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Francisco de Goya Paintings, Artworks and Biography

Francisco de Goya sometimes referred to as the father of modern art, is a Spanish artist who painted royal portraits as well as more subversive works in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

In this post, we will talk about a painter whose fate and the content of his works change very frequently and who reflects on the impact of his experiences on his works, and we will give examples of his paintings that are changing and increasingly pessimistic. This is the painter Francisco de Goya.



The Life of Francisco de Goya and Paintings (1746-1828)


Francisco de Goya’s Paintings in War

The theme of war is as old as art itself. The war is honorable in ancient works. When artists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries referred to this subject, they followed this tradition. Of course, most of them have never been in a war.

But Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes falls outside this definition. Goya lived in occupied Madrid. He had toured battlefields and witnessed reprisals for executions in the meantime.

He reacted to this by making the war for the first time by making artwork showing his ugly, scary, and dirty face and injustice. Goya showed not the glorious history of the war, but its bitter face.

Goya, who started out as a proficient rococo painter seeking success at the Spanish royal court, faced a strange fate.


Francisco de Goya - La Cometa (The Kite)

La Cometa (The Kite), 1777 by Francisco de Goya | Francisco Goya Paintings 



Mysterious Disease

In the mid-1700s there was little opportunity for progress in Spain, but art was the exception to this proposition.

Art provided an opportunity for progress. This opportunity was only given to you if you are good enough. Francisco De Goya thought he had the necessary talent.

After studying in the city of Zaragoza, he went to Madrid in 1774 and became a court painter in Madrid. The approach has done rococo-style countryside landscapes and portraits for the palace here for two decades. What happened next?

Then Francisco Goya fell ill. The disease that caused Goya to bid farewell to this world in the winter of 1792-1793 is still unknown today. But his ears were ringing and he caught debilitating vertigo that weakened him. Fainting spells followed by a semi-blindness.

His illness was attributed to various causes – Meniere, botulism, polio, hepatitis – but the truth is still unknown. He remained completely deaf and his life was never the same again.

His art has also changed.

Goya soon began making a series of engravings known as Los Caprichos. The most famous of these, bats and owls, shows a man who is piled up on a table as they enter and exit the darkness in flocks, and the inscription below says.

“El sueno de la razon produce monstruos” meaning “The sleep of reason produces monsters.”


Francisco de Goya

El sueno de la razon produce monstruos (The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters), Francisco de Goya | Francisco Goya Artworks


Los Caprichos is a messy band, half fantasy, half satire.

Goya printed three hundred copies of Los Caprichos, but only twenty-seven of them found buyers.



Kingdom of Spain and War

In 1799, Francisco de Goya became Primer Pintor de Cámara (Prime Court Painter), the highest rank for a Spanish court painter.

Napoleon convinced Carlos of Spain to allow him to bring one hundred thousand troops into Spain on the pretext of invading Portugal in 1807. Using this as an excuse, Ferdinand attempted a coup against his father. Carlos, who wanted to gain power against his son, agreed with Napoleon and went to France, benefiting from this very well, and Napoleon declared to the Spanish kingdom that he gave it to his brother Joseph.


The Duchess of Alba, (The White Duchess), 1795 by Francisco de Goya | Francisco de Goya Paintings


A member of the Spanish royal family, a thirteen-year-old prince had stayed in Spain. Napoleon ordered him to be taken to France, too. This situation helped the people of Spain understand what they were facing, and the rebellion began.

The revolt, of course, led to violence and massacre in return. The Spaniards neither wanted Napoleon nor his brother Joseph, nicknamed “Joe Bottle“. The Spanish army and Spanish guerrillas fought with the French army for six years.


Francisco de Goya

The Duchess of Alba (The Black Duchess), 1797 by Francisco de Goya | Francisco de Goya Paintings



Francisco de Goya and His New Style With War

Francisco de Goya was undecided about whom to show allegiance. He supported the new constitution. Patriotic feelings were high. He did not flatter the new king but did not find it appropriate to oppose it openly.

He also found it appropriate to make portraits of the French nobility and was deemed worthy of King Joseph’s eggplant-color medal, which was mocked by all.

He made works such as “The Water Bearer” and “The Knifegrinder“, which depicted the heroism of citizens. On the other hand, he made a series of engravings called “The Disasters of War“, which, though not with great enthusiasm, depicted the savagery of war. The engravings he made were works that looked at the war from the center and did not contain a heroic show in favor of Spain, so he did not exhibit them.


The Water Bearer, 1808-1812 by Francisco de Goya – Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest – Francisco Goya’s Famous Paintings


The Knifegrinder, 1808-1812 by Francisco de Goya | Francisco Goya’s Famous Paintings


Lo mismo (The same). A man about to cut off the head of a soldier with an axe. | Francisco Goya’s Disasters of War


Finally, the French were defeated. He returned to Fernando Madrid in 1814 to replace Carlos who died during the war.

The first thing was to reject the liberal constitution. He established absolute domination and punished his French collaborators. He was cautious with Goya because of the ‘eggplant’ medal he accepted. He called for an order to paint the events of May 2-3.

These works were Francisco Goya’s glorification of the Spanish spirit. The first of these works, “The Second of May” describes one of the lesser-known conflicts that erupted spontaneously in Spain.


The Second of May, 1808 by Francisco de Goya

The Second of May, 1808 by Francisco de Goya | Francisco Goya’s Famous Paintings


The more famous painting, “The Third of May,” depicts Spanish partisans in terror against armed French soldiers and not being afraid of it. The importance of this work is that this is the first time art has been so honest about war.


The Third of May, 1808 by Francisco de Goya

The Third of May, 1808 by Francisco de Goya | Francisco Goya’s Artworks


Recommended For You – The Third of May 1808 Analysis


But these paintings did not impress the new king much. They were not even exhibited until 1872.



Black Paintings and the Death of Francisco de Goya

Francisco de Goya was safe now and continued to work as a court painter.

Between 1819 and 1823, he worked on works known as “Black Paintings“, which he drew on the wall of his country house. These were enormously weird and catchy scenes. The best-known of these scenes is “Saturn Devouring One of His Sons“.


Francisco de Goya

Saturn Devouring One of His Sons, 1819 by Francisco Goya | Goya’s Black Paintings


Due to his paranoia from the past, the Spanish King made Spain almost uninhabitable.

Francisco Goya could not stand this situation any longer and, on the excuse of going to the spa, he issued a passport and went to Bordeaux in 1824. He didn’t speak any French, but it didn’t matter much, he was deaf. Francisco Goya died at the age of eighty-two after a stroke in April 1828.

Although he did not leave an apprentice behind, he particularly affected twentieth-century painters.

It is very difficult to decide which class to put Francisco de Goya in the painting class. A court painter? A painter who paints patriotic paintings? Or is he a fantasy painter? It is possible to see this difficulty in museums where his artworks are exhibited. Goya stands beside cute still lifes and landscapes with his works that disturb you.



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