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Bartolomé Sureda y MiserolBartolomé Sureda y Miserol
9.83 (12)

Bartolomé Sureda y Miserol

This is one of Goya's liveliest male portraits. The sitter's relaxed stance reflects the painter's intimate response to a friend, a young liberal whose disheveled hair and garb in the mode of revolutionary France speaks not only of his affinity for contemporary French fashion, but also of his sympathy for current French politics.

Goya's life spanned a period of political upheaval and military turmoil. In the early years of the nineteenth century, before he witnessed the horror of the Peninsular wars, Goya welcomed the idea of a Napoleonic invasion, believing the ideals of the French revolution to be the only antidote to the abuses of the Spanish monarchy. Bartolomé Sureda was one of a group of like-minded liberal intellectuals.

A clever young industrialist, Sureda studied cotton spinning in England in order to introduce the technique into Spain. Later he went to France to learn the secrets of Sèvres porcelain manufacture and in 1802 became director of the Spanish royal porcelain factory at Buen Retiro. During the French invasion of Spain, Napoleon considered him so important to Spanish industry that he detained him in France.

Since this portrait predates many of the sitter's illustrious achievements, Goya presented him, not as a brilliant industrialist, but simply as an urbane young man.
119.7 x 79.3 cm (47 1/8 x 31 1/4 in.)
Oil on canvas
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington
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