Wednesday, May 1, 2013




The paintings I’ve chosen are The Majas, by Francisco de Goya. They are some of his most famous paintings. The Naked Maja was painted between 1790 and 1800, and The Dressed Maja was painted later between 1802 and 1805. The Naked Maja is an oil painting on canvas and its dimensions are 97 cm x 190 cm and The Dressed Maja is also an oil painting on canvas and its dimensions are 95 cm x 188 cm. The Dressed Maja is less famous than the The Naked Maja.

The Majas were commissioned by Manuel Godoy, as it is certain that both paintings were part of Godoy's home's office. Both paintings belonged to Manuel Godoy until Ferdinand VII of Spain confiscated them in 1808. But in 1814 the Inquisition seized The Naked Maja because it was very "obscene". Goya was carried to trial but he was released without charge. The painting was deposited out from the public view until the first decades of the 20th century.

The Nacked Maja was part of Godoy's cabinet in company of the famous Rokeby Venus by Velázquez and two other paintings by Titian. Goya's paintings were known by a different name: in 1808 Frederic Quillet, wrote the inventory of the collection of Godoy's cabinet, describing them as "Gipsy".

Later in the inventory in 1814, when the properties seized from Godoy were already in El Depósito de Secuestros of the Alcalá’s Street, The Dressed Maja is aforementioned as "a woman clothed of maja" , a name that became widespread from them on.

Both paintings have been exhibited in El Prado Museum in Madrid since 1910.

Francisco de Goya

 El Prado Museum


In The Dressed Maja, the woman dresses a white long garb that stylizes her beautiful figure. Her waist stands out her a pale pink bow. She has a short jacket (similar to the bullfighters), whose sleeves are orange and the cuffs are finished off with a black lace. She is wearing golden shoes.

In both paintings the background is dark but each one has a different type of brown. The women are lying on  divans with white cushions. But In The Naked Maja the divan is aquamarine and in The Dressed Maja the divan is yellowish green. Their arms are below their nape.

Both woman are the same and they are looking directly to the observer. They have curly dark hair, but we don't know if they have their hair upsweep or not. Their skin is very white skin and their eyes are dark.


Because of the rumors that there was a fling between Goya and María del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva y Álvarez de Toledo (13th Duchess of Alba), people thought that she was the woman represented in The Majas. Another hypothesis says that the Maja might have been a prostitute of high ostentation due to her provocative position. Her rogue and appealing look can reinforce this idea.

The hypothesis of Duchess of Alba seems to be rejected and if the person who ordered them was the royal minister, it is possible that the model was his mistress Pepita Tudó. What is clear is that the painter presents a really distant model from their predecessors.

Possibly she was a woman of high social class due to the gold shoes of The Dressed Maja.

It is said that Godoy (first minister and the favorite of Queen Mª Luisa of Parma) dindn't have both paintings together, but The Dressed Maja covered The Naked Maja, as a kind of screen that  discovered the other one with a clever mechanism.

In The Naked Maja, the theme is exceptional in the Spanish painting. It is one of the most fascinating nudes in the history of art.

The Naked Maja is the first female figure of the history of painting that shows the pubic hair. It is not a mythological image but a woman of flesh and bone.

In The Dressed Maja , the look is more intense and penetrating than in The Naked Maja. The preciosity and the refinement of her dress and the decoration contrast with her naked sister. In this painting the brush-stokes are more loose and they are more goyesque. Due to this she seems alive.

For many people, The Dressed Maja is more attractive than the Naked Maja due to her tight dress and her provocative position, as we know many times suggesting is more erotic than showing.

There are a lot of doubts about the reddish object which appears under the cushions, some people thought that it was the handle of a knife or dagger. Other sources affirm that it is a closed fan.

Goya drew inspiration from Velázquez's Venus in her Mirror to paint The Majas. He was a great admirer of Velázquez.


Goya was not a typical painter and after his illness, Goya changed his way of painting completely and he can’t be classified in a specific style. His style was personal.

In The Majas, Goya shows us refined and elegant forms, in a set of curves, lights and shadows. Here Goya shows himself sensual, courteous and in love. The shine of the clothing produces multiple shades.

There are impressionist features in The Dressed Maja, such as the representation of the background with loose, imperfect brush-strokes…

Goya is one of the most ambiguous figures in art.

Some paintings inspired on the Majas:


Examples of Goya’s neoclassicism:




I love these paintings because both women are almost exactly identical, and this has merit. Before researching about them I thought that Goya painted them one above the other, but while I was working on the project, I realized that I was confused. I like how Goya added details to the body of The Naked Maja. I saw more painting of this painter and I love them. I like Goya very much.

1 comment:

Paqui Pérez Fons said...

You haven't corrected the project. So your final mark is 6.5. See you!