The paintings were commissioned as tapestries for the Royal Palace in Spain. Goya had painted images from normal life, featuring everyday people, in order to brighten up the walls of the dining room in the Palace.
This was a requirement made by the Queen of Spain. The royals who saw these exquisite tapestries first hand included, Maria Luisa of Parma and the soon to be King Charles IV. Today, The Parasol is housed in Madrid within the Museo del Prado.
What we observe in many of Goya's paintings is a fusion of Spanish and French artistry, with the two forming an entirely new art form. What we observe in The Parasol, is a woman who has sat down on the ground, possibly to rest after a long stroll. It appears as though she is dressed in the latest French fashions, as she is wearing a bright yellow skirt and pale blue blouse, that almost looks like they are made from silk. A lavish flower adorns her plunging neckline, and she wears a sleeveless robe made of the same silky material.
In her right hand she is holding an elaborate fan, so as to help cool herself from the heat of the sun. A small black and white dog sits on her lap. Stood behind her is a young man with a net over his hair, he holds the parasol over her, protecting her from the sun. The way in which he is dressed suggests that he is poor and is working as a servant.
Goya has evoked a beautiful summer's day. We observe the many clouds in the blue sky, the swaying trees and the blistering heat, etched onto the face of the man and woman.
The image has been painted in such a way that suggests the possibility of a brewing storm. Perhaps this is why they have rested. The young man appears to relish in his role of both shielding and protecting the lady, and appears to be relaxed in his stance, with one foot raised, resting on a rock.
The Parasol is also famously known for its use of vibrant colours and the overall feeling of contentment. We have the bright green parasol, the woman's brightly coloured clothes, the green leafy trees and the blue sky.
What is most striking is that the brightest of these colours are at the centre of the painting. This draws the eye instantly to the woman and her beauty. The painting creates a cheerful ambience which is exactly what the Royal Family requested for their lavish dining room.
The Parasol is an image that depicts everyday life, and it was during this period in Goya's career that he began to paint portraits of the many Spanish Monarchs of the day. As a result this completely elevated his artistic career, as in 1780 it earned him a place in the Royal Academy of San Fernando, and then six years later he became the court painter.