Francisco José de Goya ( * 1746 † 1828 )

Portrait of Francisco José de Goya

Biography of Francisco José de Goya

Wonderful and different

Francisco Goya (Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes) was born on March 30, 1746 in Fuendetodos, near Zaragoza, Spain born. Goya was a rebellious and revolutionary artist of the 18th and early 19th century.

His artistic career began at the age of 14 years. In 1760 he studied with the Baroque painter José Luzán y Martínez in Zaragoza. In 1763 he moved to Madrid and worked in the studio of the court painter Francisco Bayeu.

From 1763 to 1766, de Goya wanted to study at the Spanish Royal Academy and also presented his works. The request was rejected and the young artist decided to continue his studies of Baroque art and frescoes in Italy. He went to Rome around 1769/70. In 1771, however, he returned to Spain and obtained his first commissions as a painter of frescoes for chapels and cathedrals. His first works were religious paintings and altarpieces in the Baroque-Rococo style. In 1773 de Goya married Josefa Bayeu, the sister of his former teacher Francisco Bayeu. Together they had about 20 children, but only one has survived.

From 1775, he produced designs for the royal carpet manufactory Santa Bárbara in Madrid. This was how he began his career at court. Under the direction of German artist Anton Raphael Mengs, Goya painted scenes of daily life and aristocratic pastimes.

Over time, his painting style developed. He moved away from the influences of his teachers and grew as a freelance painter. Two masters played an important role in this creation: Rembrandt and Velázquez. One inspired his later drawings and engravings and the other introduced him to the art of realism.

Goya also made a name for himself with portraiture. In the highest aristocratic circles, he portrayed court officials and members of the aristocracy. Thus were created the portraits of the Marquise of Pontejos and Count Floridablanca, the Princes of Floridablanca and Charles IV of Spain.

In 1780, Goya became a member of the Royal Academy, not without the influence of his brother-in-law Francisco Bayeu y Subías, appointed by San Fernando in Madrid and elevated to nobility. He was then appointed deputy director of paintings at the Royal Academy and elected director of the academy in 1795. In 1786 he became court painter to Charles IV. The culmination of his career was the appointment of "first court painter," which made him one of the most important portrait painters in Spain and brought him success and fame.

In the winter of 1792, Francisco de Goya became completely deaf. The disease changed his sensory perception and marked a turning point in his career. The artist saw his environment in a more critical way and dark colors predominated in his works. His style then evolved into a more expressionistic variant of Rococo.

During his convalescence, the painter became increasingly withdrawn, painting a series of cabinet paintings. Goya summarized an exaggerated realism bordering on caricature, in the drawings and engravings of the series "Los caprichos", which he published in 1799. The painter achieved dramatic reality in his political, social, and religious scenes by using aquatint, an etching technique in which halftones are obtained by surface etching. The new critical spirit was also expressed in the images "Madhouse," "Inquisition Session" and "The Shooting of the Insurgents," in which de Goya showed extreme human behavior.

Under Napoleon's reign, Goya, maintained his position as court painter and during the war depicted Spanish and French generals.

Drawings showing the aftermath of the war were published by de Goya as "The Horrors of War" (1810-1814). The series of paintings with brutal details expressed a strong criticism of the church and royal power, for which Francisco de Goya was called "the French friend."

For one of his most famous paintings, the nude "The Naked Maya" (1801), Goya had to answer to the Inquisition. The image, innocuous from today's perspective, was the first nude in Spanish art to show female pubic hair.

Around 1820, Goya retired to the countryside and began a series of frescoes on the walls of his nearby country house in Madrid, known as the "Black Paintings." The cruel painting "Saturn Devours One of His Children" also comes from this series.

In 1824, political persecution in Spain forced the artist into exile in France.

 

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Art prints and oil reproductions by Francisco José de Goya

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