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Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de (1746-1828)
Black Paintings: Manola (La Leocadia)Date: 1819-23
Technique: Oil on canvas
Museum: Museo del Prado
Dimensions: 147 x 132 cm
The painting is one of Goya's fourteen "Black Paintings", a series worked on when in his seventies and consumed by political and private conflict, Goya fled Madrid for the country, and in turmoil, painted directly onto the interior walls of his house La Quinta del Sordo.
The picture depicts Leocadia Weiss (ne Zorrilla), the artist's young maid and distant relative. She was his companion and along with her daughter Rosario, lived with and cared for Goya after his wife's death. Not much is known about her. From her representations it has been assumed that she was striking looking (if not pretty), and probably in her early 30s at the time of this portrait. Leocadia was likely related to the Goicoechea family; a wealthy dynasty into which the artist's son, Javier, earlier married. It is believed she held liberal political views and was as unafraid of expressing them, a fact met with disapproval by Goya's family.
The painting's funeral air is established through the shading of the background and the colouring of the model's veil and dress. She is positioned before an open blue sky, leaning against a rock which may be a burial mound. Leocadia looks thoughtfully towards the viewer, and despite the colouring, is portrayed in a sympathetic manner. The painting contains both a sense of peace and air of reconcilitation absent in the other works from the series.
It is known that Leocadia had an unhappy marriage with a jeweler, Isideo Weiss, but was separated since 1811. She had two children before the marriage dissolved. Leocadia bore a third, Rosario, in 1814 when she 26. Isideo was not the father, and it has often been speculated â€“ although with little firm evidence â€“ that the child was belong to Goya.
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