Francisco de Goya, The Duke and Duchess of Osuna and their Children, 1787 – 1788. Oil on unlined canvas, 225 x 174 cm.
El desafío del blanco. Goya and Esteve, retratistas de la Casa de Osuna/portraitists to the House of Osuna, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Closes 1 October 2017
This displays presents for the first time in the Prado the portrait of Manuela Isidra Téllez-Girón, the future Duchess of Abrantes, which was painted in 1797 by Agustín Esteve y Marqués, and which was recently acquired with the help of funds from the donation by Óscar Alzaga Villaamil. The child’s portrait is considered one of the finest works by the Valencian-born Esteve, the most important court portraitist after Goya. The exhibition brings together for the first time all the portraits painted by Agustín Esteve of the children of the Duke and Duchess of Osuna, on loan from private collections such as the Fundación Casa Ducal de Medinaceli, the Colección Duque del Infantado, Colección Masaveu and Colección Martínez Lanzas-de las Heras. In addition the display is accompanied by portraits of the 9th Duke Osuna, Pedro de Alcántara Téllez-Girón (1755-1807) and his wife and cousin, María Josefa de la Soledad Alonso-Pimentel (1752-1834), and their five children by other court artists including Goya’s family portrait of 1787-88 and a miniature by Guillermo Ducker (fl. 1795-1830) of Joaquina Téllez-Girón, Marchioness of Santa Cruz. The exhibition’s title refers to Esteve’s and Goya’s ability to meet the challenge of representing the transparent and pristine white materials worn by their sitters.
This is the final purchase with the Alzaga funds and in October 2017 the Prado will display the other six paintings in the Alzaga donation, which range from the sixteenth-century to the middle of the nineteenth-century and include works by Sánchez Cotán, Herrera “el Viejo,” Antonio del Castillo, and Eugenio Lucas Velázquez. The display will be accompanied by a catalogue of the donation.