Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) Spain

Francisco de Goya was born on March 30, 1746, in Spain. He grew up in Zaragosa in northeastern Spain, where as a 14 year old he apprenticed to the artist José Luzan. He continued to develop as an artist and moved to Madrid, where he became a pupil of one of the great artists of the time, Anton Raphael Mengs.

In 1770 he traveled to Italy and subsequently went to Madrid where he spent over three years working at the Royal Tapestry Factory. His paintings during this time reflect the ideals of the period: Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassicism. He follows these norms, while also introducing more personal elements, such as a freer style of composition. The experience gained here contributed to his appointment in 1799 as Principal Court Painter at the Spanish court. One year later he began his career at the Royal Academy. At the same time, he continued painting and making etchings, which depict the brutality of the Napoleonic Wars.

Goya changed his style of painting after the 1790s in response to the ideas of the French revolution, as well as his personal health problems. After being bedridden for a couple of months his condition improved, but he was left with progressive deafness that ultimately culminated in total deafness. At the same time that he painted portraits of members of the Spanish royal family during this period, he also produced graphic works and paintings with motifs taken from his experiences and personal thoughts.

In 1808 France occupied Madrid and during the years of the French occupation and the war to liberate Spain, Goya supported himself on works commissioned by French and Spanish burghers and nobles. His primary motif at this time was the war and during that period he created a series of prints called “The Disasters of War.” In response to the anxiety arising from the political situation in Spain, Goya chose to go into exile in Bordeaux, France, where he died in 1828.

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