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Francisco Goya


Third of May, 1808
The Third of May, 1808

Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes is one of the most famous romantic painters. Born in the town of Fuendetodos, near Sargasso, on March 30, 1746 to a middle-class family, Goya even at young age had a will of his own. He was not just a painter, but an adventurous young man.  At the age of fourteen, he became an apprentice of Jose Luzan, although, as Goya himself admitted, his true masters were, besides nature, Velazquez and Rembrandt.  At twenty-four, he managed to make his way to Italy. He remained there for about a year. In 1773 he returned to Spain, where he eventually became a principal designer to the royal tapestry works.  His cartoon tapestries were unique, depicting open-air amusements attended by Madrid's upper class.  After his appointment as a court painter to Charles III, Goya became famous for his strikingly unique portraits of his royal and upper class subjects.  Goya, however, did not idealize the upper class, but, indeed, held a cynical view of it.  His sympathy with liberal reform movements may have prompted his unflattering depictions of the corrupt and reactionary Spanish royal family, which can be seen in his portrait of The Family of Charles IV.

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Dreams of Reason
The Dreams of Reason . . .
In 1792, Goya became seriously ill.  His illness left him deaf and contributed to the pessimistic mood of his later works.  After Napoleon's invasion of Spain in 1808, Goya painted two large canvases representing the tragic events of the war.  In his passionate The Third of May, 1808, (completed in 1814), the horror and cruelty of war are shown through the image of the French firing squad executing the Spanish revolutionaries.  In Los Caprichos, Goya has offered his haunting interpretation of bestiality in human beings.  Towards the end of his life, Goya exiled himself to Bordeaux, where he lived from 1824 until his death on April 16, 1828.


Clark, Kenneth.  The Romantic Rebellion.  New York, NY: Harper & Row Publishers, 1990.

Nochlin, Linda.  Realism and Tradition in Art.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1991.



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