The “Curse” Behind Juan Luna’s “Portrait of a Lady”

The “Curse” Behind Juan Luna’s “Portrait of a Lady” | @museumxstOries

The “Curse” Behind Juan Luna’s “Portrait of a Lady”

(Also known as Mi Novia or Portrait of Paz Pardo de Tavera) Circa 1885

The renowned portrait of Paz Pardo de Tavera, painted by her husband Juan Luna, is overshadowed by a haunting history of murder and a curse said to bring misfortune to its owners.

The dark legacy of the painting is tied to the artist’s volatile relationship with his wife believed to be the subject of the painting. Luna, who gained fame at 27 with his “Spoliarium,” married Paz at 29. The couple moved to France, where they had a son, Andres.

However, their marriage was tumultuous, culminating in a horrific crime in their Paris home. Possibly because of jealousy over a man named Monsieur Dussaq, Luna shot and killed Paz and her mother, Julia Gorricho, and severely wounded Paz’s brother, Felix Pardo de Tavera. This tragic event quickly made headlines across Europe, forever marking Luna’s legacy and casting a dark shadow over his famous portrait.

“Portrait of a Lady” is arguably Juan Luna’s most controversial work due to its disputed history. Many assert that Paz inspired the painting, though others disagree, noting that the anatomical details do not match her physical description. Additionally, some accounts suggest that subsequent owners of the painting have experienced similar crimes of passion after acquiring it.

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