La Maja nue

Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

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Francisco Goya, 1800

nude painting (nu)

The Nude Maja was the first in a two painting series, the second of which was The Clothed Maja, respectively. It is said to be the first painting in which female pubic hair is visible, making it totally profane at the time. The identity of the model in the image is under debate, with some art historians thinking the model was the mistress of Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy, who commissioned the paintings, or that it was Goya’s mistress. Many art historians agree that the model was a compilation of many female figures. In 1813, the Spanish Inquisition confiscated both of the paintings as obscene, returning them to the Academy of Fine Arts in 1936, after Goya’s death. In the 1930’s Spain issued postage stamps with the image of the Maja, and subsequently all mail bearing the stamps were denied entrance into the United States.

image of La Maja nue