Queen María Luisa of Spain, 1800, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746–1827), oil on canvas
Goya painted this portrait of the Spanish queen from life to use as a model for his famous group portrait The Family of Charles IV, now in the Prado Museum, Madrid. Since this portrait was originally a sketch, Goya painted only the queen and her immediate background and left the rest of the canvas exposed. In 1800 there were sharp distinctions between sketches and finished works of art, and in general sketches were not publicly exhibited. One of Goya’s studio assistants completed this sketch as a finished portrait by painting over the exposed canvas in the background and reworking the arms. Until recently, the painting was attributed to a follower of Goya. New research has confirmed that the painting is by the great master himself.