Originally Posted by HSG
"Goya had, as do many men, a particular 'type' that appealed to him. Perhaps Dona Isabel approached it more closely than most...At any rate, what was meant to be a portrait has been elevated, here, into the stuff of full-bodied...fantasy."
The writer quoted by HSG makes an interesting point, but considering how universally this lady has been admired throughout the centuries, I would say that she represents not just Goya's "type" in particular, but a more universal ideal of beauty -- in fact, the
timeless ideal of beauty that is often discussed on this forum. The fact that her facial features exhibt the babylike roundness that epitomize femininity (as a scientific study that recently came up for discussion at this forum indicated), would support this theory.
It's interesting that she inspires such ardour, and yet is dressed in a demure (although feminine) way. That supports another hypothesis that has been mentioned on this forum -- that it is the androgynous standard which has led to the vulgarization of mass culture, as models with diminishing charms have had to expose more of themselves, in order to achieve any kind of reaction. Fuller-figured models in other centuries could inflame public passion with just a taste of their opulent beauty, as suggested by a close-fitting dress and generous decolletage.