After the war between Spain and the First French Empire, which began in 1808 with the invasion of Napoleonic troops and ended in 1814 with the return of Fernando VII to Spain and absolute power, Spain was destined to shake up its social structures with the emergence of diversified social classifications. 

There were still the noble families with land titles and wealth, and of course the peasants who owned nothing, but now there was a newly emerged stratum in Spanish society based on the wealth created by trade, manufactures, modern agriculture, retail, professions such as doctors and lawyers, and even arts and crafts. These self-employed people and family businesses formed a social class based on materialism and the pursuit of respectability called the bourgeoisie. 

The bourgeoisie was now the class of people who wanted companion dogs to demonstrate their ability to spend their leisure time, and so the miniature dog breeds made a big comeback. Small dogs were now a symbol of success, a happy family life and a home because they had a good income.

With his regular loyal patrons in exile or worse, Goya produced independent projects, non-commissioned works, with an altered social perspective on the bourgeoisie.

A perfect example of this was Goya's own son, Francisco Javier Goya y Bayeu, his only son from his marriage to Josefa Bayeu. Born in Madrid in 1785, Javier was always pampered by his parents. In 1800, the boy fell ill with smallpox. Friends of the family nicknamed the boy "The Grey Man" because of his unassuming personality.


In 1805, Javier turned 20 years old and wed Gumersinda Goicoechea in the Parish of San Ginés. She was the daughter of Martín Miguel de Goicoechea, a wealthy textiles merchant and Goya’s best friend. (When Goya died, his body was buried in the same tomb as this friend.)

The marriage caused great concern for Goya because his boy had no professional occupation and was a lad of luxury, always in financial troubles due to overspending. It was decided that Goya would give his son a substantial regular income in order to “bear the burdens of marriage." Since Goya had dedicated his life to investing and planning his economic prosperity, his son dedicated himself to living a bourgeois lifestyle.

In this wedding portrait, Javier Goya appears against a neutral background, tall and slender. He is dressed like a model in the latest English fashion. His frock coat is open, revealing a lace shirt and a high neck. In his left hand he holds a cane and a black hat, while his right hand is tucked into the front of his shirt—a fashionable pose that was considered a symbol of good breeding.

At his feet is a small white dog. It looks like a Bolognese. You can see another perspective of the dog trying to attract the bride's attention in this other strong portrait that Goya created of Gumersinda in her wedding dress. Perhaps this Bolognese was a wedding gift from the Duchess of Alba, as this type of dog was given as a good luck charm and was her favourite.

** This chapter is copyright protected by Karla Ingleton Darocas, SpainLifestyle.com publishing

It was copied from the book Spanish DOGS - CLICK HERE

 ** end **

Resource Books written by
Karla Ingleton Darocas 
and published by