Francisco de Goya (painter)|
Spanish, 1746 - 1828
Victor Guye, 1810
oil on canvas
overall: 103.5 x 84.5 cm (40 3/4 x 33 1/4 in.) framed: 133 x 111.1 x 7.6 cm (52 3/8 x 43 3/4 x 3 in.)
Gift of William Nelson Cromwell
Object 8 of 9
The nephew of one of the most important French generals in Spain, the young Victor Guye wears the uniform of the Order of Pages to Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother who had been appointed king of Spain. At six or seven years of age, Victor was probably too young to act as a court page. Even so, he might have been permitted to wear the prestigious uniform through his uncle’s influence. Goya re-created the uniform’s gold braid with scintillating flecks and daubs of impasto or thick, pasty-textured paint.
This picture matches a companion portrait of the boy’s uncle, General Nicolas Guye, now in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. In 1810, Nicolas commissioned both pictures as gifts for his brother, who was Victor’s father. The sympathy with which Goya depicted the French conquerors might suggest he favored the Napoleonic regime, but the artist created equally sympathetic portraits of leaders of the Spanish resistance.
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