His Most Famous Painting (The Parasol) – Francisco Goya

Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes of Spain was a very famous painter and printmaker of the eighteenth century. His immense popularity is attributed to his European style of painting, fetching the appreciation of the European kings and queens. Goya’s “The Parasol” or “the Quitasol,” painted in 1777, is by far his most successful painting. Most of his paintings were centered on women, including this one. Goya created “The Parasol” when the Prince and the Princess of Asturias called him to Madrid to paint cartoons for their dining room tapestry in the Royal Palace of El Pardo in Madrid. A copy of “The Parasol” was woven into wool for hanging in the palace.

This oil on linen painting, measuring 104 cm x 152 cm, is known for its brilliant color scheme and brightness. “The Parasol” or “The Quitasol” depicts a pretty, young woman sitting on a hillock with a folded fan in her right hand. Dressed in the then French style, she is wearing a bright yellow skirt with a blue blouse lined with fur, and a dark brown shawl. A red scarf adorns her head. On her lap, rests a little black and white puppy. Next to her, stands a young man dressed in Majo or Maja style. He is wearing a brown coat with a light red waistcoat. He holds a bright green ‘parasol’ (umbrella) right above the woman’s countenance. The left arm of the man is folded to rest on his waist. The folded fan, the ‘parasol,’ and the puppy suggest that the woman follows French fashion and belongs to a royal family, which creates an air of vanity about her. In the background, the leafy branches of a tall tree, bending opposite to the two human figures, depict windy weather. Towards the right side of the damsel is a high stonewall. Therefore, Goya has purposely placed all the bright colors, such as green, blue, red, and yellow in the center of the picture to create a cheerful effect, which was exactly compliant to the desires of the royal family. The flirtatious smile of the protagonist along with her direct gaze adds to the vivaciousness of the painting and gives a classic touch to it.

Francisco’s pictures were always appreciated for their light and shadow effect. His creation of light on canvas was magnificent and this helped him capture a warm and cozy environment in his paintings. In “The Parasol” or “The Quitasol,” too he has used lead white paint to create brightness and shadow lines. The elegance and the beauty of this painting, dipped in ‘Classicism,’ always had people flocking to admire it at the Prado Museum (Museo del Prado) in Madrid, where it is currently displayed.