Goya, Don Francisco de Saavedra

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Portrait of Don Francisco de Saavedra

Francisco de Goya

Portrait of Don Francisco de Saavedra

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828), Portrait of Don Francisco de Saavedra, 1798, @The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London


The Spanish politician Francisco de Saavedra was noted for his integrity. In late 1798 Saavedra and his great friend and ally, Gaspar de Jovellanos, were appointed to the two highest political offices in Spain: Minister of Finance and Minister of State.

Jovellanos was one of Goya’s most consistent supporters, and the two men commissioned a pair of portraits from him; Jovellanos’s portrait is also reproduced here.

The two pictures are closely related. In each, the sitter faces to the right, and sits on a round-backed chair beside a table. But while Jovellanos is thoughtful, Saavedra seems about to leave his paper-strewn desk having decided on a course of action.

Francisco de Goya, Don Gaspar de Jovellanos, 1798, @Museo del Prado, Madrid.

The simplicity of the background may be influenced by Goya’s knowledge of eighteenth-century English portraiture. It could, however, have been chosen by Saavedra, who was known for the wellordered and ‘English’ character of his household.


 

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