Trees, grass, and shrubbery, simplified almost to abstraction, set off the fragile, wasp–waisted figure of María Ana de Pontejos y Sandoval, the Marquesa de Pontejos. Splendidly attired, she typifies those ladies of the Spanish aristocracy who affected the "shepherdess" style of Marie Antoinette, so popular in pre–revolutionary France.

The 18th century's sentimental fondness for nature, influenced by the writings of Jean–Jacques Rousseau, is alluded to in the parklike setting, the roses arranged around the bodice of the gown and tucked into the folds of the voluminous overskirt, and in the carnation that the marquesa holds with self–conscious elegance. Framing her artfully arranged coiffure, the broad–brimmed picture hat again bespeaks high fashion, perhaps imported from England; such hats were often seen in contemporary portraits by Gainsborough and other British painters. While the painting's pale tones reflect the last stages of the rococo in Spanish art, the overall silvery gray–green tonality is equally reminiscent of the earlier Spanish master, Velázquez, whose paintings Goya had studied and copied.

Goya probably painted this portrait on the occasion of the marquesa's first marriage, to Francisco de Monino y Redondo, brother of the all–powerful Count of Floridablanca, another of Goya's noble patrons.

More information on this painting can be found in the Gallery publication _Spanish Paintings of the Fifteenth through Nineteenth Centuries_, which is available as a free PDF <u>https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/research/publications/pdfs/spanish-painting-15th-19th-centuries.pdf</u>


  • Title: The Marquesa de Pontejos
  • Creator: Francisco Goya
  • Date Created: c. 1786
  • Physical Dimensions: overall: 210.3 x 127 cm (82 13/16 x 50 in.) framed: 231.8 x 146.4 cm (91 1/4 x 57 5/8 in.)
  • Provenance: The sitter [1762-1834], Casa Pontejos and Palacio Miraflores, Madrid; her third husband, Joaquín Pérez Vizcaíno y Moles [1790-1840], Palacio Miraflores, Madrid;[1] his son-in-law, Don Manuel de Pando y Fernández, Marqués de Miraflores, Palacio Miraflores, by 1867;[2] Don Manuel's granddaughter, Genoveva de Sanmiego y Pando, Marquesa Viuda [widow] de Martorell and Marquesa de Miraflores y de Pontejos, Palacio Miraflores, by 1900;[3] her son, Don Manuel Alvarez de Toledo, Marqués de Miraflores y de Pontejos, Palacio Miraflores, by 1900;[4] sold July 1931 through Mrs. Walter H. [Anna] Schoellkopf, Madrid, and (M. Knoedler & Co., New York and Paris) to Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded December 1934 to The A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA. [1] Walter Cook, "Spanish Paintings in the National Gallery of Art II: Portraits by Goya," _Gazette des Beaux-Arts_ 28 (1945): 152 n 2. On Vizcaíno's life and career and on his inheritance of his wife's estate, see Eduardo C. Puga, "El Marqués de Pontejos," _La ilustración española y americana_ 39 (8 May 1895): 286-287. [2] Charles Yriate, _Goya: sa biographie et le catalogue de l'oeuvre_, Paris, 1867: 139. Basic biographical information about the members of the house of Pontejos is given by Alberto and Arturo García Carrafa, _Diccionario heráldico y genealógico de apellidos españoles y americanos_, vol. 71, Madrid, 1956: 137-140; and by Juan Moreno de Guerra y Alonso, _Guía de la grandeza_ Madrid, 1917: 228-229. [3] _Obras de Goya_, exh. cat., Ministerio de Instruccion Pública y Bellas Artes, Madrid, 1910: 32, no. 92. The painting was also recorded in her possession by S. L. Benusan, "A Note upon the Paintings of Francisco José Goya," _The Studio_ 24 (1901): 156; Albert F. Calvert, _Goya: an Account of his Life and Works_, London, 1908: 193, no. 215; Paul Lafond, _Goya_, Paris, 1910: 6; Hugh Stokes, _Francisco Goya_, London, 1914: 338, no. 251; Aureliano de Beruete y Moret, _Goya, pintor de retratos_, Madrid, 1915: 39; Valerian von Loga, _Francisco de Goya_, Munich, 1923: 200, no. 307; _Colección de cuatrocientos y nueve reproducciones de cuadros, dibujos, y aquafuertes de Don Francisco de Goya precididas de un epistolario del gran pintor y noticias biograficas por Don Francisco Zapatar (1860)_, Madrid, 1924: no. 58. [4] _Pinturas de... Goya_, exh. cat., 1928: 23, no. 18.6. Lively accounts of the negotiations involved in this sale are given by David Edward Finley, _A Standard of Excellence_, Washington, 1973: 21-22; and John Walker, _Self-Portrait with Donors_ , Boston, 1974: 125.
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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