Goya (y Lucientes), Francisco (José) de
Goya (y Lucientes), Francisco (José) de (b. March 30, 1746, Fuendetodos,
Spain--d. April 16, 1828, Bordeaux, Fr.), consummately Spanish artist whose
multifarious paintings, drawings, and engravings reflected contemporary
historical upheavals and influenced important 19th- and 20th-century painters.
Like Velázquez, Goya was a Spanish court painter whose best work was
done apart from his official duties. He is known for his scenes of violence,
especially those prompted by the French invasion of Spain. The series of
etchings Los desastres de la guerra ("The Disasters of
War", 1810-14) records the horrors of the Napoleonic invasion. His
masterpieces in painting include The Naked Maja and The
Clothed Maja (c. 1800-05). He also painted charming portraits such as Senora
the bold technique of his paintings, the haunting satire of his etchings, and
his belief that the artist"s vision is more important than tradition, Goya is
often called "the first of the moderns." His uncompromising portrayal
of his times marks the beginning of 19th-century realism.
Jose de Goya y Lucientes was born on March 30, 1746, in Fuendetodos, a village
in northern Spain. The family later moved to Saragossa, where Goya"s father
worked as a gilder. At about 14 young Goya was apprenticed to Jose Luzan, a
local painter. Later he went to Italy to continue his study of art. On
returning to Saragossa in 1771, he painted frescoes for the local cathedral.
These works, done in the decorative rococo tradition, established Goya"s
artistic reputation. In 1773 he married Josefa Bayeu, sister of Saragossa
artist Francisco Bayeu. The couple had many children, but only one--a son,
Xavier--survived to adulthood.
1775 to 1792 Goya painted cartoons (designs) for the royal tapestry factory in
Madrid. This was the most important period in his artistic development. As a
tapestry designer, Goya did his first genre paintings, or scenes from everyday
experience helped him become a keen observer of human behavior. He was also
influenced by neoclassicism, which was gaining favor over the rococo style.
Finally, his study of the works of Velázquez in the royal collection
resulted in a looser, more spontaneous painting technique.
the same time, Goya achieved his first popular success. He became established
as a portrait painter to the Spanish aristocracy. He was elected to the Royal
Academy of San Fernando in 1780, named painter to the king in 1786, and made a
court painter in 1789.
serious illness in 1792 left Goya permanently deaf. Isolated from others by his
deafness, he became increasingly occupied with the fantasies and inventions of
his imagination and with critical and satirical observations of mankind. He
evolved a bold, free new style close to caricature. In 1799 he published the Caprichos,
a series of etchings satirizing human folly and weakness. His portraits became
penetrating characterizations, revealing their subjects as Goya saw them. In
his religious frescoes he employed a broad, free style and an earthy realism
unprecedented in religious art.
served as director of painting at the Royal Academy from 1795 to 1797 and was
appointed first Spanish court painter in 1799. During the Napoleonic invasion
and the Spanish war of independence from 1808 to 1814, Goya served as court
painter to the French. He expressed his horror of armed conflict in The
Disasters of War, a series of starkly realistic etchings on the
atrocities of war. They were not published until 1863, long after Goya"s death.
the restoration of the Spanish monarchy, Goya was pardoned for serving the
French, but his work was not favored by the new king. He was called before the
Inquisition to explain his earlier portrait of The Naked Maja, one
of the few nudes in Spanish art at that time.
1816 he published his etchings on bullfighting, called the Tauromaquia.
From 1819 to 1824 Goya lived in seclusion in a house outside Madrid. Free from
court restrictions, he adopted an increasingly personal style. In the Black
Paintings, executed on the walls of his house, Goya gave expression to
his darkest visions. A similar nightmarish quality haunts the satirical Disparates,
a series of etchings also called Proverbios.
1824, after the failure of an attempt to restore liberal government, Goya went
into voluntary exile in France. He settled in Bordeaux, continuing to work
until his death there on April 16, 1828. Today many of his best paintings hang
in Madrid"s Prado art museum.
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