The individual in front of us holds a serious expression as he looks directly at us. He holds a letter in his hand which obviously is included for some sort of symbolic value, more than adding anything particularly interesting from an aesthetic point of value. He is dressed in a traditional black suit, highly formal, and his hair is also in a matching tone of black. One immediately recognises this as a man of note, someone with a high ranking role within society, just as with many of the figures captured by Goya during his career. He sits upright on a classical wooden chair, with a desk and ink well behind him. The background wall is entirely devoid of detail, but the overall impression is that this is Don Juan Bautista de Muguiro's own office. Goya was constantly in demand for portraiture, with it becoming something of an honour to appear within one of his paintings, even if you had paid substantial amounts for the privilege.
Don Juan Bautista de Muguiro was a banker and during this late period of his career there were several portraits from Goya of figures working in the financial industry. The artist moved to the French city of Bordeaux several years earlier and would stay here for the rest of his life. He was fleeing political instability within Spain and settled quite happily in this new location. Some opinions have suggested that this was his last ever painting, and it is impressive that he was still able to work to such a high level whilst in his eighties, and with considerable health problems to deal with that had slowly built up over the previous decades.
This artwork is now in the collection of the Prado Museum, which is perhaps the best location from where to appreciate Spanish art. Some of the great works from both Goya and also Velazquez can be found here, with the latter's Las Meninas being the biggest highlight of all. Those with broad interests will also appreciate some of the non-Spanish art as well, such as from El Greco who himself worked in Spain for many years and has almost become known as Spanish himself. Some of his works on display here include The Holy Trinity, The Coronation of the Virgin and Pentecost. Hieronymus Bosch is also well represented here, including his extraordinary masterpiece, The Garden of Earthly Delights. There are also a number of other art galleries and museums in close proximity to the Prado that offer more recent names from the 19th and 20th century.