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How the artist Francisco Goya turned the art world around: “the First of modern»

For innovations in the technique of paintings, obsessive satire of his work and personal belief that the artist’s vision is more important than tradition, Goya is often called “the first of the modern”. His uncompromising depiction of the reality of his time marks the beginning of a new art of the XIX century.


Francisco Goya y Lucientes was born on March 30, 1746 in an Aragonese village and studied painting in the workshop of the Zaragoza artist Jose Lusano-Martinez. The work of the Spanish artist, which developed at the turn of the XVIII-XIX centuries, opens the art of a new historical era. His paintings, drawings and engravings reflected historical upheavals and influenced many talented artists.Goya’s imaginative solutions were marked by a special, different from the past, artistic vision of the world. Like none of the great masters of Spain, Goya embodied in his art the tragedy and heroic aspirations of the Spanish people, who were experiencing at this time one of the most turbulent periods of their history. Francisco Goya claimed to have admired three masters: Velasquez, Rembrandt, and, above all, nature. Rembrandt’s etchings were his source of inspiration and taught him the language of realism. Velasquez’s paintings directed and subdued his creative rebellious nature. And nature… nature has given the world an incredibly talented artist and master of all times.
Interesting facts about the artist
Official portraits of Goya at the Spanish court are painted in a luxurious virtuoso style and emphasize the wealth and power of the Royal family. On the other hand, in his works, Goya masterfully concealed criticism of the inexpediency and inefficiency of the rule of the rulers and their immediate environment.

Goya is one of the greatest masters of etchings. During his career, he created four major series of etchings. These works reflect the artist’s originality and true opinion of the social and political events of his day even more than his paintings. The subject matter of his etchings varies from the fabulous to the grotesque, the documentary to the imaginary, and from the humorous to the satirical.

Women are Central to Goya’s work, and his depictions of mahas (outlandish members of Spain’s lower classes in the 18th and 19th centuries), witches, and Queens are among his most daring and modern interpretations.

Goya’s later paintings are among the darkest and most mysterious of his creations. Three years before he left his native country, Goya painted 14 paintings directly on the plaster walls of his rural home in Madrid. These works, known collectively as “Black painting” (1821), depicted gruesome supernatural scenes. These works had no analogues in painting at that time, expressing the tragic creations of the artist’s imagination. These are the pessimistic expressions of an aging, deaf genius who has become disillusioned with society and is struggling with his sanity. While living in exile in Bordeaux, France, the artist died on April 16, 1828.
“Kaprichos” – a famous series of works consisting of 83 etchings of the graphic series (1793-1797) – an unsurpassed example of fantastically bold, uniquely sharp realistic grotesque. These works were an artistic experiment: a means for the artist to condemn the follies of the Spanish society in which he lived. The criticism is extensive and acidic: he speaks out against the superstitions, ignorance, and inefficiency of the various members of the ruling class. Goya himself described this cycle as depicting “innumerable flaws and follies that can be found in any civilized society”. “Caprichos” was a continuous criticism of eighteenth-century Spain and humanity in General. The informal style, as well as the depiction of modern society found in etchings, make Goya the forerunner of the modernist movement almost a century later.

Mach in the paintings of Francisco Goya
Masterpieces of painting Goya painting include “the naked maja” and “clothed maja” (C. 1800-05).
“The clothed maja”
The year 1808 was a year of upheaval for all of Spain. It was occupied by the French, and an insurrection broke out in Madrid, which led to a protracted guerrilla war. Under the impression of what is happening in the country of chaos, Goya took up the chisel and created a series of etchings “Disasters of war” (1810-1814), which tells about the horrors of the Napoleonic invasion.

With or without common sense? (Lo mismo). A man is preparing to cut off the head of a soldier with an axe.

The truth is dead (Murió la Verdad). The final engraving. It shows a woman lying bare-chested, an allegory of Spain’s Truth, or Spanish Constitution, surrounded by men praying in sorrow. Justice (right) hides in the Shadows.
Nothing can be done (Y no hay remedy). Execution of prisoners. Reminds me of the Third of may 1808 in Madrid
Portraits Of Goya
A significant place in the work of the master took the portrait. And here the scale of Goya’s creative evolution is striking, from ceremonial portraits in the spirit of the traditions of the XVIII century (for example, the portrait of the Marchioness of Pontejos, CA. 1787; Washington, national gallery) to works that anticipate the most daring achievements of the realistic portrait of the XIX century. Goya-portraitist is characterized by an unusually bright sense of personality-the ability to reproduce with exciting force the real appearance of a person and the individual characteristics of his mental makeup, which always has some kind of increased tension.

Francisco Goya had no immediate followers, but his original achievements deeply impressed French artists of the late nineteenth century – for example, Eugene Delacroix, who was one of his great admirers. Goya’s works continue to be admired by expressionists and Surrealists of the XX and XXI centuries.

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