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He is considered the most important Spanish artist of late 18th and early 19th centuries and throughout his long career was a commentator and chronicler of his era. Immensely successful in his lifetime, Goya is often referred to as both the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. He was also one of the great contemporary portraitists. He was born to a modest family in in the village of Fuendetodos in Aragon.
He married Josefa Bayeu in ; their life was characterised by an almost constant series of pregnancies and miscarriages, and only one child, a son, survived into adulthood.
Goya became a court painter to the Spanish Crown in and this early portion of his career is marked by portraits of the Spanish aristocracy and royalty, and Rococo style tapestry cartoons designed for the royal palace. Goya was guarded, and although letters and writings survive, little is known about his thoughts. He suffered a severe and undiagnosed illness in which left him deaf. Sick and disillusioned, after his work became progressively darker and pessimistic. His later easel and mural paintings, prints and drawings appear to reflect a bleak outlook on personal, social and political levels, and contrast with his social climbing.
Goya remained in Madrid during the war which seems to have affected him deeply.
Although he did not vocalise his thoughts in public, they can be inferred from his Disasters of War series of prints although published 35 years after his death and his paintings The Second of May and The Third of May Other works from his mid period include the Caprichos and Los Disparates etching series, and a wide variety of paintings concerned with insanity, mental asylums, witches, fantastical creatures and religious and political corruption, all of which suggest that he feared for both his country's fate and his own mental and physical health.
His late period culminates with the Black Paintings of —, applied on oil on the plaster walls of his house the Quinta del Sordo house of the deaf man where, disillusioned by political and social developments in Spain he lived in near isolation. Goya eventually abandoned Spain in to retire to the French city of Bordeaux, accompanied by his much younger maid and companion, Leocadia Weiss, who may or may not have been his lover. There he completed his La Tauromaquia series and a number of other, major, canvases.
Following a stroke which left him paralyzed on his right side, and suffering failing eyesight and poor access to painting materials, he died and was buried on 16 April aged His body was later re-interred in Spain.
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Francisco Goya Famous works. Summer, or The Harvest Francisco Goya The Straw Manikin Francisco Goya Bad night Francisco Goya Nude Maja Francisco Goya The Madhouse Francisco Goya Francisco Goya Featured. Romanticism Style - artworks. Disperate Series - 13 artworks. Los caprichos Series - 79 artworks. The Disasters of War Series - 12 artworks. Tauromaquia Series - 5 artworks. Related Artists. Albrecht Durer - Diego Velazquez - What was it made for? Who asked to have it made? What was happening politically, economically, socially at that moment?
So what decisions did the artist make? Well, for one thing the artist decided to make a large painting.
But so is composition. Where is the artist placing his actors? What is their relationship to the landscape? What is their relationship to one another? What is the artist asking me to look at? What is he drawing my eye to?
And clearly in this painting, it's that figure in white with his hands out stretched above him. But the composition also reinforces that by the artist placing that figure against a hillside so that he is entrapped there. Our eye is led down to the gunmen by the horizon of the hill and then our eye shoots back to the left right back to that bright white shirt. When we talk about paintings we're looking at works of art that are flat. And one of the key questions we can ask is, is the artist creating an illusion of space on that flat surface?
And one of the ways that Goya is doing that is by using this diagonal line that appears to recede into space. He does it with light. The brightest elements are forward, things become dimmer as we move back. The level of detail diminishes as we move into the distance.
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And the finally, the artist also uses scale so the buildings in the distance are small in comparison to the men in the foreground. There you can see the fleshy quality of his thumb where there's a white highlight and you can see shadow that is used to trace the contours of that thumb. And so, you have this rounding in space, this volume and all of these are formal elements.
A great example of that is the dead figure in the foreground who's fallen toward us after being shot. His arms outstretched and you can see his body move back into space. Now, seeing the hand of the artist pushing paint across the canvas is possible because of oil painting.
For example, if we look at the white shirt, the brushstrokes are not careful.
The Dark & Light of Francisco Goya | by Colm Tóibín | The New York Review of Books
It looks sketchy, it looks quick and it gives us a sense that the man has just raised his arms, that that shirt is actually still in motion. Look at the facial features of the man.
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His eyebrows are raised up almost too much but because the brushwork is so loose, we forgive that. It becomes a kind of gesture. The artist is not spending a huge amount of time finishing this, making it perfect. This is very much of a particular moment and how appropriate this is of a particular day, the 3rd of May, And I see another figure holding his head whose next in this line of fire. They're human, we have empathy for them.