The Life of Francisco de Goya

Francisco Jose de Goya was born in Fuendetodos, Spain, on March 30th, 1746.  His family later relocated to Saragossa, where Goya came to be under the tutelage of local artist Jose Luzan.  A few years later, after a sojourn in Italy to study, Goya returned to Saragossa where he received his first commission, painting frescoes in the Cathedral of El Pilar.

Goya created designs for a tapestry factory in Madrid, painting scenes of everyday life in Spain. His worked were very sought after, and in 1780 he was elected to the Royal Academy of San Fernando.  Shortly thereafter, he was named painter to King Charles IV, who was perhaps the most educated of the Spanish Monarchs of the era, and ultimately appointed Goya to the post of court painter.  Goya painted portraits of the social elite, but he also continued making more tapestries.  This was the height of Goya’s artistic career, and he was at this point, considered the most successful, sought after and admired of all Spanish artists.

Alas, tragedy struck, and Goya was stricken with a mysterious illness that left him completely deaf.  Later, after the death of his friend and brother-in-law Francisco Bayeu, he took over his duties as Director of Painting in the Royal Academy from 1795 to 1797, when he resigned due to ill health.  Two years later, in 1799, he was given the title of First Spanish court painter.  Being only capable of communicating via sign language or handwriting, Goya became a silent observer of the world around him.  Surprisingly enough, his work took an unexpected twist, and he developed a more caricature-like style with which he created several satirical illustrations based on human weakness and his own whimsical imaginings.

Francisco Goya was the Father of Modern Art, his idea that the artist’s personal vision had more importance than his subject opened new ways of thinking which helped art break free from commissioned portraits and religious imagery.  Goya’s artistic career lasted over 60 years, and in that time he showed an incredible evolution from Baroque all the way through his own groundbreaking style.  Artists ranging from Manet to Pablo Picasso have cited his work as being influential in their development.  Goya painted for himself, his view of the world, and his candour gave his work resonance that would not only inspire, but also enlighten.

Do you want to continue reading about the Life of Michaelangelo Buonarroti?

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