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)









Artist to Nobility




At the Spanish Court



On September 21, 1789, Madrid embarked on a sumptuous festival. Streets and houses were decorated, and the aristocracy had triumphal arches and sets built in front of their palaces. For three days and nights, the people and the aristocracy celebrated the accession of Charles IV and his wife Maria Luisa.
Under Charles IV Goya was to achieve the highest honors. However, the new regime was to bring decline and chaos to Spain. Politics turned not on the well-being of the country, but on the changing moods of the king, for whom expediency was a principle of government. Little influence was felt in Spain from the turbulence of the French Revolution, during which the populace went to the barricades against their king.
Charles III, who had died during the previous autumn, had been an enlightened monarch who had tried to modernize his country. The Bourbon king had ascended the throne in 1759, when Goya was 13 years old. He had had street-lights and drains installed in the dirty, dark quarters of Madrid. The classical buildings he built still edify Madrid, even today. Science and art, trade and crafts all experienced an upsurge through his reforms.


Francisco de Goya
Charles III in Hunting Costume

Oil on canvas, 210 x 127 cm
Del Arco Collection, Madrid

Francisco de Goya
Portrait of Queen Maria Luisa
Oil on canvas
Madrid, Museo Lazaro Galdiano

During the festivities for the coronation, Goya painted Maria Luisa wearing a sumptuous dress and an exuberant feather hat in the French style. Contemporaries and historians do not give a favorable account of the queen: she was known for her vanity, her political intrigues, and for love affairs with young men.

At the time Spain was widely seen to be the most backward country in Europe, held back by the weight of unbending tradition and the jealously guarded power of the Church. Nevertheless, Spain still had an empire on which the sun never set, and its colonies were wealthy. Life at the Spanish court had been strictly regulated since the 16th century. Year in and year out, the royal family spent the winter at the city palace in Madrid; they moved in January to the hunting lodge at El Pardo, stayed till Easter at the Aranjuez residence, spent the summer at La Granja, and in autumn went to the enormous, dark monastery and palace complex of the Escorial, where the tombs of the Spanish kings were also to be found. As a tapestry designer, Goya had been one of the "royal painters" to Charles III. But his real court career started when Charles IV ascended the throne. The new royal couple were already ordering an official royal portrait from him as preparations were being made for the coronation. In the same year, 1789, Goya rose to be Pintor de Camara, Royal Court Painter. Ten years later he was to become the king's First Court Painter.

Francisco de Goya
Portrait of Charles IV
Oil on canvas
220 x 140 cm
Madrid, Academia de Historia

Charles IV was 40 years old when he ascended the Spanish throne in 1789. He was known as a passionate huntsman, strong and healthy -and not very intelligent. He left the affairs of state mainly to his lively wife Maria Luisa, who was conscious of their power.
In the area of the fine arts, his principal contribution was the maintenance and documentation of the royal collections. However, he also supported many painters through the appointment of court painters, whose main task was to decorate his palaces and paint portraits. The official portrait of Charles IV was executed on the occasion of his coronation. Goya painted several very similar portraits of the king with the help of assistants.

Francisco de Goya
Portrait of Charles IV


Francisco de Goya
Portrait of Charles IV



Francisco de Goya
Portrait of Charles IV



Francisco de Goya
Portrait of Charles IV


Paintings  by Francisco de Goya

1783 - 1791


Francisco de Goya
Portrait of the Wife of Juan Agustín Cean Bermudez

c. 1785
Oil on canvas, 121 x 84,5 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest


Francisco de Goya
Marqueza Pontejos

c. 1786
Oil on canvas, 212 x 126 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington


Francisco de Goya
The Fall (La Caída)

Oil on canvas, 169 x 100 cm
Private collection


Francisco de Goya

Oil on canvas, 41x 26 cm
National Gallery, London


Francisco de Goya
Blind Man's Buff

Oil on canvas, 269 x 350 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

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