Friday, July 12, 2013

Goya, Francisco de

Charles IV of Spain and His Family
oil on canvas
280 × 336 cm    
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain

Charles IV of Spain and His Family features life sized depictions of Charles IV of Spain and his family, ostentatiously dressed in fine costume and jewelry. The painting was modeled after Velazquez's Las Meninas when setting the royal subjects in a naturalistic and plausible setting.
The royal family is apparently paying a visit to the artist's studio, while Goya can be seen to the left looking outwards towards the viewer.

Goya, Francisco de (1746 - 1828) was born in a village in northern Spain. He was a consummately romantic court painter to the Spanish Crown whose paintings reflected contemporary historical upheavals and influenced important 19th and 20th century painters. The subversive and imaginative element in his art, as well as his bold handling of paint, provided a model for the work of later generations of artists, notably Manet, Picasso. He was regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns, but his genius was slow in maturing and he was well into his thirties before he began producing work that set him apart from his contemporaries.

For the bold technique of his paintings, the haunting satire of his etchings, and his belief that the artist's vision is more important than tradition, Goya is often called "the first of the moderns." He is known for his scenes of violence, especially those prompted by the French invasion of Spain, and his uncompromising portrayal of his times marked the beginning of 19th century realism.

Serious illness in 1792 left Goya permanently deaf. Isolated from others by his deafness, he became increasingly occupied with the fantasies and inventions of his imagination and with critical and satirical observations of mankind. He evolved a bold, free new style close to caricature. In 1824, after the failure of an attempt to restore liberal government in Spain, Goya went into voluntary exile in France. He settled in Bordeaux, continuing to work until his death there in 1828.

Goya completed some 500 oil paintings and murals, about 300 etchings and lithographs, and many hundreds of drawings. He was exceptionally versatile and his work expresses a very wide range of emotion. In his own day he was chiefly celebrated for his portraits, of which he painted more than 200; but his fame now rests equally on his other work. He had many children, but only one son survived to adulthood.