Ahead of its time, the highly original Spanish painter's work is precursor of the modern artistic trends.
Detail of his first self-portrait (to 1773)
The parasol Museo del Prado (1776-78)
The shootings of May 3rd (detail)
Portrait of Goya de Vicente López
Saturn devouring a son (detail)
Detail of the family of Charles IV
The milkmaid of Bordeaux, one of his last works
No one was more deaf than Goya to the 19th century, despite having served nearly three decades on it and having survived their fierce wars. Deaf man of truth was when dawn of the century, but not blind. And to fuer look at your own pace became a visionary. This thorough, lucid and baturro man conceived the nightmares that we believe as our based in a provincial Versailles and an illustration of people. The 18th-century, acanallada Spain who touched her life earned him for everything and anything. His stubbornness and brio were his heritage: with such bags jumped from his childhood to the childhood of the avant-gardes, which claimed him as a teacher in the twentieth century. Nobody explains even that rare phenomenon: was a painter and a lone Prophet come from old until now without going through the history.
Francisco de Goya was born in the year 1746 in Fuendetodos, town in the Spanish province of Zaragoza, son of a Browning of Basque origin, Joseph, and a noble village called shining grace. Position the family in the Zaragoza capital, entered the young Francisco to learn the craft of the painter in the workshop of the routine José Luzán, where was four years by copying prints until he decided to settle on their own, and he wrote more late himself, "paint of my invention".
As they were running the years of his long life, this "paint of my invention" became more real and more pointed, without neglecting well-paying jobs that allowed him a comfortable existence, Goya drew and made print series of images unusual and whimsical, whose last, often ambiguous, meaning corresponds to a personal fantasy and an ideological commitment related to the principles of the Enlightenment, which were engines of a relentless satire of the customs of his time.
But still ahead of his trip to Italy in 1771, his art is tottering and so little academic that you don't get any support or any success; even he failed miserably in the two tenders announced by the Academy of San Fernando in 1763 and 1769. The compositions of her paintings were inspired, through engravings that had at its disposal, in old masters like Vouet, Maratta or Correggio, but on his return from Rome, scale for the learning of every artist, will suffer a very interesting evolution of already present in the cool of the Pilar de Zaragoza entitled the glory of God's name.
Yet in this first stage, Goya occupied more of the night in Madrid tascas binges and resabidas and cheeky majas take care of its reputation professional and just painted some orders that come from their friends the Bayeu, three brothers painters, Ramon, Manuel and Francisco, the latter his inseparable companion and protector, twelve years older than him. Also sister of these was Josefa, which got married in Madrid in June 1773, decisive year in the life of the painter because it opens a new period of greater strength and originality.
Detail of his first self-portrait (to 1773)
By the same time he painted first self-portrait that we know, and there are art historians that he made it on the occasion of their wedding. It appears as it always was: a stubborn, defiant and sensual man. Careful combing of the long black hulls indicates coquetry; the clear front, his clear intelligence; its dark and deep eyes, a determination and courage unheard; the lips already, a hobby without hypocrisy by the voluptuous pleasures; and all this framed in a round, large, bulky nose and Chin visible face.
Cartoonist of the tapestry factory
Shortly afterwards, something more enseriado his work, regular at the gathering of the neoclassical chaired by Leandro Fernández de Moratín and which were the largest and francized mills of his generation, won design cartons for the Royal tapestry factory in Madrid, gender where could move with relative freedom, to the point that the 63 compositions of this type between 1775 and 1792 are the more suggestive of its production in those years. Perhaps the first that took place is known as snack on the banks of the Manzanares, with an original and popular theme that announces a series of lively, funny and realistic paintings: the quarrel in the new sale, the swing, the canopy and, above all, back in 1786 or 1787, the wounded bricklayer.
The latter format very narrow and high, condition imposed for decorative reasons, representing two builders that move an injured companion, probably after the collapse of a scaffold. The issue coincides with a claim to the manual laborer, then worse seen almost as beggars by enlightened thinkers. Against this prejudice had been manifested in 1774 the count of Romanones, stating that "it is necessary to clear trades all dishonour, only laziness should collapse vileness". Also, an edict of 1784 requires damages to the master of works in case of accident, establishes standards for prudent lifting scaffolding, threatening them with jail time and heavy fines in the event of negligence of those responsible and said financial aid to survivors and their families. Goya cooperates, then, with his painting, in this development and dignity of labour policy, aligning itself with the feeling more progressive for his time.
The parasol Museo del Prado (1776-78)
To 1776, Goya receives a salary of 8,000 reais for his work for the Royal tapestry factory. Resides in the Madrid's 12th Street from the mirror and has two children; the first, Eusebio Ramon, born on December 15, 1775, and the other born recently, Vicente Anastasio. After this date we can follow his biography almost year-by-year. In April 1777 is the victim of a serious illness that is about to end her life, but is happily recovered and soon received commissions from the Prince himself, the future Carlos IV. In 1778 public become the etchings made by the artist copying paintings by Velázquez, painter that has been carefully designed in the Royal collection and who take some of their amazing resources and their memorable colors work in future.
The post of first painter of camera, charge is finally granted one ten years older than him, Mariano Salvador Maella artist requested unsuccessfully the following year. In 1780, when Josefa conceives a new son of Goya, Francisco de Paula Antonio Benito, joined the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando with the picture of Christ on the cross, which currently keeps the Museum of the Prado in Madrid, and meets the greatest defender of the illustrated then Spain, Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, who will join a close friendship until the death of the latter in 1811. On December 2, 1784 was the only one of their children will survive, Francisco Javier, and on 18 March the following year, he was appointed Deputy Director of painting of the Academy of San Fernando. Finally, on June 25, 1786, earn Goya and Ramón Bayeu the title of painters of the King with an interesting salary of 15,000 reais a month.
Forty years old, which is now known in Madrid as Don Paco has become an accomplished portrait artist, and all the gates of the palaces and some, more secret, the bedroom of their rich riverbanks, as the Cayetana Duchess, de Alba, which experienced a spirited devotion have opened for him. Unrepentant fan of the bulls, you feel flattered when the most outstanding matadors, Pedro Romero, Pepe-Hillo and others, will provide work and even happier when on April 25, 1789 is favoured with the appointment of Chamber of the new Kings Carlos IV and Doña Luisa María painter.
Disease and isolation
But shortly thereafter, in the winter of 1792, falls seriously ill in Seville, the unspeakable suffering during that year and is deaf in life. After months of prostration recovers, but as a sequela of disease lost hearing. Also, walks with difficulty and has some balance and vision problems. It will partly recover, but deafness will already be irreversible of lifetime.
The story has speculated repeatedly about what was the disease of Goya. The doctors (was attended by the best physicians of the time) not agreed as to the diagnosis. Some blamed the evil to a venereal disease, others to thrombosis, others to Meniere syndrome, which is associated with problems of balance and hearing. Also, more recently, been believed could have been poisoned with some of the components of the paintings used.
Then, it started a new artistic era for Goya. Because hearing loss and the aftermath of the serious disease that had suffered, the master had to adapt to a new kind of life. Not waned, despite what is said on occasions, its productive capacity and its creative genius. He continued painting and still would be great masterpieces in the history of art. Hearing loss would open him, without a doubt, the doors of a new pictorial universe. The serious problems of communication and relationship resulting in deafness, would also Goya initiated a process of introversion and isolation. Pessimism, the representation of a deformed reality and the grotesque tint of some of his later paintings are, in reality, a manifestation of their isolated and singular (though extremely lucid) interpretation of the era that had him live.
For obvious health problems Goya had to resign as director of painting of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in 1797. A year later he confessed that it was not possible to deal with the duties of their profession in the Royal tapestry factory to find so dull that he had to communicate gesturing.
Majas and whims
From the years of childhood, in the pious schools in Zaragoza, where Goya went without penalty or glory, attached the painter a close friendship, which lives up to the death, with Martín Zapater, who often writes letters where leaves record of details of its economy and other personal and private matters. Thus, in Epistle dated in Madrid on August 2, 1794, mentions, well that modestly, the most playful and ardent of their relationship: "more worth you come to me to help paint at dawn, that yesterday I got into the Studio to paint her face, and left with it; "by the way that I like more paint on canvas, also I have it to portray whole body." June 9, 1796 died the Duke of Alba, and in that same spring Goya moved to Sanlúcar de Barrameda with the Duchess of Alba, with whom he spends the summer, and returned there again in February 1797. During this time he made called Album A, with drawings of everyday life, where portraits of the graciosa Doña Cayetana are often identified. The magnanimous Duchess signs a testament by which Javier, the artist's son, will receive from for life a total of ten reales a day.
These facts starts the legend that wants that very famous majas of Goya, the clothed maja and the naked maja, condemned by the Inquisition as obscene after threateningly claim the appearance of the painter to the Court, were portraits of the brazen and malicious Doña Cayetana, although it is almost certain that the paintings were painted in those years. Also it has been assumed, with large probability of being true, that both pictures were willing as obverse and reverse of the same frame, so could be, at times, more decent, and in others, painting as turning the page, show the dazzling nakedness of the same model, Picardy which was very common in France at that time in the illustrated environments and Libertines.
The works were found, either way, in 1808 in the collection of the favorite of Godoy; they were known by the name of "Gypsy", but the mystery of the same lies not only in the sensitive possibility that the Duchess is paid to appear before the painter infatuated with their glistening meat uncovered and naughty smile, but in the subtle similarities and differences between the two. Indeed, the clothed maja gives fuel to a greater morbidity by the spectator, the provocative pose of the woman both mild and tight clothing that cut your silhouette sinuous, explosive breasts and hips and reticent at the waist, while, on the other hand, pearly skin of the nude maja turns cold, academic, and without that spark of delicious vivacity that the other wastes.
A new mystery involves the unexplained withdrawal of the sale, by the own Goya, of a wonderful and highly original series of 80 etchings called Los Caprichos, which could be purchased for a few months in the street of the disappointment No. 1, in a perfume shop located in the same house where he lived the painter. Satirical, irreverent and bold content must not like at all the jealous inquisitors and probably Goya came forward to a process that would have brought worse consequences after the fact was denounced to the Holy Court. This episode brought the Aragonese one renewed antipathy to the keepers of old superstitions and censorship and, of course, a more expensive wisely to the future, delivering since at these free and inspired drawing exercises as came it with win, but reserving to the coleto and a select group of friends more than they.
Meanwhile, Goya gains both in popularity and in favor of the monarchs, to the point that you can write plenty proudly to your tireless correspondent-Zapater: "Kings are crazy about your friend;" and in 1799, his salary as first painter of camera already amounts to 50,000 Reals more fifty ducats for maintenance costs. In 1805, after having suffered two hard blows with the deaths of the young Duchess of Alba and its well-liked Zapater, his son Javier is married, and wedding meets Goya who will be her lover of the last years: Leocadia Zorrilla de Weiss.
The horror of war
The painter may 3, 1808, the day after the popular uprising in Madrid against the French invading, is cast to the street, not to fight with the sword or bayonet, because it has more than sixty years and in their eyes about the clamor bullen unless he can hear nothing, but insatiably look what happens. With apparently painted some of the most pathetic pictures in history ever made: the two of may, also known as the charge of the Mamelukes in the Puerta del Sol in Madrid and the canvas titled the massacre on May 3 in the mountains of Madrid's Príncipe Pio.
In the shootings of May 3rd, the plastic solution to this scene is impressive: the soldiers responsible for the implementation are as a depersonalized, inexorable machine on its back, without faces, in perfect formation, while the victims constitute a rough and heartbreaking group, with dislocated faces, eyes of horror or stiff bodies twisted foreshortened on standing blood sand. A huge bluff violently lit a white and yellow, kneeling and figure with arms forming a broad gesture of defiant resignation: is the figure of a man who is about to die.
The shootings of May 3rd (detail)
During the so-called war of independence, Goya will be bringing an unmatched set of prints that reflect in all its absurd horror mineshaft criminality of the contest. These are called disasters of war, whose value lies not only in a few atrocious events reflect but reaches a staggering degree of universality and transcends the anecdotal for a time to become example and symbol in real shock, in the cruelest of human practices.
Goyesco pessimism will be increasing since then. Died in 1812, his wife, Josefa Bayeu. between 1816 and 1818 he published his famous series of prints, bullfighting , and nonsense; in 1819 decorates with profusion of monsters and sordid inks a town that has acquired 60,000 Reals on the banks of the Manzanares, known then as the Quinta del Sordo: are the so-called "black paintings", depiction of a terrifying hell, vision of a world gone mad and hateful; in the winter of 1819 falls seriously ill but is saved in extremis by his friend Dr. Arrieta, who, in gratitude, gave the box titled Goya and his doctor Arrieta (1820, Institute of Art, Minneapolis). In 1823, the hundred thousand sons of Saint Louis, come to overthrow the liberal government, is sentenced to hide after the invasion of the French army and the following year escapes Bordeaux, taking refuge in the House of his friend Moratin.
Portrait of Goya de Vicente López
In 1826, Goya returned to Madrid, where he stayed two months, to go back to France. During this brief stay the painter Vicente López Portaña (which was at its best for prestige and technical) carried out a portrait of Goya, when this was already 80 years old. Faced the old master, face still tense and energetic, López Portaña carried out the work more strong and valuable of its extensive activity of portraitist, often wasted in the minutiae of tired of translating lace, satin or velvet with boring perfection. This painting, now in the Prado Museum, is the best-known portrait of Goya, much more, even, than the also-famous painter self-portraits.
The teacher died in Bordeaux, towards two o'clock in the morning of April 16, 1828, after eighty-two years, being buried in France. In 1899 his mortal remains were buried definitively in the Hermitage of San Antonio de la Florida in Madrid, one hundred years after that Goya painted the frescoes in the Church (1798).
Saturn devouring a son (detail)
Girl with Bordeaux or the milkmaid of Bordeaux (1825-1827), one of his last works is preserved in the Museo del Prado. But perhaps his real testament had been set already on plaster in his fifth of Madrid some years earlier: Saturn devouring a son, is undoubtedly one of the most disturbing paintings of all time, synthesis inimitable style, that oddly brings the tragic and grotesque, and mirror of a Goya, visionary, subtle, penetrating, lucid and stark.
Chronology of Francisco de Goya
|1746||Born in Fuendetodos, Zaragoza.|
|1759||He began his apprenticeship with the painter José Martínez Luján.|
|1763||He moved to Madrid.|
|1770-1771||Travel to Italy.|
|1773||He married Josefa Bayeu, sister of Francisco Bayeu, his master.|
|1775||He began his work as a cartoonist in the Royal tapestry factory.|
|1780||He entered the Royal Academy of San Fernando.|
|1789||He was named painter of Carlos IV camera.|
|1792||It becomes deaf after suffering a long illness.|
|1800||Painting the family of Charles IV and portrays the Duchess of Alba.|
|1808||He joined general Palafox in Saragossa and initiates the series of recorded the disasters of war.|
|1812||Die Josefa Bayeu and started relationships with Leocadia Weis, his housekeeper.|
|1814||Painting the charge of the Mamelukes in the Puerta del Sol in Madrid and the shootings of May 3 in the mountains of Madrid's Príncipe Pio.|
|1819||It is held in «La Quinta del Sordo» and begins the so-called "black paintings" series.|
|1824||He went into exile in the French city of Bordeaux.|
|1828||He died in Bordeaux because of an attack of apoplexy.|
Francisco de Goya and his work
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) has not only been considered the most remarkable painter of his time and the artist who best knew how to explore all the possibilities opened up by the century stylistic evolution, but is, above all, perhaps the Creator who gave testimony, through its brushes, feelings more accurately ranging from the optimistic spirit of reformism illustrated to the disappointment generated by the failure of the hopes in progress Pacific of mankind, which should materialize thanks to the rule of reason and philanthropy.
His first important works are that took place from 1775 to the Royal tapestry factory of Santa Bárbara in Madrid, which hired him to draw the cartons that were to serve as models for the craftsmen of this manufacturing. In these cartons, Goya revealed his talent to develop a traditional and popular painting full of grace and freshness, deep inside a look next to the rococo in which conveys is peaceful and hopeful life in a time marked by the beneficial effects of the good economic situation and by the illusion that wake up the progress of the reform movement. Among the best compositions of this series, there are scenes as accomplished as the parasol, the crockery vendor, the blind man, kite, swing or bubbler, reflects a world dominated the game and cheerful and carefree life.
Confirmed his mastery, Goya held his friendly palette and their light colors within the rococo taste, becoming the favourite portraitist of aristocrats, politicians and intellectuals. Thus, his fame, which increase with the completion of the joyful scenes of pilgrimage that decorate the chapel of San Antonio de la Florida Madrid, procured his appointment as first painter of camera (1799) and the possibility of carrying out a masterpiece of portraiture courtly as the family of Charles IV (1800), perfect combination of subtle irony and psychological penetration.
Detail of the family of Charles IV
However, precisely in these years of triumph, Goya had begun to cultivate a more intimate facet and staff of his art that denoted a lucid perception of latent in a threatened society imbalance, such as it is transparent in their fantastic whims, first series of engravings (84 etchings, made between 1792 and 1799), where displays a underhand critique of traditional Spain.
In the same way, very soon his cheerful style of the first period is entenebrece as a result both of your personal (in particular, its progressive deafness) and of the negative events March circumstances, since the outbreak of the French revolution has warned the Spanish ruling classes and has slowed the reform project of the monarchy, painting itself dreary development the open and dynamic soul of the illustration.
Thus, the crisis that erupted in 1808 not caught you unprepared but willing to offer an exceptional testimony of that historic moment in two large canvases to be painted in 1814: the second of may 1808 or the charge of the Mamelukes and the shootings of May 3. After this first shock, and following his appointment as a painter of Chamber of José Bonaparte, must be appeased with the invaders and even perform some portraits of his generals. His inner world is more freely expressed in a series of engravings on the disasters of war (or fatal consequences of the bloody war in Spain against Bonaparte, made between 1810 and 1814, although it would remain unpublished), reflecting the hardships of the divided Spain.
The fernandina restoration renewed him the official appointment, but his spirit was sailing upstream more tormented, manifested in the new series of prints of the bullfighting (1815-1816), where in addition to the reference to the tremendousness of culture Spanish appears confrontation between the legislative spirit of the enlightenment and the ferocity of the party. Maybe subsequent collection of nonsense will culminate the depiction of the pessimistic, grotesque and visionary aspect of your last period, which are the "black paintings" paradigm of the Quinta del Sordo, disturbing and distressing parade of horrible old, witches and covens: Saturn devouring a son, two old eating, fantastic view (Asmodea), Rina to beatings, the coven or el Gran Cabron.
The milkmaid of Bordeaux, one of his last works
The second restoration and the persecution of Liberals pushed him to a voluntary exile in France, where it would die but not before sketching pictorially a smile, a last ironic tribute to the belief in a happy future for man, in a work of genre as the milkmaid of Bordeaux (1828), where it seems to look at a time and an art already periclitados. Witness of a turbulent time, Goya was very sensitive to the illusions of a century that had relied on the progress of mankind, and spiritual storms that struck on the final years of the ancien régime and presided over the birth of a new age in the history of mankind.
Halfway between two centuries, Goya was a painter so profuse and original that can be well argued that not only closes with a flourish the elegant 18th-century art, but anticipates the creative freedom that the romantic creators embrace and announces the formal innovations of Impressionism and Expressionism, while the forwards by its versatility to the great masters of painting , such as Velázquez and Rembrandt, and foreshadows, in his palette and in the sprawling fantasy of his drawings and engravings, the ferocity of great artists of the 20th century, such as Otto Dix, Pablo Picasso or Francis Bacon.
However, that Goya which goes beyond the tenebrism of Alessandro Magnasco, of the mysticism of William Blake or the demonism of Johann Heinrich Füssli, that Goya which does not perish with the passage of time and whose work continues to surprise in our day for their tireless contributions is, above all, a precursor critic of ways of seeing the world in contemporary times.
The rococo reflected, so elegant and friendly, the 18th-century grace of the first half of the century. Goya tore, definitely, that kindness, as it gets openly evident in his portraits, truthful and sometimes ruthless, rich in color and lights faded, where tissues acquire glories and incredible luminosities and where the characters appear in their most vivid, raw, and unimaginable reality. His thematic vision and technique that uses (quick brushwork, dense color sometimes, and very little each other, forming patches of great freshness and courage) is one of the artists who has most influenced modern art.
Goya's fascination with the various manifestations of popular culture is the precedent of a form of social realism that proved very fruitful during the 19th and 20th centuries. Satirical tone and many of his engravings documentary will reappear in the works carried out in the mid-19th century, Honoré Daumier: this French artist inherited Goya both the strength of drawing (which often verged as caricature) and social commitment. The work of Daumier gave continuity to an artistic trend that resulted, in the 20th century, the modern caricature and critical realism of the German artists Otto Dix and George Grosz.
On the other hand, the dark and tragic vision of the human condition embodied in the so-called "black paintings" Goya gave rise to important expressionist tradition in painting. The free and emotional touch of works such as the coven and Saturn devouring a child was recovered by the Belgian painter James Ensor and the German Expressionists at the beginning of the 20th century. The gestural brushstroke, which Goya used to express emotional States, also employed it artists of this century: was a resource that underwent the Spanish painter Antonio Saura and that worked the generation of the 'return to painting', whose main exponents were the American Julian Schnabel, Georg Baselitz German and Italian Francesco Clemente.
The interest in images of the subconscious and the dark aspects of existence, apparent in some works of Goya, foreshadowed the modern artistic movements that gave great importance to the irrational psychic activity. Creative symbolism and Surrealism tendencies, which focused its interest in the mental processes that the reason already has control, therefore had its precedent in the works by the Spanish painter.
Despite the passage of the years, the sensitivity of Goya stays very close to the one of our time. Their ideas and their artistic approaches continue arousing interest. For this reason, it is not surprising that certain aspects of the life of the painter have been recreated in some artistic proposals. This is what happens, for example, in the opera Goya, by Giancarlo Menotti, premiered by Placido Domingo and Victoria Vergara at the Kennedy Center in Washington in 1986, or in the film Goya in Bordeaux, by Carlos Saura, premiered in 1999 and starring Francisco Rabal and Maribel Verdú.