The Story of Art: Francisco Goya

Goya finds himself as the next subject because I enjoy his work very much, and he represents the beginnings of a break in tradition for court painters.  Goya was familiar with El Grego and Velazquez, and his skill secured him a position in the Spanish court. His paintings revealed the "vanity and ugliness, greed and emptiness" of his subjects.  He produced etchings in a new style called Aquatina, and most striking about his prints is they were not illustrations of any known subject, either biblical, historical or genre. 

Goya: King Ferdinand VII of Spain, 1814.

"Most of them are fantastic visions witches and uncanny apparitions. Some are meant as accusations against the powers of stupidity and reaction, of human cruelty and oppression which Goya had witnessed in Spain, others seem just to give shape to the artist's nightmares." Gombrich. 

Goya: The Giant, Etching. 1820.

"The monster sits in the moonlit landscape like some evil incubus.  Was Goya thinking of the fate of his country, of its oppression by wars and human folly?  Or was he simply creating an image like a poem?  For this was the most outstanding effect of the break in tradition- that artists felt free to put their private visions on paper as hitherto only the poets had done." Gombrich. 

This particular moment in art history is significant in that now not only were artists allowed to create whatever they wished, (as they had before), but that their works could be poetic and emotive in a way they had previously not been. Goya's work serves to make clear a darkness and horror in man, a subject that so few painters paid such attention to. 

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