Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 17461828)
Oil on canvas; 40 1/4 x 32 in. (102.2 x 81.3 cm)
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915 (30.95.242)
After recovering from a serious illness in 181920, Goya painted this portrait of one of his close friends. The sitter is the architect who designed the medical school on the Calle de Atocha in Madrid. He was elected to the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in 1818. Don Tiburcio is known to have been quarrelsome and enjoyed a reputation as a bullfighter, an interest that he shared with the artist. This is one of the most engaging of Goya's three-quarter-length portraits of men. Almost all are painted against a dark background, and the figures are often turned away from the viewer. Despite his reputation, Pérez seems more ingenuous than most of Goya's male sitters. His rolled-up sleeves and the slight smile suggest an informal directness and warmth that are rare in the artist's portraits. The portrait of Pérez shares the dark palette and vigorous handling of the Black Paintings (Prado, Madrid) that Goya executed at about the same time for his own house, the Quinta del Sordo.