Goya y Lucientes, Francisco José de

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

Goya y Lucientes, Francisco José de

(fränthēs`kō hōsā` thā gō`yä ē lo͞othēān`tās), 1746–1828, Spanish painter and graphic artist. Goya is generally conceded to be the greatest painter of his era.

Early Life and Work

After studying in Zaragoza and Madrid and then in Rome, Goya returned c.1775 to Madrid and married Josefa Bayeu, sister of Francisco Bayeu, a prominent painter. Soon after his return he was employed to paint several series of tapestry designs for the royal manufactory of Santa Barbara, which focused attention on his talent. Depicting scenes of everyday life, they are painted with rococorococo
, style in architecture, especially in interiors and the decorative arts, which originated in France and was widely used in Europe in the 18th cent. The term may be derived from the French words rocaille and coquille
..... Click the link for more information.
 freedom, gaiety, and charm, enhanced by a certain earthy reality unusual in such cartoonscartoon
[Ital., cartone=paper], either of two types of drawings: in the fine arts, a preliminary sketch for a more complete work; in journalism, a humorous or satirical drawing.
..... Click the link for more information.
. In these early works he revealed the candor of observation that was later to make him the most graphic and savage of satirists.

Goya possessed a driving ambition throughout his life (the only masters he acknowledged were "Nature," Velázquez, and Rembrandt). His first important portrait commission, to paint Floridablanca, the prime minister, resulted in a painting intended to flatter and please an important sitter, heavy with technical display but less penetrating than the portraits he made of the rich and powerful thereafter. He became painter to the king, Charles III, in 1786, and court painter in 1789, after the accession of Charles IV and Maria Luisa. His royal portraits are painted with an extraordinary realism. Nevertheless, his portraits were acceptable and he was commissioned to repeat them.

Later Life and Mature Work

In 1793 Goya suffered a terrible illness, now thought to have been either labyrinthitis or lead poisoning, that was nearly fatal and left him deaf. This created for him an even greater isolation than was his by nature. After 1793 he began to create uncommissioned works, particularly small cabinet paintings. His portraits of the duchess of Alba, who enjoyed the painter's close friendship and love, are elegant and direct and not flattering. Almost all the notables of Madrid posed for him during those years. Two of his most celebrated paintings, Maja nude and Maja clothed (both: Prado), were painted c.1797–1805. Goya did his chief religious work in 1798, creating a monumental set of dramatic frescoes in the Church of San Antonio de la Florida, Madrid.

Graphic Works

It is in the etching and aquatint media that his profound disillusionment with humanity is most brutally revealed. In 1799 his Caprichos appeared, a series of etchings in the nature of grotesque social satire. They were followed (1810–13) by the terrible Desastres de la guerra [disasters of war], magnificent etchings suggested by the Napoleonic invasions of Spain. They constitute an indictment of human evil and an outrage at a world given over to war and corruption. Two frenzied paintings known as May 2 and May 3, 1808 (both: Prado) also record atrocities of war.

Goya executed two other series of etchings, the Tauromaquia [the bullfight] and the Disparates, the flowers of a tortured, nightmare vision. Throughout the Napoleonic period Goya retained favor under changing regimes. At the age of 70 he retired to his villa, where he is thought to have decorated his walls with a series of "Black Paintings" of macabre subjects, such as Saturn Devouring His Children, Witches' Sabbath, The Dog and The Three Fates (all: Prado). While these mysterious paintings have long been among his most celebrated works, some controversial recent scholarship has indicated that the paintings may be by Goya's son or grandson. Goya's last years, harried by further illness, were spent in voluntary exile in Bordeaux, where he began work in lithography that foreshadowed the style of the great 19th-century painters.


All phases of Goya's enormous and varied production can be appreciated fully only in Madrid. However, the artist's work is also represented in many European and American collections, notably in the Hispanic Society of America, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Frick Collection, all in New York City, and in the museums of Boston and Chicago.


See P. Gassier and J. Wilson, Goya: His Life and Work (with a catalogue raisonné, tr. 1971); P. Gassier, Francisco Goya: Drawings (tr. 1973); J. A. Tomlinson, Francisco Goya: The Tapestry Cartoons and Early Career at the Court of Madrid (1989); R. Hughes, Goya (2003).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Goya y Lucientes, Francisco Jose de


Born Mar. 30, 1746, near Saragossa; died Apr. 16, 1828, in Bordeaux. Spanish painter, etcher, and draftsman.

Goya was the son of a gilder. His mother was the daughter of an impoverished hidalgo. From 1760 he studied in Saragossa with J. Luzán y Martínez. About 1769 he went to Italy. In 1771, having received second prize from the Academy of Arts of Parma for a painting on a subject from ancient history, Goya returned to Saragossa, where he painted frescoes in the tradition of late Italian baroque (aisle of the Cathedral of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, 1771–72). About 1773 the artist settled in Madrid. At first he worked in the workshop of F. Bayeu. During 1776–80 and 1786–91 he executed more than 60 panels—designs (cartoons) for the royal tapestry factory. Color-saturated and spontaneously composed, they were scenes of everyday life and festive folk amusements (The Parasol, 1777, The Crockery Seller and The Market in Madrid, 1778, The Pelota Game, 1779, The Young Bull, 1780, The Injured Mason, 1786, and Blind Man’s Buff, 1791, all of which are in the Prado, Madrid). Drawing on the experience of mid-18th-century Venetian painters, particularly G. B. Tiepolo, Goya went against the traditions of showy, solemn baroque and cerebral classicism, which were still dominant in Spanish art and were taught by the Madrid Academy of Arts, and produced works imbued with a temperamental joy of life and democratic optimism. His attitudes were fostered by the atmosphere of naïve hopes engendered by the reforms of Charles III during the period of his enchantment with the ideas of enlightened absolutism.

From the beginning of the 1780’s, Goya also became well known as a portrait painter. At first he painted portraits in the grand style (The Count of Floridablanca, 1782–83, Urquijo Bank, Madrid), but later he adopted an intimate style that often embraced a lightly ironical attitude toward the model (The Family of the Duke of Osuna, 1787, the Prado, and The Marquesa de Pontejos, c. 1787, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). During this period Goya gradually switched to a subtly developed, subdued, yet rich range of color. His figures lost their sculptural quality, as if dissolving in a mist.

In 1780, Goya was elected to the Madrid Academy of Arts (from 1785 he was vice-director and from 1795, director of its school of painting). In 1786 he was appointed court painter and from 1799, chief painter to the king. The character of Goya’s art changed sharply from the beginning of the 1790’s, when Charles IV, frightened by the events of the Great French Revolution, began to pursue reactionary policies. In Goya’s works faith in life gave way to profound dissatisfaction that deepened to a sense of tragedy, and the festive resonance and refinement of light tones yielded to sharp clashes of light and dark, tensely monochromatic elements, enchantment with Tiepolo, and assimilation of the tradition of Velasquez, El Greco, and later, Rembrandt. Although he still created such works as the cupola painting in the chapel of the Church of San Antonio de la Florida in Madrid (1798), which glowed with silvery-ashen tones, Goya’s painting was increasingly dominated by a mobile, nocturnal darkness that swallowed up the figures, which either scarcely revealed themselves through the gloom or dispersed it briefly in bursts of tremulous radiance. Goya had a strong predilection for graphic art—the impetuosity of the pen draft, the scratching stroke of the needle in etching, and the effects of light and shade in the aquatint. His closeness to the Spanish adherents of the Enlightenment (G. M. de Jovellanos and M. J. Quintana) exacerbated his hostility to feudal and clerical Spain, and his art began to exhibit a fierce resistance to the reality of oppression. At this time (in the fall of 1792 and the winter of 1793) a critical illness resulted in Goya’s deafness.

From the 1790’s to the beginning of the 1800’s, Goya’s portrait painting attained exceptional heights of excellence. It reflected keenly the sense of man’s loneliness and vulnerability in an anxiety-ridden world (the portraits Señora Ber-mudez, Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, F. Bayeu, 1796, the Prado, and Señora Sabasa García, c. 1805, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) and a manly opposition— even defiance—of the status quo (La Tirana, 1799, Academy of Arts, Madrid, Dr. Peral, 1796, National Gallery, London, Ferdinand Guillemardet, 1798, the Louvre, Paris, Dona Isabel Cobos de Porcel, c. 1806, National Gallery, London). Goya’s chief qualities became an unprecedented directness in exposing the truth and an unequivocal revelation of the artist’s view of the world. One shudders to see the cruel de-humanization of the faces in Charles IV and His Family (1800, the Prado). The viewer feels the mysterious attractiveness of a woman in The Maja Clothed and The Maja Naked (both c. 1802, the Prado).

The programmatically incisive embodiment of Goya’s moods was his first extensive series of etchings, Los Caprichos (80 prints with commentaries by the artist, 1797–98, made public at the beginning of 1799), which fully reveals the hideousness of the moral, political, and spiritual bases of the Spanish old order in a grotesque, tragic manner. Los Caprichos was the creation of a very profound thinker and daring fighter and the highest artistic expression of the Enlightenment and the Great French Revolution. Moreover, like Goethe’s Faust, this masterpiece was a source of inspiration for future artists, beginning with the romantics. They were drawn to Goya by his incisive individuality, courageous energy, and understanding of the fundamental complexity of being, in the name of which he repudiated the abstractly “correct” and “rational.”

Goya was the first artist to oppose impersonal classical rationalism with passionate feelings, candid thoughts, and a daring flight of imagination. His paintings The Uprising of May 2, 1808, in Madrid and The Execution of the Defenders of Madrid (both c. 1814, the Prado) are permeated by unprec-edentedly concrete historicism, genuinely national energy, and the passion of personal experience. Above all, in contrast to the visually constructed historical pictures of romantic artists, both works overwhelm the viewer by the absolute truth of the conduct of all the characters and by a breadth of vision that makes it possible for the artist to be simultaneously a Spanish patriot appealing for struggle against the conquerors and a humanist protesting war as an act of inhumanity.

A distinctive philosophical and historical view of the people’s fate during a tragic period in Spain is reflected in the etchings The Disasters of War (82 prints, 1810–20, published in Madrid in 1863), which were executed mainly at the time of the wars of national liberation against the invasion by Napoleon’s forces and the first Spanish revolution (1808–14). The last prints in the series were created at the time of the restoration of Ferdinand VII and the cruel reaction.

During these years, which were exceedingly painful for him, Goya lived in solitude in a house outside Madrid (Quinta del Sordo, that is, the “house of the deaf man”), whose walls he decorated with oil paintings (1820–23, now in the Prado). These paintings embodied ideas reminiscent of Los Caprichos—the conflict between the past and the future, the insatiable nature of old age (Saturn), and the liberating energy of youth (Judith). Still more complex is the system of weird, grotesque images in the series of etchings Disparates (22 sheets, 1820–23, published in 1863 in Madrid under the title Proverbios).

However, even in Goya’s gloomiest visions, the oppressive darkness does not stop movement, which for him as well as for the revolutionary romantics was the most powerful manifestation of the development of life. Movement became a rhythmic leitmotif in The Burial of the Sardine (c. 1814, the Prado), the Taromachia etchings (1815, published in 1816 in Madrid), the altarpiece The Prayer for the Chalice (1819, the San Antonio Seminary in Madrid), and the famous TheBlacksmiths (1819, Frick Collection, New York). Darkness gave way to a new burst of radiant colors in the pictures The Water Carrier (1810, Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest) and Majas on a Balcony (c. 1816, Metropolitan Museum, New York). Goya’s humaneness and wisdom found lofty expression in his self-portrait (1815, the Prado) and the portraits Don Tiburcio Pérez (1820. Metropolitan Museum) and Don José Pío de Molina (1828, collection of O. Reinhart. Winter-thur).

Goya spent the last four years of his life in France. In voluntary exile he painted the portraits of his émigré friends, mastered a then-new technique—lithography (the series The Bordeaux Bulls, 1826), and painted a picture imbued with optimism— The Milkmaid of Bordeaux (1827–1828, the Prado). At this time Goya’s influence on artistic culture began to spread throughout Europe.


Levina, I. M. Goya. Leningrad-Moscow, 1958.
Prokof’ev, V. N. “Caprichos” Goyi. Moscow. 1970.
Mayer, A. Francisco de Goya. Munich, 1923.
Klingender, F. D. Goya in the Democratic Tradition. London. 1948. Second edition, New York, 1968.
Sánchez Canton, F. J. Vida y obras de Goya. Madrid. 1951.
Holland, V. Goya: A Pictorial Biography. London, 1961.
Harris, T. Gova: Engravings and Lithographs, vols. 1–2. Oxford [1964].
Wyndham Lewis, D. B. The World of Goya.London, 1968.
Gudiol, J. Goya. London-New York. 1969.
Goya: Königliche Gemäldegalerie “Mauritshuis” [Katalog], [Hague. 1970.] (Bibliography).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.