In 1796, José María Álvarez de Toledo y Gonzaga passed away. His wife, María Cayetana de Silva, retreated to her estate in Sanlúcar, Andalucia, and Goya went with her. He stayed there for a year or two, and his art of the time captured several domestic moments in the estate. The two images above include María de la Luz, a young black girl who lived with the duchess.
Most sources say that the Duchess, who had no children of her own, adopted her (one even gives the year of adoption as 1795). However, some simply say that María lived in the household, or that the Duchess took her under her wing, or had “virtually adopted” her. I believe she was born in Havana in 1793, the daughter of a slave woman, and according to one source the duchess emancipated her (María, not her mother). When the duchess wrote her will, she included María, along with several servants and Goya’s son, Javier.
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, La duquesa de Alba teniendo en sus brazos a María de la Luz (“The Duchess of Alba holding María de la Luz”), 1796-1797. Sanlúcar Album / Album A. India ink wash.
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, La Beata con Luis de Berganza y María de la Luz, 1795. Oil painting.
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