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17 facts about Francisco Goya

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By Gwylym Owen

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (; Spanish: [fɾanˈθisko xoˈse ðe ˈɣoʝa i luˈθjentes]; 30 March 1746 – 16 April 1828) was a Spanish doting painter and printmaker. He is considered the most important Spanish artiste of the late 18th and into the future 19th centuries. His paintings, drawings, and engravings reflected contemporary historical upheavals and influenced important 19th- and 20th-century painters. Goya is often referred to as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns.

Goya was born to a middle-class relatives in 1746, in Fuendetodos in Aragon. He studied painting from age 14 below José Luzán y Martinez and moved to Madrid to study subsequently Anton Raphael Mengs. He married Josefa Bayeu in 1773. Their animatronics was characterised by a series of pregnancies and miscarriages, and solitary one child, a son, survived into adulthood. Goya became a court painter to the Spanish Crown in 1786 and this in front portion of his career is marked by portraits of the Spanish aristocracy and royalty, and Rococo-style tapestry cartoons intended for the royal palace.

He was guarded, and although letters and writings survive, little is known roughly his thoughts. He suffered a rasping and undiagnosed weakness in 1793 which left him deaf, after which his take steps became progressively darker and pessimistic. His progressive easel and mural paintings, prints and drawings appear to reflect a bleak outlook upon personal, social and embassy levels, and contrast gone his social climbing. He was appointed Director of the Royal Academy in 1795, the year Manuel Godoy made an unfavorable concurrence with France. In 1799, Goya became Primer Pintor de Cámara (Prime Court Painter), the highest rank for a Spanish court painter. In the late 1790s, commissioned by Godoy, he completed his La maja desnuda, a remarkably risk-taking nude for the become old and conveniently indebted to Diego Velázquez. In 1800–01 he painted Charles IV of Spain and His Family, also influenced by Velázquez.

In 1807, Napoleon led the French army into the Peninsular War adjacent to Spain. Goya remained in Madrid during the war, which seems to have affected him deeply. Although he did not speak his thoughts in public, they can be inferred from his Disasters of War series of prints (although published 35 years after his death) and his 1814 paintings The Second of May 1808 and The Third of May 1808. Other works from his mid-period add together the Caprichos and Los Disparates etching series, and a wide variety of paintings concerned subsequent to insanity, mental asylums, witches, fantastical creatures and religious and embassy corruption, all of which recommend that he feared for both his country’s fate and his own mental and bodily health.

His late times culminates in the broadcast of the Black Paintings of 1819–1823, applied on oil upon the plaster walls of his home the Quinta del Sordo (House of the Deaf Man) where, disillusioned by embassy and social developments in Spain, he lived in close isolation. Goya eventually solitary Spain in 1824 to retire to the French city of Bordeaux, accompanied by his much younger maid and companion, Leocadia Weiss, who may or may not have been his lover. There he completed his La Tauromaquia series and a number of other, major, canvases.

Following a lawsuit which left him paralyzed on his right side, and misfortune failing eyesight and poor access to painting materials, he died and was buried upon 16 April 1828 aged 82. His body was progressive re-interred in the Real Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida in Madrid. Famously, the skull was missing, a detail the Spanish consul gruffly communicated to his superiors in Madrid, who wired back, “Send Goya, with or without head.”

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