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Audio Stop 621

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A woman with pale skin, wearing a silvery-gray dress adorned with white ribbons and light pink roses, stands looking out at us with a small, pug dog by her feet in this vertical portrait painting. The woman’s body is angled slightly to our right but she looks at us with dark eyes under faint, arched brows. Her nose is rounded, her cheeks smooth and flushed, and her pale pink lips are closed. Her face is framed in a cloud of nickel-gray hair, and tendrils curl down over her shoulders. She wears a wide-brimmed straw hat with a white ribbon set on the back of her head and slightly off to one side. The bodice of her dress has a low, curving neck. This area is loosely painted to create the impression of layers of lace. A band of intertwined pale pink roses and delicately green leaves borders the outer edge of the lace. The dress has long, tight sleeves with lace at the cuffs and the notably narrow waist is tied with a blush pink ribbon. The full, silver skirt is picked up to create a row of puffs, like the top of a muffin, around her knees. Bunches of pink roses and white ribbons are nestled into the puffs, and below, the skirt falls in long, vertical pleats to her ankles. She wears white stockings and pointed, petal pink shoes. In her left arm, on our right, she holds a closed fan loosely at her side, almost lost behind the skirt. She holds a pink carnation with a full bloom and a bid on a long, curving stem in her opposite hand, by her hip. A caramel-brown pug with a black face, wearing a pink collar lined with three bells, stands facing us with one front paw lifted, to our right of her feet. The landscape is painted in tones of mint and sage green for grass beneath trees enclosing the space the woman stands in, sandy brown for the ground, and icy blue for the sky above.

Francisco Goya

The Marquesa de Pontejos, c. 1786

West Building, Main Floor - Gallery 52

The 18th century’s sentimental fondness for nature, influenced by the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is alluded to here in the park-like setting, the roses arranged in the marquesa’s gown, and the carnation that she holds with self-conscious elegance. Framing her artfully arranged hairstyle, the broad-brimmed hat bespeaks high fashion, perhaps imported from England. While the painting’s pale tones reflect the last stages of the rococo in Spanish art, the overall silvery gray-green tonality is equally reminiscent of the earlier Spanish master Diego Velázquez, whose paintings Francisco de Goya had studied and copied.

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