Cardinal Luis Maria de Borbon y Vallabriga (c.1800) by Francisco Goya

Cardinal Luis Maria de Borbon y Vallabriga - Francisco Goya - c.1800

Artwork Information

TitleCardinal Luis Maria de Borbon y Vallabriga
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationMuseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

About Cardinal Luis Maria de Borbon y Vallabriga

The artwork titled “Cardinal Luis Maria de Borbon y Vallabriga” is a remarkable example of the Romanticism movement in art, painted by the illustrious Spanish artist Francisco Goya around 1800. The genre of this piece is a portrait, capturing the likeness of its ecclesiastical subject with a masterful balance of realism and emotional depth. This significant work is part of the collection at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain, where it remains a testament to Goya’s skill and the rich historical fabric of the time.

The artwork presents Cardinal Luis Maria de Borbon y Vallabriga standing, adorned in his cardinal vestments. His attire, primarily a rich crimson red, consists of the traditional mozzetta over his shoulders and a cassock, symbolizing his high rank within the Church. The cardinal holds an open book in his left hand, suggesting scholarship or the importance of religious texts. The expression on his face is solemn, with a considered gaze that engages the viewer, indicative of the Romantic period’s emphasis on emotional expression. The background is notably subdued, dark, and texturally minimal, ensuring that the focus remains on the dignity and gravity of the cardinal’s figure.

Goya’s technique, characterized by his adept use of light and shadow, gives a palpable sense of texture to the fabrics and creates a lifelike portrayal that captures an essence of the cardinal’s character. The detailed rendering of the insignia and jewelry reflects status and importance, contrasting with the simplicity of the backdrop. This juxtaposition emphasizes the subject’s prominence and the artist’s skillful rendering of both human complexion and sumptuous attire. Through this portrait, Goya has not only provided a historical record but also conveyed the resonance of an individual’s presence and the nuances of their role within society.

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