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The Maja Paintings

The Clothed Maja        The Naked Maja

 

The Clothed Maja (La maja vestida)  hangs side by side with The Naked Maja in the Prado museum. The paintings were first owned by Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy, who was known as an avid womanizer, and originally hung in his home in front of the Naked Maja in such a manner that the Naked Maja could be revealed at any time with the help of a pulley mechanism.

The Naked Maja is the painting that caused the Spanish Inquisition to interrogate and ultimately threaten Goya if he ever painted another nude woman. He was asked to reveal the name of the model but he refused. He then was banished from being the King’s painter and was essentially retired to his home where he painted mostly family and friends and some clients. Some think the model in the painting is the Countess D’Alba but the face is not at all similar to the known paintings of her. Most now think the face and body are two or more women.

The Naked Maja is also known as one of the earliest Western artworks to depict a nude woman’s pubic hair without obvious negative connotations (such as in images of prostitutes).

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