The first modern
WITH EL GRECO and Velazquez, Goya completes the triumvirate of the greatest Spanish painters. Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes was born on March 30, 1746, in Fuendetodos, in Spain. He apprenticed under Jose Luzan when he was about 14. He went to Italy to study art and on his return to Saragossa in 1771, he painted frescoes in the local cathedral. These paintings done in the popular Rocco style established his credentials as a painter.
He married Josefa Bayeu in 1773 and of the many children the couple had, only one son, Xavier, survived to adulthood. Xavier gives a fascinating portrait of his father at work when he writes: "He paints only in one sitting which sometimes lasts up to 10 hours but never in the evening and in order to heighten the effect of a portrait, he adds final touches at night under artificial light."
While Goya was a popular portrait painter and was named painter to the King in 1786, a serious illness in 1792 rendered him deaf and made him introspective. He did not have patience anymore with the exaggerated manners of the court and his portraits took on a penetrating aspect revealing the sitters' true nature. He withdrew into a world of tortured imagination, which found expression in the Black Paintings that he drew on the walls of his house in Madrid. He went into voluntary exile to France in 1824 where he died on April 16, 1828.
Goya is an important figure in the history of art as he was the first to place artistic vision above tradition. It is because of this that Goya is often called "the first of the moderns." Goya was also the first to show the horrors and brutality of war in his famous The Disasters of War etchings as well as masterpieces such as The Second of May 1808 and The Third of May 1808.
Goya, who considered Velazquez, Rembrandt and nature his teachers, made an indelible mark on the art scene inspiring movements such as Realism and Impressionism and artists such as Manet.
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