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Francisco de Goya – painter to the King and to the People

Francisco de Goya – painter to the King and to the People. Self portrait, 1815

Francisco de Goya – painter to the King and to the People. Self portrait, 1815

Francisco de Goya was a Spanish painter and printmaker, one of the first and the most prominent visual artists of the Romantic period. As a young man Francisco worked as a bullfighter. But painting was his passion. After studying art in Rome, Goya returned to Spain and worked as a tapestry designer. Soon he began painting portraits of wealthy Spaniards. By 1786 Goya had become a “painter to the king of Spain.” Goya also painted images of the poor and hardworking people of Spain.
Francisco de Paula Jose de Goya y Lucientes was born on March 30, 1746 in Fuendetodos near Saragossa.

In 1773 Goya met his longtime friend, Francisco Bayeu, in Madrid. Goya married his sister Josephine. She gave birth to five children, but only Javier grew – other children died in infancy.
The artist had countless love affairs. He had so many women and sometimes he didn’t even remember the name of his mistress.
But Duchess of Alba became the most desirable woman in the life of the artist and the most fatal muse in his destiny. Their passionate love affair lasted for seven years. Goya forgot about other women, and only one – the most beautiful woman in Spain at that time – Caetano Maria del Pilar, Duchess of Alba – remained his muse who inspired the artist to create great masterpieces.
His paintings show people as they looked after a life of hard work. Goya showed their bent backs and their worn clothes.
The king and the people of the royal court thought he should paint only famous people and beautiful things.
His etchings of the disasters of war, witches, and monsters were the reactions of a sensitive man by the events of his time.
He went deaf at 60, after which his work becomes steadily more melancholic.
Francisco de Goya died of a stroke on April 16, 1828, in Bordeaux.

Movies about Goya
– The Naked Maja, 1958, US – Italy – France production. Directed by Henry Koster; as Goya – Anthony Franchoza.
– Goya or the Hard Way to Enlightenment, 1971, USSR – GDR – Bulgaria – Yugoslavia production. Based on the novel by Lion Feuchtwanger. Directed by Konrad Wolf; as Goya – Donatas Banionis.
– Goya en Burdeos, 1999, made in Italy – Spain. Directed by Carlos Saura; as Goya – Francisco Rabal.
– Volaverunt, 1999, France – Spain production. Directed by Bigas Luna; as Goya – Jorge Perugorría.
– Goya’s Ghosts, 2006, Spain – US production. Directed by Milos Forman; as Goya – Stellan Skarsgård.
– Mortdecai, 2015. This film is about stolen Goya’s picture.

Francisco de Goya – painter to the King and to the People