Francisco Goya, a Spanish artist, painted several portraits of the Duchess of Alba in the late 18th century. One of these pieces, the “Mourning Portrait of the Duchess of Alba” or “The Black Duchess,” depicts the duchess at age 35, highlighting her personality and fashion choices. Rumors circulated about the two having a romantic relationship, but this has never been substantiated.
Another Goya portrait, “The Duchess of Alba and the Pious Woman,” from 1795 featured the same duchess. The Duchess of Alba was known for her curly black hair, which may have inspired Goya to use her as a model for his iconic painting, “The Naked Maja.” In “The Black Duchess,” Goya added the inscription “Solo Goya” (“Only Goya”), which may have been a statement of artistic independence.
However, the query specifically asks about a detail of shoes in the 1797 portrait. Unfortunately, this specific detail is not mentioned in any available sources, and no close-up of the shoes is publicly available for viewing. Nonetheless, it is apparent that Goya paid attention to the duchess’s attire, suggesting that her individual style and persona were significant to the painting’s subject. Overall, the portrait represents an important link between art and history, preserving the legacy of one of Spain’s most intriguing figures through a masterful work of art.