The Duchess of Alba

Celebrating the first visit to London of Goya’s resplendent ‘The Duchess of Alba’

A highlight of our autumn show Goya: The Portraits is undoubtedly the iconic image of the Duchess of Alba painted by Goya in 1797. A jewel in the Hispanic Society of America’s collection, the portrait shows the duchess, Goya’s close friend and patron, dressed as a ‘maja’ in a sleek black dress and ‘mantilla’.

Goya captures the Duchess’s charismatic nature as she points emphatically to the ground where the words ‘Solo Goya’ (‘Only Goya’) are inscribed. More than just a beautiful likeness, the work typifies Goya’s skill at revealing something deeper about his sitters.

So significant is the place it occupies within Goya’s oeuvre, that it would be hard to imagine an exhibition of the stature of 'Goya: The Portraits' without it. The Gallery is extremely grateful to the Hispanic Society of America for granting this exceptional loan, made all the more momentous by the fact that the work has only once before left its home in the States.’

About the Hispanic Society

The Hispanic Society of America Museum & Library, located on Broadway between 155th and 156th Streets in New York City, was founded in 1904 by Archer M. Huntington with the purpose of advancing the study and appreciation of the art, literature, and culture of Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines.

Today both the museum and library collections through the early 20th century are widely recognized as the most comprehensive in scope and quality outside of Spain. Museum highlights include numerous masterworks by El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, and Sorolla; sculpture by Pedro de Mena and Luisa Roldán; Latin American paintings by Vázquez, López de Arteaga, Rodríguez Juárez, and Campeche; as well as masterpieces in all areas of the decorative arts.

Image above: Detail from Francisco de Goya, 'The Duchess of Alba', 1797. On loan from The Hispanic Society of America, New York, NY (A102) © Courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York.