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Goya’s Great Mystery

Painter Francisco Goya is Spain’s national treasure — in fact, even the nation’s version of the Oscars are named after him. For most of his life, the artist was a painter to the royal court, but in his old age, he left Spain, disillusioned with the political situation, and settled in France. It was there that he painted what some think was his final work, the Milkmaid of Bordeaux.

The image is lighter in theme and tone than his earlier works, which makes historians wonder: did he really paint it? In fact, some wonder if the painting’s subject — Rosario Weiss, the daughter of Goya’s companion — may have actually painted the work herself. Adding to the intrigue: it’s speculated that Weiss may have been Goya’s illegitimate daughter.
The Milkmaid was part of the inspiration for the 2006 film, Goya’s Ghosts — director Milos Forman cast Natalie Portman in the film for her resemblance to the painting.

So, is the painting a “real” Goya? Today, you can see the painting at Madrid’s Museo del Prado and decide for yourself.
Learn more about Goya — and see Spain through his eyes — in Art+Travel Europe, in stores this March.

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