Title: Portrait of Doña Antonia Zárate
Date: c.1805
Medium: Oil on canvas
103.5 x 82 cm
Credit Line: Presented, Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, 1987 (Beit Collection)
Object Number: NGI.4539
DescriptionThe sitter in Goya’s popular painting was a famous actress, the daughter of Pedro de Zárate Valdés, also an actor. She married the singer Bernardo Gil y Aguado and their son Antonio Gil y Zárate was to become a renowned poet and playwright. In the picture, the actress’s black dress and lace mantilla are in stark contrast with the yellow sofa, a prop that Goya had in his studio. In her hands she holds a fleco (a fan) and her arms are covered with white, silky, fingerless gloves. Her gaze is slightly melancholic, while a pinch of irony appears in her smile. This painting is among a number of beautiful female portraits that Goya executed before the Peninsula War. He greatly admired the theatre and its protagonists, and painted many of their portraits with an intimacy that marks them out in his work. A few years later she sat for him again, and that portrait, on a smaller scale, is today in the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.

March 2016
ProvenanceRemained in the family of the sitter until at least 1900, when it was exhibited as the property of Doña Adelaida Gil y Zárate, Madrid; Colnaghi, London; M. Knoedler & Co., London, April 1910; Sir Otto Beit, London, June 1910; by descent to Sir Alfred Beit, 1930; presented, Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, 1987 (Beit Collection)
Exhibition HistoryObras de Goya, Madrid, 1900

Old Masters, Grafton Galleries, London, 1911

Exhibition of Spanish Paintings at the Royal Academy, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1920-1921

Exhibition of Spanish Art, Including Pictures, Drawings and Engravings by Goya, Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1928

An Exhibition of Old Masters by Spanish Artists, Tomás Harris Gallery, London, 1931

An Exhibition of Spanish Paintings, The Arts Council, The National Gallery, London, 1947

Old Master Paintings from the Beit Collection, South Africa National Gallery, Cape Town, 1948

Goya, Kunsthalle, Basle, 1953

Paintings from Irish collections, Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin, 1957

Stora Spanska Mästare, National Museum, Stockholm, 1959-1960

Francisco de Goya y Luncientes, 1746-1828, Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, 1961-1962

Goya and his times, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1963-1964

The Age of Neo-Classicism, Royal Academy of Arts, London; The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1972

El Greco to Goya. The Taste for Spanish Paintings in Britain and Ireland, The National Gallery, London, 1981

Goya: Un Regard Libre, Palais de beaux-arts, Lille, 11 December 1998 - 14 March 1999; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 17 April - 11 July 1999

Goya, Images of Women, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 30 October 2001 - 9 February 2002; National Gallery of Art, Washington, 10 March - 2 June 2002

Goya - Prophet der Moderne, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin, 12 July - 28 September 2005

Goya: Order and Disorder, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 12 October 2014 - 19 January 2015

Goya's Portraits, National Gallery, London, 7 October 2015 - 10 January 2016
Label TextAntonia, a famous Spanish actress, is shown wearing a black dress and an intricately painted black lace mantilla. Her dark figure stands out in stark contrast to the shimmering gold sofa that she sits on, a prop from Goya’s studio. Her arms are covered with pale silk mitts and she holds a fleco (fan) in her hands. Her gaze is slightly melancholic, while a pinch of irony appears in her smile. Following an extended period of illness in Cadiz in 1792-3, Goya became deaf. He returned to Madrid, and was court painter to Charles IV around the time that he painted this portrait.

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