Exhibitions: European Paintings

Goya: Don Tadeo Bravo de Rivero

The most successful portraitist in early nineteenth-century Spain, Goya painted the royal family as well as the era’s most distinguished civil and military leaders, including the subject of this work. Tadeo Bravo de Rivero wears the brilliant uniform of a cavalry officer: a scarlet coat trimmed with gold and silver braid (here adorned with the medal of the prestigious Order of Santiago), tight-fitting leggings, high boots with gleaming spurs, and a ceremonial sword at the hip. His tri-cornered hat in his left hand, Tadeo Bravo majestically gestures to the battle-darkened sky with his right hand, holding a riding crop. At the officer’s feet, Goya places a dog, a traditional symbol of fidelity suggesting the subject’s devotion to his king. Though this is a formal portrait, the artist declares his friendship with Tadeo Bravo by adding the signed dedication “A su amigo” (To his friend) in the lower left corner.