The Family of Carlos IV by Francisco Goya is a portrait painting completed in the summer of 1801. It shows Goya’s exceptional skill at individualizing each character in the painting, capturing their unique personalities and expressions. The royal family, who were the subjects of the painting, are depicted in grand attire and set against an ornate background.
The purpose of this painting was to critique the royal family, despite Goya being made First Court Painter to Carlos IV of Spain in 1799. He prepared a series of oil sketches for the formal arrangement of various sitters before finalizing the portrait. This masterpiece is considered one of his greatest works, and it contains a direct reference to Velasquez’s “Meninas,” another famous Spanish painting.
One interesting detail about The Family Of Carlos IV is that Goya himself appears within it as a hidden figure. He stands partly concealed behind a curtain on the left-hand side of the picture plane provided an ironic commentary using himself as an insider’s point-of-view observer taking part in society but still being just outside it.
Overall, The Family Of Carlos IV is not only significant due to its critical nature but also because it features some lesser-known members like María Amalia or their own son-in-law Joaquín de Eleta whose inclusion makes this artwork stand out among other portraits from that time period.