Retrato de la familia Carlos IV

The Family of CHarles IV

The Family of Charles IV
Retrato de la familia Carlos IV

1798 Oil on canvas cloth
110 inches x 132 inches
280 cm x 336 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid Spain

The French novelist Theòphile Gautier said of this painting: "It looks as if the corner baker and his wife after they have won the lottery."

"Goya's true-to-life portrait probably shocked no one; even the Queen on occasion had made light of her ugliness, perhaps expecting to be contradicted. The royal couple expressed neither displeasure nor enthusiasm over the work. And although Goya never painted for the King and Queen again, it was apparently not because they were dissatisfied. In any case, Goya had gained fame at the court and his interests now turned more to fulfilling his own artistic needs. In 1802 the Duchess of Albe died, symbolically closing the period in Goya's life when he painted for the pleasure of the rich and powerful in Madrid." From Richard Schickel's book The World of Goya, published by Time-Life in 1968, page 74.

To read about Goya's use of mirrors in regards to this painting, go here.


Special section on The Black Paintings


Goya: His Life & Works in 500 Images: An illustrated account of the artist, his life and context, with a gallery of 300 paintings and drawings – 256 pages, Lorenz Books, 2015 - Amazon


Goya Ephemera

"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).



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