Maria Teresa de Vallabriga y Rojas

P1060943It’s hard to put Rembrant’s portraits in the shade, but I’m afraid Goya more than gives him a run for his money.  In fact I’d go so far as to say he totally eclipses him.

In the usual packed blockbuster at the National Portrait Gallery, I stood behind a group of, shall we say, mature friends, discussing the particular position of Maria Teresa de Vallabriga y Rojas on her horse.  The more forthright (Lady F) of them commented “But if she’s really riding side saddle – which she would be – her legs are twisted in far too exaggerated a fashion!”

I looked at the portrait and tried to figure it out.  Meanwhile the debate raged on.  I couldn’t help it, I had to interject.  I explained to the trio that I felt Goya had done it deliberately.  That his main focus was on getting her face in profile, therefore he had to have her twist her legs around far more prominently so that we got the full picture so to speak.  “After all, he’s an artist” I said, “He’s entitled to be economical with the truth.”

Her friends moved on as Lady F answered me.  “Let me tell you, I ride side saddle and it doesn’t look remotely like that.”

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It’s like in December everyone you know says ‘We must catch up before Christmas!’ which is swiftly followed by festive cards that read ‘Let’s meet in the New Year!’

The situation today was in a similar vein: Given that the current blockbuster exhibition was ending imminently we thought we’d better get down there to view it – along with the rest of the country.

“We’re definitely amongst those people of a certain age” my cousin noted looking around her at the grey/white haired heads populating the Sainsbury wing of the National Gallery.  “Yes – quite!  That’s the joy of not working Rach!” I replied instantly.

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