The sitter in Goya’s The Milkmaid of Bordeaux is often said to be Rosario Weiss. Some say she was Goya’s daughter. An alternative sitter is Leocadia Zorilla de Weiss, who was a nursemaid to Goya in the final years of his life. She was his lover and Rosario Weiss’s mother. The Milkmaid of Bordeaux is Goya’s last painting of a female subject. Some scholars suggest it appears to be the work of a female artist. Some claim it may have been painted by Rosario Weiss with the Goya’s help. X-ray tests revealed sketches of other figures beneath the painted surface, an uncommon element for Goya. According to Prado officials, the authenticity of both The Colossus and The Milkmaid of Bordeaux has been under suspicion for years.
The Milkmaid Of Bordeaux (1825–1827), Museo Del Prado, Madrid, Spain
Attributed To Goya (Francisco De Goya Y Lucientes), Majas On A Balcony (1800–1810), Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York, New York
Majas on a Balcony at the Metropolitan Museum of art in New York is one of several Goya paintings once considered to be autograph works by Goya. Its authenticity is now questioned. There are several different versions of Majas on a Balcony which belong to different institutions and collections. Doubts about the attribution of this version began in 1989. This painting is not recorded until 1835, seven years after the artist’s death. Other autograph Goyas were documented in some form during the artist’s lifetime. Some believe the painting to be a replica by Goya’s son Javier Goya, who was responsible for selling the undisputed version of the same subject. With the exception of important portrait commissions, Goya does not repeat or duplicate his paintings. Another theory is that it could have been damaged and subsequently heavily restored. The Met acknowledges the shortcomings of their version. They claim restorations have damaged the painting.
In their publication “Goya in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” the Met states the painting displays all the hallmarks of a copy, including the fact that the balcony was the first element painted following the dresses (unlike in the undisputed version in which the balcony was added only after the dresses were fitted to the figures). Scholars point to the painting’s fresh canvas base that uncharacteristically bears no sign of previous work (unlike the canvases of the related compositions Maja and Celestina and Old Crones), as well as the watery application of the skin tones and hackneyed design of the lace as supporting elements that remove this version of Majas on a Balcony from Goya’s oeuvre.
A City on a Rock was originally purchased by an American collector in Spain during the 19th century and attributed to Goya. The authenticity of the painting was accepted until about 1970. A City on a Rock is now considered to have been painted by a contemporary or later follower of Goya. The painting may have been executed as late as 1875. Art historians cite the disparity in compositional elements that indicate this to be a painting merely in the style of Goya.
Style Of Goya: A City On A Rock (Spanish, 19th Century), Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York, New York
Self-Portrait With Spectacles (Circa 1800), Musée Goya, Castres, France
Self-Portrait With Spectacles (19th Century), Musée Bonnat-Helleu, Bayonne, France
The Restoration Service of the Museums of France (RSMF) authenticated the Musée Bonnat version of Goya’s Self-Portrait with Spectacles. While this is excellent news for the Musée Bonnat, it casts into question the version of Self-Portrait with Spectacles owned by the Musée Goya. Although the results of the scientific testing led authorities at Musée Bonnat to conclude the version at the Musée Goya is merely a copy after their version, authorities at the Musée Goya insist that the version owned by the Musée Bonnat is, in fact, the preparatory painting. They say it was created before their version. In fact, some examples of preparatory paintings for Goya masterpieces do exist. Self-Portrait with Spectacles can be viewed as a precursor to Goya’s Self-Portrait in his later masterpiece Charles IV of Spain and His Family, the composition of which was partially inspired by Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas (1656), in which the artist also includes a self-portrait behind his canvas.
This portrait of the Prince of Asturias at age 16 is one example of a Goya painting that was elevated from the status of copy to original. There was, however, some work done on the painting by Goya’s workshop. This piece is considered to be one of the famous full-scale oil sketches that Goya made of the family of King Charles IV. Like the other portraits in this series, the most attention is given to the likeness of the sitter while the sitter’s outfit is less detailed in its rendering. From this, scholars believe that an artist other than Goya brought the painting to its final level of completion, thus the inclusion of the workshop in this attribution.
Ferdinand VII (1784–1833), When Prince Of Asturias, Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York, New York
Bullfight In A Divided Ring, Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York, New York
The theme of the bullfight is pervasive in Goya’s works and is present in a series of prints and paintings entitled the Tauromaquia. This painting, Bullfight in a Divided Ring, is the subject of controversy among scholars and holds the current status of “attributed to” Goya after having been elevated from the previously published status of “in the style of” Goya. This is perhaps due to the recent technical testing. A coat of arms of King Charles III of Spain, under the painting, was shown through x-radiograph. X-ray florescence provided the information necessary to map the colors used in the painting – colors such as vermillion (mercury), yellow (gold), and blue-green (copper). Infrared reflectography revealed the immediacy and gestural brushwork present in the painting. Despite the known boom in the 19th century of copying Goya’s works of this theme, supporters of the painting point to the work’s apparent expert handling of the foreground as an indicator of Goya’s direct hand.
Despite bearing the artist’s signature on the ring of the sitter, a hallmark of Goya, this painting has come under question. Its authenticity is questioned because of its perceived formulaic execution. The sitter’s husband, Juan Bautista de Goicoechea y Urrutia, whose portrait was thought to be the pennant of this one, is apparently distantly related to Gumersinda Goicoechea, who married Goya's son Javier in 1805.
Narcisa Barañana De Goicoechea (1805–1816), Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York, New York
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