Saturday, September 29, 2007


The Second of May 1808, 1814 The Third of May 1808, 1814Francisco Goya La familia de Carlos IV, 1798

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (March 30, 1746April 16, 1828) was a Aragonese Spanish painter and printmaker.
Goya was a court painter to the Spanish Crown and a chronicler of history. He has been regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and as the first of the moderns. The subversive and subjective 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 and Picasso.
Many of Goya's works are on display in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

Francisco Goya Biography
Goya was born in Fuendetodos, Spain, in the kingdom of Aragón in 1746 to Joseph Goya and Gracia Lucientes. 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 attended school at Escuelas Pias, where he formed a close friendship with Martin Zapater, and their correspondence over the years became valuable material for biographies of Goya. At age 14, he entered apprenticeship with the painter José Luján.
He later 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 1763 and 1766, but was denied entrance.
He then journeyed to Rome, where in 1771 he won second prize in a painting competition organized by the City of Parma. Later that year, he returned to Zaragoza and painted a part of the cupola of the Basilica of the Pillar, frescoes of the oratory of the cloisters 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 known.

Youth
Goya married Bayeu's sister Josefa in 1774. His marriage to Josefa (he nicknamed her "Pepa"), and Francisco Bayeu's membership of the Royal Academy of Fine Art - he had been a member since 1765 - helped him to procure work with the Royal Tapestry Workshop. There, over the course of five years, he designed some 42 patterns, many of which were used to decorate (and insulate) the bare stone walls of El Escorial and the Palacio Real de El Pardo, the newly built residences of the Spanish monarchs. 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, which led to his appointment as a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Art.
In 1783, the Count of Floridablanca, a favorite of King Carlos III, commissioned him to paint his portrait. He also became friends with Crown Prince Don Luis, and lived in his house. 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.
After the death of Charles III in 1788 and revolution in France in 1789, during the reign of Charles IV, Goya reached his peak of popularity with royalty.

Maturity and success
After contracting a high fever in 1792 Goya was left deaf, and he became withdrawn and introspective. During the five years he spent recuperating, he read a great deal about the French Revolution and its philosophy. The bitter series of aquatinted etchings that resulted were published in 1799 under the title Caprichos. 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.

Caprichos
In 1786 Goya was appointed painter to Charles III, and in 1789 was made court painter to Charles IV. In 1799 he was appointed First Court Painter with a salary of 50,000 reales and 500 ducats for a coach. He worked on the cupola of the Hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida; 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 The Family of Charles IV, the lack of visual diplomacy is remarkable.
Goya received orders from many friends within the Spanish nobility. Among those from whom he procured portrait commissions were Pedro de Álcantara Téllez-Girón, 9th Duke of Osuna and his wife María Josefa de la Soledad, 9th Duchess of Osuna, María del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva y Álvarez de Toledo, 13th Duchess of Alba (universally known simply as the "Duchess of Alba"), and her husband José Álvarez de Toledo y Gonzaga, 13th Duke of Alba, and María Ana de Pontejos y Sandoval, Marchioness of Pontejos.

Painter of royalty
As French forces invaded Spain during the Peninsular War (1808–1814), the new Spanish court received him as had its predecessors.
When Pepa died in 1812, Goya was painting The Charge of the Mamelukes and The Third of May 1808, and preparing the series of prints known as The Disasters of War (Los desastres de la guerra).
King Ferdinand VII came back to Spain but relations with Goya were not cordial. In 1814 Goya was living with his housekeeper Doña Leocadia and her illegitimate daughter, Rosario Weiss; the young woman studied painting with Goya, who may have been her father. He continued to work incessantly on portraits, pictures of Santa Justa and Santa Rufina, lithographs, pictures of tauromachy, and more.
With the idea of isolating himself, he bought a house near Manzanares, which was known as the Quinta del Sordo (roughly, "House of the Deaf Man"). There he made the Black Paintings.
Unsettled and discontented, he left Spain in May 1824 for Bordeaux and Paris. He settled in Bordeaux. He returned to Spain in 1826 after another period of ill health. Despite a warm welcome, he returned to Bordeaux where he died in 1828 at the age of 82.

Later years
Goya painted the Spanish royal family, including Charles IV of Spain and Ferdinand VII. His themes range from merry festivals for tapestry, draft cartoons, to scenes of war and corpses. 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. The style of these Black Paintings prefigure the expressionist movement. He often painted himself into the foreground.

Works
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. He painted La maja vestida after outrage in Spanish society over the previous Desnuda. Without a pretense to allegorical or mythological meaning, the painting was "the first totally profane life-size female nude in Western art".
In 1808 the paintings were seized by Ferdinand VI, and in 1813 the Inquisition confiscated both works as 'obscene'.

Darker realms
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 Sons (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, a reference to Spain's ongoing civil conflicts. Moreover, the painting has been seen 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".
This painting is one of 14 in a series called the Black Paintings. After his death the wall paintings were transferred to canvas and remain some of the best examples of the later period of Goya's life when, deafened and driven half-mad by what was probably an encephalitis of some kind, he decided to free himself from painterly strictures of the time and paint whatever nightmarish visions came to him. Many of these works are in the Prado museum in Madrid.
In the 1810s, Goya created a set of aquatint prints titled The Disasters of War (Los desastres de la guerra) which depict scenes from the Peninsular War. 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. The prints were not published until 1863, 35 years after Goya's death.

Black paintings and The disasters
Several films portray Goya's life:
Enrique Granados composed a piano suite and later an opera called Goyescas inspired by the artist's paintings in 1916. Gian Carlo Menotti wrote a biographical opera about him titled Goya (1986), commissioned by Plácido Domingo, who originated the role; this production has been presented on television. He also inspired Michael Nyman's opera Facing Goya (2000), in which he appears in the present to protest the use of his skull in racist science, for which reason the historical Goya had his skull hidden and not buried with the rest of his body. Goya is the central character in Clive Barker's play Colossus.
In 1988 American musical theatre composer Maury Yeston released a studio cast album of his own musical, Goya: A Life In Song. Plácido Domingo again starred as Goya, with Jennifer Rush, Gloria Estefan, Joseph Cerisano, Dionne Warwick, Richie Havens, and Seiko Matsuda singing supporting roles. Music and lyrics were by Yeston, and the recording was released by CBS/Sony (483294-2). The score featured one break-out song, "Till I Loved You," sung by Placido Domingo and Gloria Estefan. It was subsequently a Top 40 hit by Barbra Streisand. In spite of that commercial success, the piece has not received a major staging.

Goya (1948) at the Internet Movie Database (short film)
Goya, Historia de una Soledad -- Goya, historia de una soledad (1971) at the Internet Movie Database
Goya in Bordeaux -- Goya in Bordeaux (1999) at the Internet Movie Database
Volavérunt -- Volavérunt (1999) at the Internet Movie Database
Goya's Ghosts (2006) See also

Goya (a biographical novel) by Lion Feuchtwanger ISBN 84-7640-883-8
Goya by Robert Hughes, 2003, ISBN 1-84343-054-1
eeweems.com Goya images, biography and resources

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