Lot 47
  • 47

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes

2,500,000 - 3,500,000 GBP
2,617,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Francisco de Goya
  • Equestrian Portrait of Don Manuel Godoy, Duke of Alcudia

  • oil on canvas
  • 55.2 by 44.5 cm.; 21 3/4 by 17 1/2 in.


Possibly identifiable with a painting listed in the October 1812 inventory of paintings in Goya's house in the Calle de Valverde, Madrid, bequeathed to his son Javier Goya (1784 - 1854), described as: 'Un boceto de un ginete con el n.o vente y seis en...30';
Marqués de Guirior, Malaga;
With Arnold Seligman, Paris/New York;
With Wildenstein, New York, 1937;
Acquired by the Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, in 1967;
By whom de-accessioned in 1986. 


San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Paintings, Drawings, and Prints by Francisco Goya (1746-1828), 5 June - 4 July 1937, no. 11 (entitled "Man on Horseback"), reproduced plate 11;
Cambridge, Mass., Fogg Art Museum, The Horse: Its Significance in Art, 20 April - 21 May 1938, no. 8, reproduced fig. 8; cited in introduction, pp. 11-12 (as the Duque de Osuna);
Buenos Aires, Wildenstein Arte, S.A., Primera exposición de maestros de pintura antigua, 22 September - 20 October 1942, no. 5 (as the Duque de Osuna);
Lima, Galerie Gesinus, Grandes maestros europeos y tapiceria española del siglo XVI, 14 June - 9 July 1955, no. 7, reproduced (as the Duque de Osuna);
Caracas, Museo de Bellas Artes, Segunda exposición de obras clásicas de la pintura europea, December 1956, no. 13 (as the Duque de Osuna);
New York, Wildenstein, The Painter as Historian, 15 November -31 December 1962, no. 42, reproduced p. 69, fig. 42;
Dallas, Meadows Museum, Goya and the Art of His Time, 7 December 1982 - 6 February 1983, p. 55, no. 1.7, reproduced p. 54, fig. 1.7;
New York, Wildenstein, The Winds of Revolution, 14 November 1989 - 19 January 1990, no. 91;
Madrid, Museo del Prado, Goya, el capricho y la invención: cuadros de gabinete, bocetos y miniaturas, 18 November 1993 - 27 February 1994, pp. 24-25, 247, 251-252, 254, 369-370, no. 61, reproduced p. 255;
London, Royal Academy of Arts, 17 March - 12 June 1994, and Chicago, The Art Institute, 16 July - 16 October 1994, Goya, Truth and Fantasy: The Small Paintings, pp. 24-25, 247, 251-252, 254, 363, no. 61 reproduced p. 255;
Madrid, Museo Arqueologico Nacional, 1802: España entre dos siglos y la devolución de Menorca, 19 December  2002 - 15 March 15 2003, no. 39, reproduced p. 263.


Possibly October 1812 inventory of paintings in Goya's house in the Calle de Valverde bequeathed to his son Javier Goya, described as Un boceto de un ginete con el n.o veinte y seis en ...30 (a sketch of a horseman, no. twenty-six...30 (reales);
Conde de la Viñaza, Goya: su tiempo, su vida, sus obras, Madrid 1887, pp. 232-233, no. XLVII;
Z. Araujo Sánchez, Goya, Madrid, n.d. [1896], pp. 83, 117, no. 248;
V. von Loga, Francisco de Goya, Berlin 1903, pp. 104, 169 (note 194), 196, no. 225;
A.F. Calvert, Goya, an Account of His Life and Works, London 1908, p. 134, no. 131 or 132;
A.L. Mayer, Geschichte der spanischen Malerei, vol. II, Leipzig 1913, p. 268;
H. Stokes, Francisco Goya: a Study of the Work and Personality of the Eighteenth Century Spanish Painter and Satirist, New York and London 1914, p. 239;
A. de Beruete y Moret, Goya, pintor de retratos, Madrid 1916, pp. 59, 92;
A.L. Mayer, Francisco de Goya, Munich 1923, p. 192, no. 279 [English ed., trans. by R. West, London and Toronto 1924, p. 156, no. 279];
S. Calleja (ed.), Colección de cuatrocientos cuarenta y nueve reproducciones de cuadros, dibujos y aguafuertes de Don Francisco de Goya precedidos de un epistolario del gran pintor y de las noticias biográficas publicadas por Don Francisco Zapater y Gómez en 1860, Madrid 1924, p. 43;
X. Desparmet Fitz-Gerald, L'Oeuvre peint de Goya, vol. II, Paris 1928-1950, p. 295, no. 556s (as the Duque de Osuna);
F.J. Sánchez Cantón, `Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Prints by F. Goya, San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1937,' in Archivo Español de Arte y Arqueologia, XIII, no. 39, September - December 1937, p. 267;
C. Poore, Goya, New York and London 1939, pp. 127, 153-154;
F.J. Sánchez Cantón, `Cómo vivía Goya,' in Archivo Español de Arte, XVIII, no. 74, April - June 1946, pp. 88, 106;
J. López-Rey, Goya y el mundo a su alrededor, Buenos Aires 1947, p. 31,  reproduced pl. XIII;
F.J. Sánchez Cantón, Vida y obras de Goya, Madrid 1951, pp. 55, 92, 169, reproduced facing p. 97, fig. 32;
A. Vallentin, Goya, Paris 1951, p. 218;
S. Brown, 'Goya legendario,' in Hoy, 9 November 1957, p. 40, reproduced;
J.A. Gaya Nuño, La pintura española fuera de España, Madrid 1958, p. 179, no. 1098;
G. Rouchès, La Peinture espagnole des origines au XXe siècle, Paris 1958, p. 419;
Madrid, El Casón, Goya (IV Centenario de la Capitalidad), 1961, p. 32, cited under no. XIV;
E. du Gué Trapier, Goya and his Sitters: A Study of his Style as a Portraitist, New York 1964, pp. 21-22;
W.B. Jordan, The Virginia Meadows Museum: Catalogue of Recent Acquisitions, Dallas 1967, p. 21, no. 7, reproduced p. 20;
W.B. Jordan, `A Museum of Spanish Painting in Texas,' in Art Journal, XXVII, 3, Spring 1968, p. 292 and note 18, reproduced fig. 10;
X. de Salas, "Sobre un retrato ecuestre de Godoy," in Archivo Español de Arte, XLII, 167, 1969, pp. 221, 223-225, reproduced pl. III;
P. Gassier and J. Wilson, Vie et oeuvre de Francisco Goya, Paris 1970, pp. 161 and 170, no. 344; Appendix I, no. 26, reproduced p. 170, no. 344 [revised, English ed., trans. by C. Hauch and J. Wilson, New York 1971, pp. 161 and 170, no. 344; Appendix I, no. 26, reproduced p. 170];
J. Gudiol, Goya: biographie, analyse critique et catalogue des peintures, Paris 1970, I, pp. 267-268, no. 332; also cited pp. 89, 143, reproduced vol. III, p. 409, fig. 469;
R. de Angelis, L'Opera pittorica completa de Goya, Milan 1974, no. 297;
J. Gantner, Goya: der Künstler und seine Welt, Berlin 1974, pp. 70, 90, 154; 257, note 6, 259, note 85, 264, note 27;
W.B. Jordan, The Meadows Museum, A Visitor's Guide to the Collection, Dallas 1974, pp. 112-113, no. 25;
P. Guinard and R. de Angelis, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Goya, Paris 1976, pp. 108, no. 297, p. 109, cited under no. 312, reproduced p. 107, fig. 297;
N. Glendinning, "Goya's Patrons," in Apollo, CXIV, 236, October 1981, p. 246;
F. de Goya (A. Canellas López (ed.)), Diplomatario de Francisco de Goya, Saragossa 1981, pp. 320-321, no. 200;
F. de Goya (M. Agueda and X. de Salas (eds.)), Cartas a Martín Zapater, Madrid 1982, pp. 225-226, letter 135, p. 227, note 6;
P. Gassier, Goya, témoin de son temps, Fribourg and Paris 1983, p. 185;
V. de Cadenas y Vicent, Extracto de los expedientes de la Orden de Carlos III, 1771-1847, vol. V, Madrid 1983, p. 157, no. 1051;
M. Agueda, "Los Retratos ecuestres de Goya," in Goya: Nuevas Visiones (Homenaje a Enrique Lafuente Ferrari), Madrid 1987, p. 45 and notes 20-22, reproduced p. 45, fig. 10;
S. Symmons, Goya: In Pursuit of Patronage, London 1988, pp. 117-118, reproduced p. 107 (caption incorrectly identifies location of painting as Dallas, Meadows Museum);
Madrid, Museo del Prado, and elsewhere, Goya and the Spirit of Enlightenment, 1988-1989, p. 398;
J. Baticle, Goya, Paris 1992, pp. 225-226, 373;
J.A. Tomlinson, Goya in the Twilight of the Enlightenment, New Haven 1992, pp. 66-67, 97, 104-107, 130, 208, note 22, p. 213, note 40, reproduced plate 16 [Spanish ed.: Goya en el crepsculo del siglo de las luces, Madrid, 1993, pp. 136-139];
J.L. Morales y Marín, Goya, catalogo de la pintura, Saragossa 1994, pp. 191-192, cited under no. 152;
M.M. de las Heras in Goya: 250 aniversario, Madrid 1996, p. 358, cited under no. 79 and note 3.

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1794, this important equestrian portrait by Francisco de Goya depicts Don Manuel Godoy, Duke of Alcudia, lover to María Luisa of Bourbon Parma, Queen of Spain, and the most powerful man in Spain during the reign of Charles IV. The portrait recalls an earlier design by the great Diego Velázquez and was painted by Goya at a time when the artist was at the height of his career, following his earlier appointment as Pintor del Rey in 1786 and Primer Pintor de Cámara in 1789.

Don Manuel Godoy y Alvárez de Faria was one of the most remarkable political and military figures in Spain during the 18th and 19th centuries. Born into an impoverished noble family in Badajoz in 1767, his rise to prominence at the Spanish court was vertiginous. He received an enlightened education from his father, a Colonel in the army, and in 1784, at the age of seventeen, followed his elder brother into the Royal Life-Guards in Madrid where he rapidly secured the affections of the young Princess of Asturias, Doña María Luisa of Parma, future wife of the future Charles IV. Following the death of Charles III in 1789, María Luisa's infatuation with the dashing young officer resulted in his scandalous ascent from junior officer to the most powerful political and military figure in Spain.

In 1791 Godoy was promoted to Brigadier and then Field Marshall, and on 25th August he was awarded the Order of Charles III. In 1792 he was ennobled as Duke of Alcudia, nominated as Spanish Grandee of the First Class and appointed First Secretary of the Office and Commander of the Royal Life-Guards. In the same year he succeeded the Count of Aranda as Prime Minister and three years later, following the Treaty of Basle with the French, was conferred the title 'Prince of the Peace'. In 1797 he married the niece of Charles IV, María Teresa de Borbón y Vallabriga, Condesa de Chinchón (1779 – 1828), whose celebrated portrait by Goya is today in the Museo del Prado (see fig. 1). For sixteen years, from 1792 to 1808, Godoy formed part of what María Luisa referred to as 'the Trinity on Earth' that ruled Spain, and although Charles IV was nominally head of State, it was Godoy who effectively held the reins of power.

It seems likely that the present work was painted by Goya as a highly finished sketch for a large-scale equestrian portrait of Godoy, although there is no clear evidence that the final work was ever produced.1 Goya's portrait is based closely on his own etching (see fig. 2) of 1778 after Velázquez's large-scale Portrait of Philip IV on Horseback, painted for the Great Hall of the Buen Retiro Palace in 1635, today in the Museo del Prado.2 Godoy is depicted wearing the uniform of Commandant of the Royal Life-Guards, decorated with the blue and white sash of the Order of Charles III. With one hand resting on his hip and the other holding the reins, he is seen in total control of his mount as it performs the traditional levade. That Godoy's portrait followed the format of an earlier royal portrait is a reflection of the high regard in which the sitter held himself, a fact that would not have been lost on the artist.

Although details surrounding the precise commission of the portrait of Godoy are unknown, the painting can be accurately dated to 1794. Goya refers to the picture in a letter to his childhood friend from Zaragoza, Martín Zapater:3

'Mas te balia benirme a ayudar a pintar a la de Alba, q.e se me metio en el estudio a q.e le pintase la cara, y se salio con ello; por cierto q.e me gusta mas q.e pintar en lienzo, q.e tambien la he de retratar de cuerpo entero y bendra apenas acabe yo un borron q.e estoy aciendo de el Duque de la Alcudía a caballo q. me embio a decir me abisaria y dispondria mi alojam.to en el sitio pues me estaria mas tiempo de q.e yo pensaba: te aseguro q.e es un asunto de lo mas dific.l q.e se le puede offrec.r a un Pint.r'

'You had better come and help me paint the Duchess of Alba. She barged into my studio to have her face painted on by me, and she had her way.  To be sure, I like this better than painting on canvas, which I'll also have to do for her full-length, and this will come as soon as I have finished a sketch which I am making of the Duke of la Alcudía on horseback as he let me know that he would send for me and would settle my lodgings at El Sitio for I shall be here longer than I thought; I assure you that it is one of the most difficult subjects that could be offered to a painter.'

Although Goya inscribed his letter in jest 'London 2 August 1800', it can be dated with some certainty to 1794 on the grounds that Godoy was made Duke of Alcudia in April 1792, Prince of Peace in 1795 and that Goya's first portrait of the Duchess of Alba is signed and dated 1795, a picture today in the collection of the present Duchess of Alba.4

This documentary evidence is further supported by the precise markings of the sitter's uniform in the present work. Godoy is dressed as a Captain-General of the Royal Life-Guards, a rank to which he was promoted on 23 May 1793, with the three regulation bands of entorchados displayed on his red cuffs and the red saddle-blanket. According to Jesús María Alía Plana, the uniform of the Life-Guards was altered on 25th March 1795 to include collar and lapels of red cloth, which are absent here, thereby providing a likely terminus ante quem and further supporting the picture's likely dating to 1794.5

For many years the present portrait was deemed to be the earliest portrait of Godoy by Goya. In 1987 however an x-radiograph was published of the artist's equestrian portrait known as 'A Garrochista', today in the Museo del Prado, which is of similar scale and format to the present work, although in reverse.6 Technical analysis conducted at the time revealed that the painting had been largely repainted at an early date (seemingly not by Goya himself), no doubt soon after Godoy's fall from grace in 1808, and the x-radiograph revealed Godoy's distinctive rotund and straight-nosed features concealed beneath the over-paint. This extraordinary revelation helped to rationalise the presence of the painting in the Royal Collection, until it was transferred to the Prado in August 1819, and revealed the earliest known portrait of Godoy by Goya. Whilst the date of the Prado picture is not known, Godoy is once again depicted in the uniform of the Royal Life-Guards, although his seemingly more youthful and lively features visible from the x-radiograph point to a slightly earlier dating than the present work. The presence of the sash of the Order of Charles III provides a terminus post quem of 25 August 1791, the date Godoy was conferred the Order, and it seems likely that the portrait may have been commissioned to celebrate the sitter's ennoblement as Duke of Alcudia in April 1792.

Godoy sat to Goya on one further occasion, in 1801, following his victorious military campaign against the Portuguese in the so-called War of the Oranges. His large-scale portrait, today in the Academia de San Fernando, Madrid, shows the corpulent and rather pompous figure of Godoy on the battlefield, seated before a captured Portuguese standard, holding a letter from his sovereigns (see fig. 3). Goya's somewhat unflattering depiction of the sitter, reflects the artist's apparent disdain for a man who oversaw the end of social and political progress made under Charles III, only to be replaced by the decadence, immorality and violence of the disastrous reign of Charles IV. The leading enlightened and liberal figures of the day, such as Jovellanos, Saavedra, Urquijo and Ceán Bermúdez (many of whom were Goya's friends) were dismissed, exiled or imprisoned, and after 1801 Godoy started to pursue a political agenda that favoured Napoleon, leading to renewed war with England and the defeat of the Spanish-French fleet at Trafalgar in 1805.

At around the time of the Convention of Fontainebleau in 1807, Charles IV and Godoy invited Napoleonic troops onto Spanish soil, with the pretext they were to assist with the war with Portugal, however within weeks the French had taken occupation of various Spanish towns. The following year saw bloody uprisings in Madrid, so vividly recorded in Goya's large canvases of the Dos de Mayo and Tres de Mayo, and the opposition forced Charles IV to abdicate and replaced him with his son the Infante Ferdinand, the so-called deseado.7 Godoy was captured and almost massacred by a mob in Aranjuez, although was rescued by the French, whom he had served so well to the detriment of his own country, and followed the King and Queen into exile. He spent the rest of his life in Paris, where he died in poverty and obscurity on 4th October 1851.


1. Jeanne Baticle has suggested that Goya's final work lies beneath the artist's Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Wellington at Apsley House, London, for which see J. Baticle, Goya, Paris 1992, pp. 225-27 & 373.

2. See J. López-Rey, Velázquez, Catalogue Raisonné, Cologne 1996, vol. II, pp. 176-77, no. 71, reproduced.

3. For a reproduction of the letter, see the exhibition catalogue, Goya: Truth and Fantasy, The Small Paintings, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 17 March – 12 June 1994, and The Art Institute, Chicago, 16 July – 16 October 1994, p. 25, figure 7.

4. See, op. cit., p. 26, reproduced figure 8.

5. See J.M. Alía-Plana, 'El uniforme de la escolta y Estado Mayor del Generalísimo Príncipe de la Paz: el retrato de Godoy en la Real Academia de San Fernando, por Goya', in Cuadernos de Ayala, vol. IV, 2000, pp. 29-32.

6. For a reproduction of the x-radiograph and the painting, see op. cit., pp. 252-53, reproduced figure 184 and no. 60 respectively.

7. See the exhibition catalogue, Goya en Tiempos de Guerra, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 2008, pp. 353-69, nos. 123 & 124, reproduced pp. 354 & 355.