Learn about Francisco Goya in Art History, View His Art and Famous Paintings
"Ferdinand VII in his Robes of State”,
Francisco Goya, 1814
Francisco Goya, 1746-1828, another of Spain’s famous artists in art history was a
contemporary of Jacques Louis David. He was a technically a
realist in his art because he painted the way things are. He was not an
In one of Goya’s most famous paintings (an etching)"The
Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters", the artwork appears to be a fantasy,
giving reason to call Goya a romanticist. Goya's perception of reality
was that the philosopher's dream of reason had produced human monsters. The
monsters were men with no integrity, they were liars, cheaters, distorters of the
truth, all consumed
with avarice and greed. This is Goya’s objectivity without illusion that
classifies him a realist artist.
Goya saw the world for what it was, mostly violent. He didn't agree with what he
and he realized he couldn't change it. Realism is not a comment on the way Goya
applies paint to canvas.
Many of Francisco Goya's art prints and paintings were political in
"Ridiculous Folly", 1813-1820, he depicts man's
inability to come to a point of reason.
A contemporary philosopher is out on the end of a rotten branch teaching a
group of deaf, dumb and blind students about current wisdoms, totally unaware he
will be soon falling
into the abyss.
In 1800 Goya was working in the court of Spain, surrounded by men whom to his
own thinking were human
monsters. They were stupid, violent, corrupt, greedy men lacking in integrity.
During this time he was commissioned to paint another of his famous paintings in art history, "The Family of Charles IV", a group of pompous
arrogant people. Francisco Goya saw the family Royal Family as abnormal, and he
The King is loaded down with medals and ribbons sporting a vacuous look on
All are dressed in their finest ribbons and silks. The homely Queen stands center
holding the hand of her son with an arm around her daughter. Both children are not
direct lineage of the
King. They are children of the Queen through a relationship with Manual Godoy. The
Queen looks a
little stiff and standoffish in motherly contact with her children suggesting the
were rare. The children do not have child-like faces, but a demeanor that looks
rather hard more like their
counterpart parents. Ferdinand, the heir to the throne, stands stupidly front
left decked in his best, and behind him is the ugly witch-like face of the King's
the deep background left is a shadowy portrait of Goya himself, painting the very
picture we are looking at. Unbelievably the Royal Family accepted this picture
apparently not seeing the
Francisco Goya witnessed the Napoleonic invasions of Spain between 1808 and
1814 the Inquisition return under Ferdinand VII. Goya’s
art recorded the atrocities of war and mans inhumanity to man. His etching
"And Nothing Can Be Done about It" 1810-20, is a man
slumping at the stake, having been shot. Others having met the same fate are
lying dead on the ground. Goya’s art is about representing the evil atrocities of
the day. He never attempts to suggest a
Francisco Goya's art, the Caprichos prints, is a comment on the dark side of
humanity, and in some cases the
prints become representations of the damnation of humanity. This is expressed in
Devouring His Sons", an artful comment on the romantic dreams of men and their
passions dominating the time in which he lived. Goya felt man totally
reality of their passions and eventually would be destroyed by them.
In Goya's portrait Marquesa de La Solana", 1791-
95, he painted a simplified unidealized art portrait.
He chose simplification over detail when he rendered the dress and
shawl, thereby calling attention to character in the face. The contrast of the
and grays against the pink of the face and the ribbon on the head,
bring a heightened life to the portrait.
Francisco Goya searched for a way to bring both immediacy and impact of an
action directly to the viewer, as he himself saw it and confronted it. The human
doesn't see all detail at once as a camera does. The human eye captures the
essence of things in immediacy and is later examined for detail. In this vein Goya
painted two more famous paintings "Nude Maja", and
"Clothed Maja" in 1797-98, as experimentations
immediacy of the moment. His effort was bringing the image and his emotional
"The Toreador Jose Romero", is a portrait of a
bullfighter’s character. Where a lesser artist would have painted the bullfighter
typical bullfighting stance, Francisco Goya attempted to bring out his personality with
paint qualities. Goya did not by paint detail in his art, but painted what his eye
saw in an instant of time.
One of Goya's most famous paintings in art history is "The Executions of May 3,1808", painted in
1814. The citizens of Madrid had rioted and were lined up the next day in front of
French firing squad. The "Executions" lives up to Francisco Goya's system for
Immediacy. He states, "only forms, forms that are lighted and forms that are not,
planes that are
near and planes that are far, projections and hollows". Goya’s art is not
interested in recording
all detail, just the sum effect of all detail in an instant. This painting
immediacy of the event and the defiance of those were being shot. Other famous
artists of realism are Honore’ Daumier, Gustave Courbet, and Corot.
To view the entire gallery of Francisco Goya paintings, click here.
Click on the graphics below to increase graphic sizes. At the same you time can also view an opportunity to purchase a poster or painting reproduction.