Nude Maja by Francisco de Goya

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Nude Maja by Francisco de Goya

An image of Venus in the nude, lying on a green velvet divan with pillows and a spread. Legend would have it that this was the Duchess of Alba, but the sitter has also been identified as Pepita Tudó, who became Godoy’s mistress in 1797.

It is listed for the first time in 1800 as hanging over a door in Manuel Godoy’s palace, but without its companion, The Clothed Maja (P741). In 1808 it is mentioned again, along with The Clothed Maja (P741), in the inventory which Frédéric Quillet, José Bonaparte’s agent, made of the property of Manuel Godoy, who may have commissioned it. Then, in 1813, the two ladies are described as Gypsies in the inventory of Godoy’s property confiscated by King Fernando VII.

This work entered the Prado Museum in 1901 by way of the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, where it had been from 1808 to 1813, and again from 1836 to 1901. In the hiatus between those two periods, it was sequestered by the Inquisition.

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