Francisco José De Goya Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions
3-30-1746 Aragon, ESP - 4-16-1828 Bordeaux, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes was raised in the small town of Fuendetodos near Zaragoza, Spain. Frequently involved in parochial gang fights, he fled to Madrid in 1765 after a brawl in which three youths were killed. As a result of continued sparring, he left Madrid precipitately, joining a troupe of itinerant bull fighters and eventually reaching Rome, where he resumed his studies in art.
Closely linked to the political affairs of the Bourbon court and very sensitive to moral and social issues, Francisco Goya received an eclectic training that ranged over the most varied means of expression, from monumental frescoes to miniatures, engravings, and altarpieces. In 1798 he returned to Spain as a designer for the royal tapestry factory and executed a number of frescoes drawn from contemporary life, as well as a series of satirical etchings. The Parasol is one of a series of cartoons for the royal tapestry manufacture, which included serene Arcadian scenes depicting games and pleasant amusements in a country atmosphere. These cartoons, partly influenced by Rococo. In 1799 he was appointed court painter to Charles IV, which resulted in some of his most notable portraits.
Goya's Disenchanted Image of a New World.
The Maja Clothed was a cover for the canvas depicting the Maja Nude, the identity of the model is uncertain, though she may be the Duchess of Alba. Both paintings are alike in the pose and setting, the difference being one clothed and one nude. The painting was commissioned by the extremely powerful Minister Godoy, who would cover up the painting when guests and dignitaries arrived but exposed it to enjoy in private.
After the French invasion in 1808 he sided at first with the invaders, but secretly sketched their atrocities, which resulted in both full-scale canvasses and numerous etchings. The Third Of May 1808 The Execution Of The Defenders Of Madrid, the population of Madrid rebelled against Napoleon's occupying troops, the revolt was suppressed in a bloodbath. In 1814 when the Bourbons returned to the throne, Goya was appointed to illustrate the “heroic actions against the tyrant of Europe”, but it is handled in an anti-heroic manner. In this scene, depicting a firing squad in the darkness of the night that had also descended on individual conscience, faceless soldiers carry out an execution as the condemned wait in terror. These figures are not heroes giving their lives for their country, but ordinary people swept up in the turmoil and pleading for mercy. In this scene, Goya emphasizes how the history of mankind is marked by bloodshed. The white shirt, about to be pierced by bullets, becomes the banner of a universal denunciation of war.
Goya's career began in court and aristocratic circles and his early realism was gradually replaced by a vein of biting sarcasm that sometimes resulted in distortion. He is not an impartial portraitist and his feelings toward his models are easily perceived. By the end of the century, he had become isolated from the style then in vogue and tended toward moral subjects, dramatic allusions to the human condition, and visionary scenes. His engravings also depict the macabre and tortured imagination, but the nightmarish culmination of this period are the murals executed for his country villa “Quinta del Sordo” in 1820.
Goya's Macabre Black Paintings.
Tired, depressed, and alone, Goya was well over seventy when between 1820 and 1821, he spent a long period of convalescence in his country villa, just outside Madrid, where he used to go hunting when he was younger. The villa was known as the Quinta del Sordo, or "country house of the deaf man", because of Goya's infirmity. On the walls of two of the rooms, Goya painted striking and terrifying series of visionary scenes in oil on plaster. They have been called his “Black Paintings” because of the predominance of dark tones and their grim subject matter. These paintings were detached from the walls in 1873 and are now rearranged in their original order in special rooms in the Prado in Madrid. However, the sequence does not follow a single narrative thread, rather every scene is separate like a terrible nightmare, or a sequence of satanic apparitions terrorizing a coarse and crushed mankind. In several cases it is not even possible to distinguish a precise subject; the painting simply creates an atmosphere of tragedy and utter depression, reflecting the famous sentence Goya wrote on the front page of a celebrated collection of engravings; “The dream of reason generates monsters”.
In the absolute creative freedom of a pictorial cycle that was painted strictly for himself, Goya alternates large scenes crowded with figures, macabre panels, mysterious images, and seemingly simple smaller paintings. But it is one of the latter that perhaps represents the most heart-rendering images in the whole series, The Dog. A little dog is sinking in quicksand, it's dazed, the innocent face can still be seen but soon it will be swallowed up and forgotten, buried in an opaques setting of gray-browns under an immense leaden sky, without depth or memory. Duel with Cudgels, up to their knees in mud, two peasants are attacking each other with sticks, hopelessly trying to kill each other. The image might be interpreted as a political metaphor for the European countries ravaged by bloody wars but also as an image of human madness and blind violence that annihilates everything in its path. Saturn Devouring His Son, one of the most horrifying images in the whole history of art, is inspired by the myth of the god Saturn who devours his son. However, this literary allusion becomes a visionary nightmare a huge horrendous monster tearing at a mangled and bloody human body.
In 1823 the painter left Spain secretly and settled in Bordeaux where he spent the rest of his life in old age, he produced some of his finest genre paintings.
Francisco José De Goya is considered the most important Spanish artist of late 18th and early 19th centuries and throughout his long career was a commentator and chronicler of his era. Immensely successful in his lifetime, Francisco José De Goya is often referred to as both the last of the Old Masters and the first of the Modern Masters.