Francisco de Goya (1746-1828)
Don Francisco de Saavedra, 1798
Oil on canvas
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Lee Bequest, 1947
The Spanish politician Francisco de Saavedra was noted for his
integrity. In late 1798 Saavedra and his great friend and ally, Gaspar
de Jovellanos, were appointed to the two highest political offices in
Spain: Minister of Finance and Minister of State.
Jovellanos was one of Goya's most consistent supporters, and the two men commissioned a pair of portraits from him; Jovellanos's portrait is also reproduced here.
The two pictures are closely related. In each, the sitter faces to the right, and sits on a round-backed chair beside a table. But while Jovellanos is thoughtful, Saavedra seems about to leave his paper-strewn desk having decided on a course of action.
The simplicity of the background may be influenced by Goya’s knowledge of eighteenth-century English portraiture. It could, however, have been chosen by Saavedra, who was known for the wellordered and ‘English’ character of his household.
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