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Portrait of Don Francisco de Saavedra

Goya, Francisco (1746-1828)

Portrait of Don Francisco de Saavedra
4 0 c m
actual image size: 19cm x 32cm


The Spanish politician Francisco de Saavedra was noted for his integrity. His great friend and ally Gaspar de Jovellanos was one of Goya’s most consistent supporters. In late 1798 Jovellanos and Saavedra were appointed to the two highest political offices in Spain: Minister of State and Minister of Finance. This portrait and its pair, representing Jovellanos (now in the Prado, Madrid), were commissioned from Goya during their brief tenure of these posts. The two pictures are closely related. In each, the sitter faces to the right, and sits on a round-backed chair before a table. But while Jovellanos rests, Saavedra is in more active mode. He looks about to rise from his desk, covered with official papers.

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

Image Details

The Courtauld Gallery, London

© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

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