Maja and Celestina on a Balcony (1808 – 1812) by Francisco Goya

Maja and Celestina on a Balcony - Francisco Goya - 1808 - 1812

Artwork Information

TitleMaja and Celestina on a Balcony
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Date1808 - 1812
Dimensions166 x 108 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Maja and Celestina on a Balcony

The artwork “Maja and Celestina on a Balcony” was created by the esteemed artist Francisco Goya between the years 1808 and 1812. Executed in oil on canvas, this piece is attributed to the Romanticism movement and can be categorized as genre painting. The dimensions of the artwork measure 166 x 108 cm. While the current location of the artwork is reported to be part of a private collection, it remains a significant example of Goya’s oeuvre and the Romantic period in art history.

Upon examination, the artwork reveals two figures positioned on a balcony. The focus is a young woman—referred to as Maja—gracefully adorned in a lavish and light-toned gown with embellishments of golden trim. Her positioning in full light suggests she is the primary subject, with her gentle countenance directed toward the viewer, conveying a sense of candidness or potential engagement. In stark contrast, an older woman, denoted as Celestina, is depicted in shadow, leaning onto the railing, her face partially obscured by darkness. This striking use of chiaroscuro, a defining feature of Goya’s work, serves to heighten the dramatic effect and draw a clear visual and symbolic distinction between the illuminated Maja and the dimly lit Celestina.

The rich textures of clothing and the interplay of light and shadow create an atmosphere that is at once intimate and enigmatic, invoking questions about the relationship between the two women and the narrative beyond the canvas’s borders. The golden accents on Maja’s dress interacting with the deep, somber tones surrounding Celestina contribute to a tactile and visual depth, which is characteristic of Goya’s masterful techniques during this period of his artistic career.

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