Francisco de Goya

Viewed as the most influential Spanish artist in the 1700’s and 1800’s, Francisco de Goya, or better known by his full name, Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes, was famous for his contemporary works, including one of his most eminent pieces, The Third of May 1808. Early in life, he focused on royal portraits, but later violence became more ubiquitously seen throughout his artwork. Goya is sometimes referred to as the “Father of Modern Art” because of his significant steps of progress in the art world. Goya was born in Fuendetodos, Spain on March 30, 1746. His family moved to Saragossa early in his life, where he began education at the “Pius School” run by friars.

Jose Luzan Martinez, a painter in Saragossa, started teaching Goya in the field of art when he was fourteen years old. Goya himself said in an autobiography that Martinez taught him many principles of drawing, and “[Martinez] made him copy the finest engravings that he possessed.” It is said that Goya stayed with Martinez for four years, enough time for a sufficient influence to sink in, before moving to Rome. In 1763 he applied for the Spanish Royal Academy, but was denied. A second attempt in 1766 was denied as well.

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After both denials, he left for Italy. Goya remained in Italy for two years, winning an award from the Academy of Parma, but then departed to Madrid to help submit plans for a new piece. In Madrid, he began work with two painters, Francisco and Ramon Bayeu y Subias, who just so happened to be brothers. His first child was born in 1774, but did not survive past infancy. The next year, in 1775, he married Josefa Bayeu, the sister of the Bayeu brothers, and lived with her in Saragossa. A year later, it was requested by Mengs, royal painter to the King, that Goya return to Madrid to work in the Royal Tapestry Factory.

Goya accepted and worked at the factory, only permitted to keep feeble sketches of the finished tapestries. Goya’s and Bayeu’s second child was born in December, but also did not survive past infancy. Two more children were born in 1777 and 1779, and neither survived past infancy. In 1778, however, Mengs gave permission for Goya to visit the Royal Palace and observe the paintings of Velasquez. He studied these works thoroughly upon visiting. The Spanish tapestry factory was held off temporarily when the war began in 1780.

However, Goya was finally accepted into Madrid’s Royal Academy with the help of his brother-in-law. In addition, a fifth child is born to the couple, but does not survive past infancy. In 1782, a sixth child is born and receives the same fate. Goya’s first prominent work, Count Floridablanca, was painted in 1783. This painting unearthed many opportunities for Goya’s later success.

A year later on December 2, Xavier is born, Goya’s only son that survives infancy. In 1786, Goya is presented with the position of Painter to the King. The highest ranking position for an artist in Spain, this job also provided secure finances to support his young son. In 1792, Goya falls ill. By 1795, he was totally deaf.

After a series of paintings, in 1803, Goya’s perpetual friend, Martin Zapater dies. In 1808, Napolean Bonaparte’s brother takes over the Spanish throne, and the execution of the Spanish people began. This would later become Goya’s inspiration for the set of Second and Third of May paintings. Four years later, Goya’s wife, Josefa Bayeu Goya passes away. Goya is left with his son, Xavier. In 1814, two years later, Bonaparte leaves the Spanish throne.

The next year, he is brought before the Inquisition because of his paintings, Majas desnuda and Vestida. Goya purchases a new home in 1819 that will later be nicknamed “House of the Deaf Man.” He begins painting the “Black Paintings,” a series of dark and depressing paintings, on the walls of the home. That winter his health took a plunge. Four years later he left Spain and settled in Paris, France, leaving his home to his grandson Mariano. In 1827, he painted the Milkmaid of Bordeaux, and reportedly complained often about difficulty seeing and lack of sufficient supplies.

The next year, on April 2nd, Goya suffered from a stroke and his right side was paralyzed. He finally died on April 16th in the middle of the night after being in a coma for almost two weeks. Goya’s funeral was the next day at the Notre Dame Cathedral. Francisco de Goya, famous for his insightful and contemporary work that later descended into darker scenes, had an interesting life story. From watching six of his children die to painting elegant works of art even when he was suffering, Goya may very well be one of my favorite artists.

His work displays impeccable creativity and contrast, and I think that is what separates him from other artists of his time. The pure fact that he had a stroke and was paralyzed intrigues me the most because it is interesting to see how modern medicine now allows stroke patients to survive; lack of decent medical care in Goya’s era caused his untimely death. All in all, Francisco de Goya had a difficult life, but with the help of art and his talent, he was able to make something amazing out of his experiences. Works Cited “Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes.” Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014.

Web. 02 June 2014. Voorhies, James. “Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.” Francisco De Goya (1746–1828) and the Spanish Enlightenment. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014.

Web. 02 June 2014. Weems, Erik E. “Goya – Timeline of the Life of Goya.” Timeline of the Life of Goya., Apr. 2011. Web. 02 June 2014.