Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (30 March 1746 – 16 April 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Goya was a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era. The subversive and imaginative element in his art, as well as his bold handling of paint, provided a model for the work of later generations of artists, notably Manet, Picasso and Francis Bacon.
Goya was born in Fuendetodos, Aragón, Spain, in 174to José Benito de Goya y Franque and Gracia de Lucientes y Salvador. He spent his childhood in Fuendetodos, where his family lived in a house bearing the family crest of his mother. His father earned his living as a gilder. About 1749, the family bought a house in the city of Zaragoza and some years later moved into it. Goya may have attended school at Escuelas Pias. He formed a close friendship with Martin Zapater at this time, and their correspondence from the 1770s to the 1790s is a valuable source for understanding Goya's early career at the court of Madrid. At age 14, Goya entered apprenticeship with the painter José Luzán. He moved to Madrid where he studied with Anton Raphael Mengs, a painter who was popular with Spanish royalty. He clashed with his master, and his examinations were unsatisfactory. Goya submitted entries for the Royal Academy of Fine Art in 176and 1766, but was denied entrance.
He then relocated to Rome, where in 177he won second prize in a painting competition organized by the City of Parma. Later that year, he returned to Zaragoza and painted parts of the cupolas of the Basilica of the Pillar (including Adoration of the Name of God), a cycle of frescoes in the monastic church of the Charterhouse of Aula Dei, and the frescoes of the Sobradiel Palace. He studied with Francisco Bayeu y Subías and his painting began to show signs of the delicate tonalities for which he became famous.La cometa, 1777–1778, one of Goya's tapestry cartoons
Goya married Bayeu's sister Josefa (he nicknamed her 'Pepa') on 2July 1773. This marriage, and Francisco Bayeu's membership of the Royal Academy of Fine Art (from the year 1765) helped Goya to procure work as a painter of designs to be woven by Royal Tapestry Factory. There, over the course of five years, he designed some 4patterns, many of which were used to decorate (and insulate) the bare stone walls of El Escorial and the Palacio Real del Pardo, the newly built residences of the Spanish monarchs near Madrid. This brought his artistic talents to the attention of the Spanish monarchs who later would give him access to the royal court. He also painted a canvas for the altar of the Church of San Francisco El Grande in Madrid, which led to his appointment as a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Art. Mid-career
In 1783, the Count of Floridablanca, a favorite of King Carlos III, commissioned Goya to paint his portrait. He also became friends with Crown Prince Don Luis, and spent two summers with him, painting portraits of both the Infante and his family. During the 1780s, his circle of patrons grew to include the Duke and Duchess of Osuna, whom he painted, the King and other notable people of the kingdom. In 1786, Goya was given a salaried position as painter to Charles III. After the death of Charles III in 178and revolution in France in 1789, during the reign of Charles IV, Goya reached his peak of popularity with royalty.Charles IV of Spain and His Family, 1800. Théophile Gautier described the figures as looking like 'the corner baker and his wife after they won the lottery'.
In 178he was made court painter to Charles IV and in 179he was appointed First Court Painter with a salary of 50,000 reales and 500 ducats for a coach. He painted the King and the Queen, royal family pictures, portraits of the Prince of the Peace and many other nobles. His portraits are notable for their disinclination to flatter, and in the case of Charles IV of Spain and His Family, the lack of visual diplomacy is remarkable. Modern interpreters have seen this portrait as satire; it is thought to reveal the corruption present under Charles IV. Under his reign his wife Louisa was thought to have had the real power, which is why she is placed at the center of the group portrait. From the back left of the painting you can see the artist himself looking out at the viewer, and the painting behind the family depicts Lot and his daughters, thus once again echoing the underlying message of corruption and decay.
Goya received orders from many within the Spanish nobility. Among those from whom he procured portrait commissions were Pedro Téllez-Girón, 9th Duke of Osuna and his wife María Josefa Pimentel, 12th Countess-Duchess of Benavente, María del Pilar de Silva, 13th Duchess of Alba (universally known simply as the 'Duchess of Alba'), and her husband José María Álvarez de Toledo, 15th Duke of Medina Sidonia, and María Ana de Pontejos y Sandoval, Marchioness of Pontejos.
At some time between late 179and early 1793, a serious illness, whose exact nature is not known, left Goya deaf, and he became withdrawn and introspective. During his recuperation, he undertook a series of experimental paintings. His experimental art—that would encompass paintings, drawings as well as a bitter series of aquatinted etchings, published in 179under the title Caprichos – was done in parallel to his more official commissions of portraits and religious paintings. In 1798, he painted luminous and airy scenes for the pendentives and cupula of the Real Ermita (Chapel) of San Antonio de la Florida in Madrid. Many place miracles of Saint Anthony of Padua in the midst of contemporary Madrid.The Third of May 1808, 1814. Oil on canvas, 26х 34cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid Later years
French forces invaded Spain in 1808, leading to the Peninsular War of 1808–1814. Goya's involvement with the court of the 'Intruder king', Joseph I, the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, is not known; he did paint works for French patrons and sympathisers, but kept neutral during the fighting. After the restoration of the Spanish king, Ferdinand VII, in 1814, Goya denied any involvement with the French. When his wife Josefa died in 1812, he was processing the war by painting The Charge of the Mamelukes and The Third of May 1808, and preparing the series of prints later known as The Disasters of War (Los desastres de la guerra). Ferdinand VII returned to Spain in 181but relations with Goya were not cordial. He painted portraits of the kings for a variety of organizations, but not for the king himself.
Leocadia Weiss (ne Zorrilla, b. 1790) the artist's maid, younger by 3years, and distant relative, lived with and cared for Goya after Bayeu's death. She stayed with him in his Quinta del Sordo villa until 182with her daughter Rosario. Leocadia was probably similar in features to Goya's first wife Josefa Bayeu, to the extent that one of his well known portraits bears the cautious tilte of Josefa Bayeu (or Leocadia Weiss).The Milkmaid of Bordeaux, 1825–27, is the third and final Goya portrait which may depict Leocadia Weiss. This might also be of Leocadia's daughter Rosario. It colourisation and mood is very similar to the Lecodia 'Black Painting'.
Not much is known about her beyond her fiery temperament. She was likely related to the Goicoechea family, a wealthy dynasty into which the artist's son, the feckless Javier, had married. It is believed she held liberal political views and was unafraid of expressing them, a fact met with disapproval by Goya's family. It is known that Leocadia had an unhappy marriage with a jeweler, Isideo Weiss, but was separated from him since 1811. Her husband cited 'illicit conduct' during the divorce proceedings. She had two children before the marriage dissolved, and bore a third, Rosario, in 181when she was 26. Isideo was not the father, and it has often been speculated– although with little firm evidence –that the child belonged to Goya. There has been much speculation that Goya and Weiss were romantically linked, however, it is more likely the affection between them was sentimental.It is not known whether this 180Goya portrait is of his wife Josefa Bayeu or of Leocadia Weiss
Goya's works from 181to 181are mostly commissioned portraits, but also include the altarpiece of Santa Justa and Santa Rufina for the Cathedral of Seville, the print series of 'La Tauromaquia' depicting scenes from bullfighting, and probably the etchings of 'Los Disparates'.
In 1819, with the idea of isolating himself, he bought a country house by the Manzanares river just outside of Madrid. It was known as the Quinta del Sordo (roughly, 'House of the Deaf Man', titled after its previous owner and not after Goya himself). There he created the Black Paintings with intense, haunting themes, reflective of the artist's fear of insanity, and his outlook on humanity. Several of these, including Saturn Devouring His Son, were painted directly onto the walls of his dining and sitting rooms.
Goya lost faith in or became threatened by the restored Spanish monarchy's anti-liberal political and social stance and left Spain in May 182for Bordeaux and then Paris. He travelled to Spain in 182in 1826, but returned to Bordeaux where he died in 182at the age of 82. He was of Catholic faith and was buried in Bordeaux; in 191his remains were transferred to the Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida in Madrid.
Leocadia was left nothing in Goya's will; mistresses were often omitted in such circumstances, but it is also likely that he did not want to dwell on his mortality by thinking about or revising his will. She wrote to a number of Goya's friends to complain of her exclusion but many of her friends were Goya's and by then old men and had died, or died before they could reply. Largely destitute she moved into rented accommodation and passed on her copy of the Caprichos for free. Work
See also List of works by Francisco Goya
Goya painted the Spanish royal family, including Charles IV of Spain and Ferdinand VII. His themathic range extended from merry festivals for tapestry, draft cartoons, to scenes of war and human debasment. This evolution reflects the darkening of his temper. Modern physicians suspect that the lead in his pigments poisoned him and caused his deafness since 1792. Near the end of his life, he became reclusive and produced frightening and obscure paintings of insanity, madness, and fantasy, while the style of the Black Paintings prefigure the expressionist movement. MajaThe Nude Maja, ca. 1800. Said to be the first explicit depiction of female pubic hair in a large Western painting, though others had hinted at it before.The Clothed Maja, ca. 1803, the more chaste companion, but teasing, provocative, panel
Two of Goya's best known paintings are The Nude Maja (La maja desnuda) and The Clothed Maja (La maja vestida). They depict the same woman in the same pose, naked and clothed, respectively. Without a pretense to allegorical or mythological meaning, the painting was 'the first totally profane life-size female nude in Western art'.
The identity of the Majas are uncertain. The most popularly cited models are the Duchess of Alba, with whom Goya was sometimes thought to have had an affair, and Pepita Tudó, mistress of Manuel de Godoy; Godoy subsequently owned them. Neither theory has been verified, and it remains as likely that the paintings represent an idealized composite. The paintings were never publicly exhibited during Goya's lifetime. They were owned by Manuel de Godoy, the Prime Minister of Spain and a favorite of the Queen, María Luisa. In 180all Godoy's property was seized by Ferdinand VII after his fall from power and exile, and in 181the Inquisition confiscated both works as 'obscene', returning them in 183to the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. Darker subject matterYard with Lunatics, 1794. Oil on tin-plated iron, 43.x 32.cm
In a period of convalescence during 1793–1794, Goya completed a set of eleven small pictures painted on tin; known as Fantasy and Invention, they mark a significant change in his art. They no longer represent the world of popular carnival, but rather a dark, dramatic realm of fantasy and nightmare. Yard with Lunatics is a horrifying and imaginary vision of loneliness, fear and social alienation, a departure from the rather more superficial treatment of mental illness in the works of earlier artists such as Hogarth. The condemnation of brutality towards prisoners (whether criminal or insane) is the subject of many of Goya's later paintings.
As he completed Yard with Lunatics, Goya was himself undergoing a physical and mental breakdown. It was a few weeks after the French declaration of war on Spain, and Goya's illness was developing. A contemporary reported, 'the noises in his head and deafness aren’’t improving, yet his vision is much better and he is back in control of his balance.' His symptoms may indicate a prolonged viral encephalitis or possibly a series of miniature strokes resulting from high blood pressure and affecting hearing and balance centers in the brain. The triad of tinnitus, episodes of imbalance and progressive deafness is also typical of Ménière's disease. Other postmortem diagnostic assessment points toward paranoid dementia due to unknown brain trauma (perhaps due to the unknown illness which he reported). If this is the case, from here on—we see an insidious assault of his faculties, manifesting as paranoid features in his paintings, culminating in his black paintings and especially Saturn Devouring His Sons. Caprichos and Tapestry cartoonsMain article: Caprichos
In 179Goya published a series of 80 prints titled Caprichos depicting what he described as 'the innumerable foibles and follies to be found in any civilized society, and from the common prejudices and deceitful practices which custom, ignorance, or self-interest have made usual'.
The dark visions depicted in these prints are partly explained by his caption, 'The sleep of reason produces monsters'. Yet these are not solely bleak in nature and demonstrate the artist's sharp satirical wit, particularly evident in etchings such as Hunting for Teeth. Additionally, one can discern a thread of the macabre running through Goya's work, even in his earlier tapestry cartoons.note Mostly popularist in a rococo style, the cartoons were completed early in his career, when he was largely unknown and actively seeking commissions. In 1774, he was asked, on behalf of the Spanish crown, by the German artist Anton Raphael Mengs, to undertake the series. While designing tapestries was neither prestigious nor well paid, Goya used them, along with his early engravings, to bring himself to wider attention. They afforded his first contact with the Spanish monarchy that was to eventually appoint him court painter. The Disasters of WarMain article: The Disasters of WarWhat more can one do?, from The Disasters of War, 1812–15
In the 1810s, Goya created a set of aquatint prints titled The Disasters of War. Although he did not make known his intention when creating the plates, art historians view them as a visual protest against the violence of the 180Dos de Mayo Uprising, the subsequent Peninsular War of 1808–1and the setbacks to the liberal cause following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1814. The scenes are singularly disturbing, sometimes macabre in their depiction of battlefield horror, and represent an outraged conscience in the face of death and destruction. They were not published until 1863, 3years after his death. It is likely that only then was it considered politically safe to distribute a sequence of artworks criticising both the French and restored Bourbons.
The first 4plates in the series focus on incidents from the war and show the consequences of the conflict on individual soldiers and civilians. The middle series (plates 4to 64) record the effects of the famine that hit Madrid in 1811–12, before the city was liberated from the French. The final 1reflect the bitter disappointment of liberals when the restored Bourbon monarchy, encouraged by the Catholic hierarchy, rejected the Spanish Constitution of 181and opposed both state and religious reform. Since their first publication, Goya's scenes of atrocities, starvation, degradation and humiliation have been described as the 'prodigious flowering of rage' Black PaintingsMain article: Black PaintingsIn an array of earthen colors, a black silhouetted horned figure to the left foreground presides over and addresses a large circle of a tightly packed group of wide-eyed intense, scary, elderly and unruly women.Witches' Sabbath or Aquelarre is one of 1from the Black Paintings series.
In later life Goya bought a house, called Quinta del Sordo ('Deaf Man's House'), and painted many unusual paintings on canvas and on the walls, including references to witchcraft and war. One of these is the famous work Saturn Devouring His Son (known informally in some circles as Devoration or Saturn Eats His Child), which displays a Greco-Roman mythological scene of the god Saturn consuming a child, possibly a reference to Spain's ongoing civil conflicts. The series has been described as 'the most essential to our understanding of the human condition in modern times, just as Michelangelo's Sistine ceiling is essential to understanding the tenor of the 16th century'.
At the age of 75, alone and in mental and physical despair, he completed the work as one of his 1Black Paintings,note all of which were executed in oil directly onto the plaster walls of his house. Goya did not intend for the paintings to be exhibited, did not write of them,note and likely never spoke of them. It was not until around 1874, some 50 years after his death, that they were taken down and transferred to a canvas support. Many of the works were significantly altered during the restoration, and in the words of Arthur Lubow what remain are 'at best a crude facsimile of what Goya painted.' The effects of time on the murals, coupled with the inevitable damage caused by the delicate operation of mounting the crumbling plaster on canvas, meant that most of the murals suffered extensive damage and lost a lot of paint. Today they are on permanent display at the Museo del Prado, Madrid.