Historical Dictionary of Rococo Art. Scarecrow Press. pp. 32–. ISBN 978-0-8108-6183-1. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  3. ^ "Goya Duchess". Columbia University. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  4. ^ Rose-Marie Hagen; Rainer Hagen (1 December 2002). What Great Paintings Say. Taschen. pp. 354–. ISBN 978-3-8228-2100-8. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  5. ^ Evan Connell (18 December 2003). Francisco Goya: A Life. Counterpoint Press. ISBN 978-1-58243-307-3. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  6. ^ Rose-Marie Hagen; Rainer Hagen (1 December 2002). What Great Paintings Say. Taschen. pp. 352–. ISBN 978-3-8228-2100-8. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  7. ^ Ronald J. Bradley; R. Adron Harris; Peter Jenner (3 April 2006). The Neurobiology of Painting: International Review of Neurobiology. Academic Press. pp. 306–. ISBN 978-0-12-366875-2. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  8. ^ Rose-Marie Hagen; Rainer Hagen (1 November 2003). Francisco Goya, 1746-1828. Taschen. pp. 41–. ISBN 978-3-8228-1823-7. Retrieved 13 October 2012.

Further reading[edit]

Coordinates: 40°50′01″N 73°56′47″W / 40.833521°N 73.946514°W / 40.833521; -73.946514