In 1808 Don Miguel de Lardizábal (c. 1750—1818), a politician of Mexican descent, supported the claims of Joseph Bonaparte to the Spanish throne. Later on he was forced into exile, becoming a supporter of Ferdinand VII. After Ferdinand resumed the throne, he held the post of the Minister for both the West and East Indies from May 1814 to September 1815, when he fell out of favour again. This is the period when Goya’s portrait was painted. The letter, which Don Miguel is holding, bears the year, the painter’s signature and also the inscription, Fluctibus Reipublicae expulsus, which is an allusion to the time, which Don Miguel de Lardizábal spent in exile. Goya achieved exceptional plasticity of the face by the use of fine modelling in light-coloured tones on a black base. A different approach can be seen in the treatment of the uniform, the hand holding the letter or the hilt of the foil, which strikes as almost cursory or hasty. However, Goya, who experimented with painting techniques, sometimes using a split reed spatula, attained verisimilitude and immediacy of the work in this way.