Born March 30, 1746 – Died April 16, 1828. Spanish painter applauded in art history as the transition personality between the Old Masters and modern art. Court painter to the Spanish Crown, Goya pursued personal projects in paint, drawings and etchings in which he chronicled national historical events and carefully articulated a critique of Spanish, and then European ideals, society, morals and religious institutions.
Last Updated September 1, 2021
Did Goya deliberately obfuscate political attitudes into his official paintings for the Royal family of Spain?
Since Goya expressed himself primarily in images, it is difficult to determine how he felt about the historical events he depicted in his paintings. That said, the many royal portraits he created while in service to Spain's reactionary royal family reveal subtle, yet sharp attacks aimed at his employers. Look, for instance, at his depiction of Charles III. The painting, completed in 1787 under the working title Charles III in Hunting Dress, may seem like an ordinary portrait, were it not for the awkward posture and timid expression with which Goya chose to represent his subject, a proponent of Enlightened absolutism who caved under pressure from the Catholic Church.
The idea that Goya had mocked a monarch with whom biographers insist he was on good terms may seem far-fetched until you compare his rendition of Charles with that of Anton Raphael Mengs, which depicts the same king standing tall and confident in shining ceremonial armor.
"Francisco Goya: how a Spanish painter fooled kings and queens" - article at Big Think
Goya art gift comes to Frick Collection – Art Newspaper
When Goya's portrait of Wellington was stolen and held for ransom – UK Express
The ransom letters at the heart of one of the 20th century’s most notorious art thefts have been released by the National Gallery before the 60th anniversary of the crime.
Received after the theft of Francisco de Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington on August 21, 1961, the letters outline the thieves’ desire for the state’s money to be spent on caring for the elderly rather than buying art.
One demand was that pensioners be given free television licences. One of the letters released today states: “This act is an attempt to pick the pockets of those who love art more than charity...
"Embarrassing climbdown" for Prado museum over attribution of The Colossus
The painting in question: Coloso, aka The Giant, or, The Colossus
Goya at 175 and the link to Fuendetodos, Spain.
Goya has a profound human, cultural and social pull because of the circumstances in which he created his works and because of his own capacity to reach people all over the world. We want to use that to empower the towns and villages in the Belchite region.
Story at UK Guardian
APRIL 4, 2021
Police seize fake artworks: Goya, Modigliani, and El Greco
Story at Hypebeast
"In 1776, Young Francisco Goya Set Out to Make Copies of Diego Velázquez’s Work—and It Etched Itself Into His Style Forever" - Artnet
New Goya bio: Portrait of the Artist
By Janis A. Tomlinson
Hardcover 448 pages
Princeton University Press - published September 15, 2020
Review at Wall Street Journal - Nightmare
"...Goya was born in Fuendetodos, Spain, in 1746. Ms. Tomlinson relates the spurious, earthy legend of his artistic discovery: “One day as the fifteen-year-old Goya was carrying a sack of wheat to the nearby mill, he stopped to rest and hummed softly as he drew on a wall with charcoal the figure of a pig. Fate intervened as an aged monk was passing by; astounded by the young man’s talent, he soon arranged to take Goya to the capital of the province of Aragón, Zaragoza, where he placed the youth in the studio of the town’s leading painter, José Luzán Martínez.” In fact, Goya was in Zaragoza within months of his birth; his father and brother were gilders, exposing him to the apprentice system; he began with Luzán at 13."
Another review at The Times
"...He may have been the ultimate depicter of the dark human unconscious — all those witches, giants, flying creatures, skeletal crones and monstrous humans mutilating and mauling one another — but he never stated what his pictures actually meant. He did, however, make the claim: “My work is very simple. My art reveals idealism and truth.” A shifty statement given there is very little that is simple about his pictures."
Another review at the New Yorker
"...Tomlinson addresses, with refreshing clarity, a chronic question of just how independent, not to say subversive, Goya was of the powers that employed him. She debunks a common oversimplification of Goya as a committed post-Enlightenment liberal. He was more complicated than that, and ineluctably strange. Uncanniness had to be part of his magnetism. There’s often something haunted or haunting in his portraits and in some of his religious and allegorical commissions, though not in the antic cartoons of Spanish life that were destined for tapestries, an irksome duty of his early career. It’s as if he always had something up his sleeve."
"Why Francisco de Goya’s Prints Are a Safe Bet for Cautious Collectors"
September 10, 2020: article at Artsy.net
March 1 to March 31 - ART - Francisco Goya: The Caprichos Etchings and Aquatints
The Hyde Collection Art Museum, Glens Falls, NY
The 440 image "Treasure Trove" of Goya drawings
"The great achievement of this show is in the monumental effort of assembling so many of Goya’s drawings in one space; but almost inevitably with so much on display it becomes easy to lose the thread. In certain respects this is all to the good: in keeping with Goya’s tendency to something like graphomania, the most revelatory moments come courtesy of the chance to see whole series in their original sequence."
Goya: "Only My Strength of Will Remains"
Story at Apollo Magazine web site
Theatrical play The Deaf Man's House: A Capriccio on Goya
Theatre presentation about an elderly Goya in Bordeaux, his life told in flashback via Leocadia Weiss (who lived with Goya, along with her daughter Rosario, until his death). The play is a collaboration between Masakini Theatre Company and The Odin Teatret.
Article at MSN News
19th Duke of Alba's art collection includes Goya and Velazquez
Nov 27, 2019: Story at International Business Times
Queen Letizia of Spain opens new exhibition of Goya at Prado
"Queen Letizia presided over the opening ceremony of the exhibition, which offers a chronological tour of Goya’s work and includes several of his drawings."
Nov 20, 2019: Article at Royal Central
Goya and the Prado bicentennial
Article at elpais makes the point that when the Prado opened 200 hundred years ago, Goya was considered the most important Spanish artist, and in a way, that is still true in the 21st century.
Article (in Spanish) at elpais
"...Miguel Falomir, director of the Prado, says: “They usually ask me about the convenience of exhibiting contemporary art in these rooms. But I think there is nothing more contemporary than Goya's work on paper. There is no current artist who has denounced our nightmares with that rigor and success. ”
The Dark Originality of Goya – The Spanish artist’s rarely exhibited drawings document a society torn by war.
Review of the new Prado exhibit and catalog of Goya drawings.
Nov. 8, 2019. Article at Wall Street Journal
The Black Paintings "decoded"
Oct 31, 2019: Article at Mutual Art that makes a survey of the painting group called 'the Black Paintings' (Goya himself did not refer to them with that title) and discusses Goya's artwork from both an early career perspective with a contrast to his later work.
"Goya’s paintings are always defined by action. At one point, this was a social impulse. Later, it is the active opposite. And so the Black Paintings are not just representations of ‘lack.’ They are the willed purpose of non-being, the archetypal harbingers of the opposite of life..."
Movie being made of the theft of Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington in 1961
Story at UK Daily Mail
The painting was eventually recovered in 1965.
See more about this at Anniversary of Duke Wellington Theft
Goya and el Greco in Dallas
Exhibit "El Greco, Goya, and a Taste for Spain: Highlights from The Bowes Museum" is on view at the Meadows museum through January 12, 2019.
Review of exhibit at Dallas News
The chemistry of art
The scientist Geeta Govindarajoo discusses the chemical basis of art materials and how this creates a profile of a piece of artwork that can be used to peg it to a particular art period.
“One of the most common ways to detect art forgery is to determine whether the paint used is from the same location and time period as the artist. Art from the 16th or 18th century, for instance, like paintings by Michelangelo or Goya, would have contained lead and other elements you wouldn’t find in paints used today. Another technique is the use of ultraviolet light that can detect antique varnish. So, what Penrenyi did was he used Q-tips to clean off antique varnish from old paintings, mixed the varnish that he squeezed off of the Q-tips with new varnish and used it over his paintings. Thus, the forgeries became undetectable to investigators,” Govindarajoo said. “I was fascinated by the amount of chemistry involved, and rather than just talk about it, I would rather students watch the science in action.”
Story at tapinto.net
Related: Goya and Authentication
Attempting to take selfie, woman damages Francisco Goya etching from the Los Caprichos (and Salvador Dali's version of the Goya piece)
Story at CNN News
Goya and Rembrandt etchings going up on auction
Sept 3, 2019: Images of the pieces and estimates of bids at Live Auctioneers
Oil paint deterioration of works by O'Keefe, Van Gogh, and Goya
Scientific examination of the process of oil paint aging - article at Eurekalert
Goya's Interior of a Prison part of Dallas exhibit Taste for Spain: Highlights from The Bowes Museum at the Meadows Museum
Article at Teesdale Mercury
Dallas TX Museum website here
Goya's Third of May 1808 painting banned on Chinese internet
August 7, 2019: Story at CNN on Communist government efforts to censor Tiananmen Square images and how unrelated art is considered "too similar."
The impact of Goya's Third of May
May 2019: Story at artsy.net titled "How Goya’s “Third of May” Forever Changed the Way We Look at War"
The bleak Black Paintings
January 2019: Writer Stephen Phelan contemplates Goya's The Black Paintings and discusses the Prado's bicentenniel year.
Artice at UK Guardian
News May 29, 2018
"From this headlong seizure of life we should not expect a calm and refined art, nor a reflective one. Yet Goya was more than a Nietzschean egoist riding roughshod over the world to assert his supermanhood. He was receptive to all shades of feeling, and it was his extreme sensitivity as well as his muscular temerity that actuated his assaults on the outrageous society of Spain." From Thomas Craven's essay on Goya from MEN OF ART (1931).
"...Loneliness has its limits, for Goya was not a prophet but a painter. If he had not been a painter his attitude to life would have found expression only in preaching or suicide." From Andre Malroux's essay in SATURN: AN ESSAY ON GOYA (1957).
"Goya is always a great artist, often a frightening one...light and shade play upon atrocious horrors." From Charles Baudelaire's essay on Goya from CURIOSITES ESTRANGERS (1842).
"[An] extraordinary mingling of hatred and compassion, despair and sardonic humour, realism and fantasy." From the foreword by Aldous Huxley to THE COMPLETE ETCHINGS OF GOYA (1962).
"His analysis in paint, chalk and ink of mass disaster and human frailty pointed to someone obsessed with the chaos of existence..." From the book on Goya by Sarah Symmons (1998).
"I cannot forgive you for admiring Goya...I find nothing in the least pleasing about his paintings or his etchings..." From a letter to (spanish) Duchess Colonna from the French writer Prosper Merimee (1869).