where was francisco goya born
During the brutal Napoleonic occupation of Spain, Goya saw at first hand the horrors of warfare. These inspired a series of etchings ‘The Disasters of War’ and two paintings ‘2 May 1808’ and ‘3 May 1808’.
Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes was born near Saragossa in Aragon on 30 March 1746. His father was a painter. Goya’s formal artistic education began at the age of 14 when he was apprenticed to a local painter. In 1763 Goya went to Madrid and worked under another artist from Aragon, Francisco Bayeu, whose sister he married.
Spanish Painter and Printmaker
Goya’s politically engaged, highly subjective, and imaginative art presented a significant step towards modernism. In his prints especially, Goya critiqued the events of his day including war, corruption, social ills, and ingrained superstitions. This would later inspire artists like his fellow Spaniard Picasso, whose seminal Guernica also raged against contemporary injustices, in this case the Fascist bombing of a Spanish village in WWII.
At some time between late 1792 and early 1793, a serious illness (the exact nature of which is not known), left Goya deaf, and he became withdrawn and introspective.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 which would encompass paintings, drawings as well as a bitter series of aquatinted etchings, published in 1799 under 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.
Goya married Bayeu’s sister Josefa (he nicknamed her “Pepa”) on 25 July 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 the Royal Tapestry Factory. 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 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.
Goya began his studies in Zaragoza with José Luzán y Martínez, a local artist trained in Naples, and was later a pupil, in Madrid, of the court painter Francisco Bayeu, whose sister he married in 1773. He went to Italy to continue his studies and was in Rome in 1771. In the same year he returned to Zaragoza, where he obtained his first important commission for frescoes in the cathedral, which he executed at intervals during the next 10 years. These and other early religious paintings made in Zaragoza are in the Baroque-Rococo style then current in Spain and are influenced in particular by the great Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, who spent the last years of his life in Madrid (1762–70), where he had been invited to paint ceilings in the royal palace.
In 1780 Goya was elected a member of the Royal Academy of San Fernando, Madrid, his admission piece being a Christ on the Cross, a conventional composition in the manner of Mengs but painted in the naturalistic style of Velázquez’s Christ on the Cross, which he doubtless knew. In 1785 he was appointed deputy director of painting at the Academy and in the following year painter to the king, Charles III. To this decade belong his earliest known portraits of court officials and members of the aristocracy, whom he represented in conventional 18th-century poses. The stiff elegance of the figures in full-length portraits of society ladies, such as The Marquesa de Pontejos, and the fluent painting of their elaborate costumes also relates them to Velázquez’s court portraits, and his representation of Charles III as Huntsman is based directly on Velázquez’s royal huntsmen.
The 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 Velazquez in the royal collection resulted in a looser, more spontaneous painting technique.
Upon 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.