Neoclassicism and Romanticism


(Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map)






Francisco de Goya

"Life and Work"





Early Years (1746-1773)


Move to Madrid (1774-1783)


Artist to Nobility (1783-1791)


Crisis and a New Start (1792-1798)


The Sleep of Reason (1797-1799)




The Height of Fame (1799-1807)


Times of War (1808-1818)




The "Black Paintings" (1819-1823)




Exile in France (1824-1828)









The Height of Fame




Second Austrian War between England and several other European states against France.
1799 Goya appointed First Court Painter. He paints portraits of the queen and of the king, as well as equestrian portraits of them both.
1800 Portrait of the Countess of Chinchon, after which Goya worked on sketches for his portrait of The Family of Charles IV, which he executed on a large canvas from July on wards. Goya buys a house in Madrid.
1800 Child labor is prohibited in many English factories.
1801 In July, the royal family portrait is completed. Manuel Godoy becomes commander in chief of the Spanish armies: Portrait of Manuel Godoy.
1802 Goya mainly paints portraits of the aristocracy and middle classes.
1803 Acquires a second house in Madrid.
1804 Napoleon I has himself crowned Emperor of France; the Code Civil, the basis for democratic legislation, is introduced.
Death of Emmanuel Kant.
1805 Marriage of Goya's son Javier.
1806 Birth of Goya's grandson Mariano.

Francisco de Goya
Dona Isabel de Porcel

before 1805
Oil on canvas, 82 x 55 cm
National Gallery, London

Goya's appointment as First Court Painter in 1799 was the apogee of a long and slow rise that had begun 25 years previously with his post as tapestry designer. Clearly, his Caprichos, despite their social criticism, had not damaged his reputation at court, for in 1800 he received a prestigious commission to paint a life-size portrait of the royal family. As no artist before him, he was brave enough to portray the members of the ruling dynasty in all their banality and ugliness -so realistically that even today we have to see his portrayal of the royal family as an act of sheer audacity. What is all the more amazing is that royal patrons gave it their enthusiastic approval. Goya's ability to portray the unique features of an individual through the medium of paint was now reaching its peak, and for several years he dedicated himself almost exclusively to portrait painting. He also used the wedding of his son Javier as a reason for painting the members of his own family, and for the first time.


Goya as First Court Painter

Goya had climbed up the official ladder step by step during his career: 1780, member of the Academy; 1786, painter to the king; 1789, Court Painter; and now, in 1799, he was at last Primer Pintor de Camara, First Court Painter. As First Court Painter he had an annual income of 50,000 reales, and a supplement to maintain a coach. For every portrait and every sketch he painted for the king, he was paid extra. Goya, who was always very good at managing his finances, invested his money in property and shares. Nevertheless, he did not allow his artistic freedom and his uncompromisingly sharp gift of observation to be bought off.
His overall relationship with the monarchs was not free of contradictions. He observed the intrigues and affairs at court without illusion and did not hesitate to criticize these relationships in his Caprichos. Many aspects, such as the liaison of Queen Maria Luisa with Manuel Godoy, were open secrets. In the intrigue-ridden gossip of the court, Goya behaved with tact and loyalty. He gladly responded to marks of favor and prestigious commissions. No one would have expected idealized state portraits from him - clearly no one did. His portraits depict the powerful realistically and unflatteringly. Yet his patrons found the naturalism of their official portraits to be anything but impudent; in fact they were usually delighted by the vivid likeness he had been able to capture.
On the tenth anniversary of the reign of Maria Luisa and Charles IV, Goya painted individual portraits of the monarchs which were so popular he was immediately commissioned to paint a large picture of the whole royal family. Even the powerful Godoy not only had himself and his wife painted by Goya, but also ordered paintings from him for his palace and ultimately gave him a controversial commission: to paint the Nude Maja, the first nude female in Spain since Velazquez' Rukeby Venus.

Francisco de Goya
The Countess of Chinchon

Oil on canvas, 216 x 144 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

The portrait of the 21-year-old countess in her simple white dress is one of the most famous and sensitive portraits by Goya.
The ears of corn in the countess'hair are an indication that she is pregnant.
She had been married against her will to the powerful statesman Manuel Godoy, who had also remained the queen's favorite.


Francisco de Goya
Manuel Godoy, Duke of Alcudia, 'Prince of the Peace'

Oil on canvas, 180 x 267 cm
Museo de la Real Academia de San Fernando, Madrid

Self-righteous, blase, and slightly bloated is the impression we have of the most powerful man in Spain, in his field marshal's uniform.
First the queen's equerry, later her lover, Godoy was hated by the people and known for his numerous affairs;
even today he is one of the most disputed figures of his times.




Portrait of the Royal Family



The baker on the corner and his wife, after they won the lottery!

Theophile Gautier on Goya's The Family of Charles IV


Francisco de Goya
Charles IV and his Family

c. 1800
Oil on canvas, 280 x 336 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid


Did Goya want to caricature the king and his family? To criticize them? To this day there are questions about the over three-meter (11-feet)-wide painting of The Family of Charles IV. In May 1800,Goya traveled out to the royal summer palace at Aranjuez to begin work on this major commission by painting several portrait studies. The queen would have preferred to have done without the boring sittings, but when she saw the oil sketches, she was thrilled. Goya first painted each member of the family individually, on canvas prepared in red. He only sketched the clothing, concentrating completely on the expressions and facial features. The studies of the six-year-old Infante Francisco de Paula are a wonderful example of animation in a portrait study.


Francisco de Goya
Portrait Study of the Infante Francisco de Paula


Las Meninas

 The older members of the family appear more distant, though they are by no means portrayed as excessively ugly. Goya represents them unassumingly-as people, not better looking, more reflective, or more important than anyone else. They do not have the dignified, regal authority that usually emanates from portraits of a royal house. Goya's attention to the sparkling medals, the splendor of the jewelry and the clothes clearly underlines this point. The composition of the family portrait was planned very precisely. The task was difficult enough: thirteen standing individuals, but grouped in such a manner that the composition produced a well-balanced but not dull arrangement. At the same time, it was necessary to depict the individual royal personages according to their rank. In the center, clearly lit, stands the 48-year-old queen in her sumptuous and fashionable Empire-style dress, holding her youngest children with maternal solicitude. Slightly in front of the queen stands the king. Counterbalancing him, the heir to the throne. Prince Ferdinand, stands to the left, in a blue coat. As his future bride had yet to be chosen, the young woman at his side, dressed exactly like the queen, is turning her face away, as if by chance. On the right-hand side of the painting, almost hidden behind the king, we see his brother, Don Antonio Pascual, and the Infanta Dona Carlotta Joaquina, and in front of them, the Prince of Parma and his young wife, her baby son in her arms. In the semi-darkness to the left, we see the artist himself with his large canvas. His head is at the same level as those of the royal family - he is not representing himself as a subject and courtier here, but as an independent, sober observer and organizer of the event. At the same time, this is a reference to the foreground of Velazquez' Las Meninas, where the painter places himself to the far left (opposite). This most famous of Spanish group paintings shows the little Infanta Marguerita surrounded by her maids of honor in a room in the Alcazar fortress filled with paintings. As in Velazquez' painting, Goya's court group also seems to be looking at themselves in a mirror while the artist paints them.




Francisco de Goya
Portrait of Queen Maria Luisa
Oil on canvas 210x130 cm Madrid, Palacio Real

The queen, who was known for her vanity, is shown as a woman elegantly dressed, wearing a black lace mantilla, high comb, and fan. A dress like this, which cost thousands of reales, was the last word in fashion and would have been worn by the women of the higher aristocracy as well as (in simpler versions) by the prostitutes on the streets of Madrid. The similarity with the Portrait of the Duchess of Alba is plain-a comparison that was to the queen's disadvantage



Francisco de Goya
Portrait of Queen Maria Luisa



Francisco de Goya
Portrait of Queen Maria Luisa



Francisco de Goya
Portrait of Queen Maria Luisa



Francisco de Goya
La Infanta Maria Isabel



Francisco de Goya
El infante Don Carlos Marķa Isidro



Francisco de Goya
La infanta Dona Marķa Josefa



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