The Duke and Duchess of Osuna and their Children Francisco de Goya Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

The Duke and Duchess of Osuna and their Children is a family portrait that shows off Francisco de Goya's skill as a portrait artist. He artfully picks up on the minutest of facial expressions and the detailing in the fabrics worn by the subjects.

During the 1780s, Francisco de Goya's group of aristocratic advocates had grown to include the Duke and Duchess of Osuna. The main towering figure leaning into the right-hand side of the portrait is Pedro Téllez Girón – the Duke of Osuna. Seated to his right is Josefa Alonso de Pimentel - she the Duchess of Osuna. The children in the order of the youngest to the oldest are as follows: The little boy playing with a toy as he sits on a cushion is Pedro de Alcántara. To his right is Francisco de Borja. The girl clutching a hand fan standing by her mother's lap is Joaquina. The girl holding onto her father is Maria Manuela.

All six subjects in the portrait are relaxed, suggesting a warm friendship between them and the painter. The children and the Duchess' dress are spread out across the bottom length of the painting, creating a pyramid shape which gives a sense of balance to the painting. The Duke of Osuna is in black because he is mourning the death of his father. The green and the grey outfits worn by the Duchess of Osuna and the children allow Francisco De Goya to exquisitely showcase the soft, lacy, rich textures of their fabrics. The theme of this artwork seems to lean into the political and social sphere. The Duke of Osuna is in uniform (political) and is being depicted as a loving husband and father to the Duchess and the children (social).

There are quite a few odd things happening in this portrait. Family portraits like this were practically unseen in Spain at the time. There is a lot of affection between the parents and the children. This was highly suggestive of the fact that the parents were themselves raising their children rather than hiring someone else to do that for them. Also, the Duchess of Osuna is clutching a book - an indication of her being an intellectual match for the Duke of Osuna. This was unusual at the time. The Duke and Duchess of Osuna and their Children portrait was started in 1787 and was completed by 1788. It is an oil painting on unlined canvas. The dimensions of the painting are 225cm by 174cm.

The Duke and Duchess of Osuna and their Children in Detail Francisco de Goya