Francisco Goya : biography
Biography and creativity
Francisco Goya Lucientes was born in 1746 in a family of a middle class of Zaragoza, which moved to village Fuendetodos that very year. The village was on the south from the capital, it was 40 kilometers away from it. Family moved to Fuendetodos to wait while their house was under repair. Francisco’s father was a famous master of gilding. In 1760 the family went back to Zaragoza, where the boy was sent to the studio of painters Louisan and Martinez. In a few years, having got involved in a fight, Francisco Goya had to escape from Zaragoza. In 1766 Goya got to Madrid. That was the place he got acquainted with the works of the court painters, Francesco also developed his skills and even took part in contests of the Madrid Academy of Arts, hoping to be accepted for the academy of art of San-Fernando. However, his picture was denied and he made his way to Italy. He arrived in Rome, where he got acquainted with the paintings of the Italian masters. But, being quite an adventurous person, he got into trouble again. Actually he tried to sneak to a women convent in order to kidnap his beloved woman, but having got caught at the locus delicti, he had to leave Rome.
In 1771, having received the second award from the Parma Academy for his painting describing a scene from Ancient history, he went back to Zaragoza, where he started working at wall paintings in traditions of late Italian baroque.
Approximately in 1773 Goya settled down in Madrid at his friend’s place, he also worked in his friend’s studio. Francisco Bayeu was a painter who worked at the court of Karl IV and queen Maria Louise. Francisco, Goya’s friend, introduced him to his sister Josefa. Goya was very delighted with her and soon they had a love affair. In 1775 Goya had to marry her, Josefa had been pregnant for five months already by that time. Four months later Josefa gave birth to a boy, but unfortunately the child died soon. Josefa gave birth to four more children (some sources said that even more than four), but only one child survived, a boy, called Javier. Francisco Javier Pedro, who would become an artist. As soon meetings of aristocrats became open for Francisco Goya, he totally forgot about his wife. Goya made only a single portrait of her.
With the help of Bayeu, Goya got a contract from the Royal line manufacture, since 1776 till 1780, for creating 45 pictures for tapestry patterns, later he was given a permanent position there. Those works brought fame to Goya. In 1780 Goya was received at the court, where he started painting the portrait of the king and painting “Crucifixion”, which was made in academic style. Later Francisco Goya became a member of the Royal Academy (since 1785 he was the vice-director and since 1795 the director of its Arts department). In 1786 Goya was given a position of a court painter and after the death of Karl III, he became a court member of Karl IV, since 1799 the painter became the first artist of the court.
In 1791 Goya got acquainted with Duchess Alba, who became his lover and supporter. He began to make court to her. But in 1792-1793 Goya suffered from a disease, which caused deafness. While recovering, in 1792 Goya started working at his first big series of etching Caprichos (finished in 1799). That was a kind of satire on the political, social and religious systems. In 1798 Karl IV charged Goya with decorating the cupola of the king’s country church San-Antonio de la Florida.
In 1796 the husband of the duchess died and he made her way to Andalusia estate in order to mourn over the loss, taking Goya with her. He made her portraits many times, the two of them became famous: “La maja desnuda” of 1797 and “La maja vestida” of 1802. After the death of the duchess, Goya created “Majas on a Balcony” of 1816 (Metropolitan museum, New York). Duchess Alba died in 1802. He left by her will 3500 real yearly from her fortune to Goya’s son Javier Goya.
Javier Goya married a daughter of a rich merchant and started to live separately. So Goya was left absolutely alone. Those utterly hard years Goya spent in loneness in his country house Kinta del Sordo (House of the deaf). The artist painted the walls of the house since 1820 till 1823. Now the paintings are remained in Prado.
Later Goya got acquainted with Leocadia de Weiss, who was the wife of Isidro Weiss, a business owner. Leocadia divorced with her husband. She bore Goya a daughter, called Rosarita. Being afraid of persecution from the new Spanish government, Francisco Goya, together with Leocadia and little Rosarita, left for France in 1824. He spent the last four years of his life there. In his banishment he made portraits of his friends-emigrants and began to master a new (for those times) technique of lithography. Goya also made a series, describing bull fights “Bourdeaux bulls” of 1826 and a painting “Bordeaux milk-woman” (1827 – 1828). By that time the influence of Goya’s creativity started to influence on the whole European arts.
A crater of mercury was called in honor of Francisco Goya.
The nature of Goya’s painting changed suddenly in the beginning of the 1790s with the events of the Great French revolution. Positive emotions were replaced with deep dissatisfaction, holiday sonority changed to sharp contrast of dark and light colors. Goya’s liking for Tiepolo’s works changed to admiration of Velazquez’s, El Greco’s and later Rembrandt’s paintings.
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