Goya, who covered an enormous distance from the acceptance of Rococo conventions to the attaining of the inner independence of the modern artist, painted this portrait of his friend's wife in the first half of the 1790s. The husband, Ceán Bermúdez, exerted significant academic work: his encyclopedia, published in 1800, is still an indispensable manual of Spanish history of art. The intelligent smile and warm glance of Seńora Bermúdez arouse in the viewer the same affection, which the painter harboured for his sitter. Goya depicts the dress decorated with ribbons and tulle ruffles, and the red velvet needlework box casting a reflex on her hands with a fresh painterly style which remind us of Manet's works painted decades later.


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