Francisco Goya: Portrait of King Charles IV of Spain and His Family (1800)


(Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain)

A painting by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746-1828). Goya was appointed First Court Painter to king Charles IV of Spain (reign 1788-1808) and as such he made this portrait of the king and his family. Present of the painting are (from left to right):

1. Carlos Maria Isidro (1788–1855), 2nd son of Charles IV
2. self portrait of Goya
3. Prince of Asturias Fernando (1784–1833), 1st son of Charles IV and future king Fernando VII of Spain
4. Maria Josefa (1744–1801), sister of Charles IV
5. unknown woman, this place was reserved for Fernando's future wife
6. María Isabel (1789–1848), daughter of Charles IV
7. Maria Luisa of Parma (1751–1819), wife of Charles IV
8. Francisco de Paula (1794–1848), youngest son of Charles IV
9. king Charles IV of Spain (1748–1819)
10. Don Antonio Pascual (1755–1817), brother of Charles IV
11. Carlota Joaquina (1775–1830, only part of head visible), eldest daughter of Charles IV
12. Don Luis de Parma (1773–1803), son-in-law of Charles IV
13. Maria Luisa (1782–1824),daughter of Charles IV and wife of Don Luis de Parma, holding
14. their baby Carlos Luis (1799–1883), the future Duke of Parma. 


In the center stands Maria Luisa of Parma, the wife of Charles IV. Charles IV was a weak king who left the affairs of government to his wife, Maria Luisa, and his prime minister. Her central position is somewhat symbolical as the real power behind matters of state. Fernando (the man in blue, oldest son of Charles IV and heir to the throne) would orchestrate a coup in 1808 which ousted his parents. Fernando took the throne as king Fernando VII but he himself was overthrown by Napoleon only several months late. Fernando would assume the throne in 1813 again but reigned as a despot until 1833. Not everybody liked the painting: the art critic Théophile Gautier (1811-1872) described the figures as looking like 'the corner baker and his wife after they won the lottery'. Painting from 1800.

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