Charles IV of Spain and his family

Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

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Francisco Goya, 1800


In 1799, Goya was made First Court Painter, with an annual salary of 50,000 reales and an allowance for coach. It was during this time that he painted Charles IV of Spain and His Family. Goya completed this painting, modeled in the casual style of Velazquez’s Las Meninas, for the royal family of Spain. Although the figures in the painting are set in naturalistic and plausible poses, they are ostentatiously dressed in their finest clothing and jewelry. Modern critics have many interpretations about the paintings style and placement of the figures. Goya’s aversion to flatter the appearance of the figures may be his commentary on the corruption of King Charles IV. Furthermore, the placement of the Queen Louisa in the center of the painting may be an indication of her real power.

image of Charles IV of Spain and his family