La maja desnuda  

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Image:Maja desnuda by Goya.jpg
La maja desnuda (executed some time between 1797 and 1800) by Francisco de Goya

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La maja desnuda ("The Nude maja") is an oil painting on canvas by the master Spanish painter, Francisco de Goya, that portrays a nude woman reclining on a bed of pillows. It was executed some time between 1797 and 1800, and is sometimes erroneously said to be the first clear depiction of female pubic hair in Western art. Erroneous because other artists had certainly hinted at it before, and; Lucas Cranach's painting Water Nymph Resting from the 1530s clearly shows pubic hair.

Goya also created another painting of the same woman identically posed, but clothed, entitled La maja vestida ("The Clothed maja"). The identity of the model and why the paintings were created are still unknown. Both paintings were first recorded as belonging to the collection of Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy, and it has been conjectured that the woman depicted was his young mistress. It has also been suggested that the woman was María del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva y Álvarez de Toledo, 13th Duchess of Alba, with whom Goya is rumored to have been romantically involved and did complete known portraits of. However, many scholars have rejected this possibility, including Australian art critic Robert Hughes in his 2003 biography, Goya. Others believe the woman depicted is actually a composite of several different models.

In 1815, the Spanish Inquisition summoned Goya to reveal who commissioned him to create the "obscene" La maja desnuda, and he was consequently stripped of his position as the Spanish court painter. If Goya gave an explanation of the painting's origin to the Inquisition, that account has never surfaced.

In 1930, two sets of stamps depicting La maja desnuda in commemoration of Goya's work were privately produced and later approved by the Spanish Postal Authority. That same year, the United States government barred and returned any mail bearing the stamps.

La Maja Desnuda is in the collection of the Museo del Prado in Madrid and is on display next to La Maja Vestida in the same room.

One of a pair

Goya created another painting of the same woman identically posed, but clothed, entitled La maja vestida (The Clothed Maja); also in the Prado, it is usually hung next to La maja desnuda. The identity of the model and why the paintings were created are still unknown. Both paintings were first recorded as belonging to the collection of Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy, Duke of Alcudia, and it has been conjectured that the woman depicted was his young mistress. It has also been suggested that the woman was María del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva y Álvarez de Toledo, 13th Duchess of Alba, with whom Goya is rumored to have been romantically involved and did complete known portraits of. However, many scholars have rejected this possibility, including Australian art critic Robert Hughes in his 2003 biography, Goya. Many agree that Pepita Tudó is a more likely candidate. Others believe the woman depicted is actually a composite of several different models.

In 1815, the Spanish Inquisition summoned Goya to reveal who commissioned him to create the "obscene" La maja desnuda, and he was consequently stripped of his position as the Spanish court painter. If Goya gave an explanation of the painting's origin to the Inquisition, that account has never surfaced. Two sets of stamps depicting La maja desnuda in commemoration of Goya's work were privately produced in 1930, and later approved by the Spanish Postal Authority. That same year, the United States government barred and returned any mail bearing the stamps.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "La maja desnuda" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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