Intensity & Introspection. Portrait of Tadea Arias de Enríquez by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
Peculiarities of Spanish Fashion At The End Of The 18th Century
In Spain, just like in other European countries, dressing habits during the late 18th century were influenced by the French fashion. The turning point was 1780.
Fashionable Spanish ladies during this time turned into the majas (from Spanish language) and wore some kind of maja's costume. It also meant that regional national and traditional costume elements were included into mainstream fashion of that time. This feature also had its roots in France during the second part of the 18th century.
When dressed like majas, the Spanish ladies were no longer covering their hair with powder, and their dresses no longer showed protrusions on their hips, the so-called paniers (from French) or baskets. And yet, in the portrait of the Queen María Luisa painted by Francisko de Goya in 1789, an old fashioned gown reappears again! Outfit of the Queen was made with 17th-century Spanish farthingale skirts called tontillo.
In the meantime, the true followers of fashion in Spain completely abandoned such a representative ceremony. Their outfits were made of lightweight and airy materials, mostly white and black, with pink or red accents. The most illustrative examples for this peculiarity are a few portraits of Duchess Alba painted by Goya.
One of these portraits was painted in 1795, depicting the "White Duchess"/ Duchess of Alba with a stylish maja hairstyle and an outfit that is made of white crisp fabric and supplemented by dramatic red accents. The second portrait of Duchess Alba was painted in 1797, portraying her as the "Black Duchess" in the mourning dress. It is dominated by black lace, which is the local tradition of Spain and the fashionable feature of the Southern European countries. Spanish ladies, indeed, on their shoulders and also on their heads, often wore lace mantilla, protecting themselves
from the rays of bright sun and heat, as well as reflecting the Catholic dressing traditions according to the ideals of the Counter-Reformation. According to the late-18th century fashion trends, skirts have become slightly shorter, revealing the details of the shoe décor. The waistline was especially emphasized. And it was also a locally unique feature of the 18th-century Spanish fashion costume.
Tadea Arias de Enríquez and Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes - Spanish Romantic Painter and Printmaker
Tadea, the main character of this story, as portrayed by Goya, however, is showing more sympathy for the French fashion.
Identification of the lady in this portrait was made possible by the very detailed coat of arms in the lower left corner of the painting. She is Tadea Arias, who was born in Castromocho, Palencia, in 1770. She married Tomás de León, a captain who had retired from the American Regiment, and when she was widowed she took a new husband in 1793: Pedro Antonio Enríquez y Bravo, a captain in the infantry and a counselor-for-life in Vélez-Málaga, where the couple made their residence. Tadea was widowed yet again, and again remarried, this third time to Fernando Villanueva y Pardos. [3.]
The coat of arms, of the house of Arías joined to the house of León, indicates almost certainly that the portrait was done during Tadea’s first marriage-perhaps, indeed, specifically for that occasion, which took place in 1789. Her first husband had belonged to one of the Duke of Osuna’s regiments, and his brother was the administrator of the Duchess of Jabalquinto’s family’s assets. Pedro de Alcántara Tellez Girón y Beaufort Spontin (1810-1844), tenth Duke of Osuna and possessor of more noble titles and rents than any other person of his time, was one of Goya’s most important clients, and that may explain the connection between Tadea Arias, a member of the lesser nobility, and Goya. [3.]
Tadea's Sophisticated Dress
Tadea Arias de Enríquez is depicted by Francisco de Goya in full-length portrait. She is dressed in an up-to-date fashion outfit that shows a lot of references to French and English fashions at the end of the 18th century.
Tadea is wearing an airy tulle dress with lace trim. Goya has perfectly reproduced the fabric's translucency, and therefore the pink rows worn under the light overdress are clearly visible. In the 80's of the 18th century, a fabric sash was used instead of a belt, which is tied behind back in a large knot. This time, Tadea's Spanish mentality is highlighted by a black ribbon that is just as translucent as the bright top of her dress. The black tulle band is affixed to the cameo which is a reference to the influence of classicism in the second half of the 18th century.
Particular attention is drawn to Tadea's hairstyle, which is made in Spanish maja style, just like it is in the portrait of the "White Duchess". And yet, there is no shortage of references to the influence of Marie Antoinette in the second half of the 18th century. This is evidenced by Tadea's hairstyle with black, thick hair and long curls on the back. It is made in the French style, but also without losing the taste of Spanish national qualities.
Light-colored, pointed toe and silver-plated shoes are well matched. It is another reflection of Classicism and late Rococo fashion synthesis.A special accent in this portrait is the bright, fine leather gloves. Tadea is portrayed when she looks at the viewer pulling her glove on her right hand. Such a neglected and well-thought-out gesture that emphasizes Goya's mastery of creating a person's psychological portrait! ...
The intricacies of exquisite shades and texture in this outfit are further enhanced by lace details and embroidery, marking this new outline in a Western European fashion.
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My name is Edīte Parute and I am a fashion historian and researcher from Latvia, association member at "The Association of Dress Historians" (UK) and author of the book "Stila un modes enciklopēdija"/"Encyclopedia of Style and Fashion" (2010) as well as author of many publications.