Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (Francisco de Goya)

Dates1746 - 1828
DiedBordeaux, France

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes welcomed and received official honors and worldly success with enthusiasm. At the same time he left a ruthlessly penetrating record of his patrons and private expressions of introspection, moral objectivity, and caustic commentary on his times. By the 1780s Goya was Spain's leading painter, specializing in religious pictures and portraits. He acknowledged three masters: the elegant, fluid Diego Velázquez, his predecessor as court painter to the Spanish royal family; the truthful, penetrating Rembrandt van Rijn; and, above all, nature.

A 1792 illness left Goya deaf and mentally broken. He turned inward and began painting dark, disturbing, private works. His etchings Los Caprichos expressed his distaste for the corrupt, fanatical establishment, particularly the Church, for whom he worked; the etchings went on sale in 1799, the year he became principal painter to the Spanish king.

During the Napoleonic wars, Goya recorded his reactions to the occupying French army's atrocities in hisDisasters of War etchings and a painting,The Third of May 1808, whose immediate equivalence of paint, flesh, and blood profoundly influenced Édouard Manet.By 1814, the repressive Spanish monarchy was restored and Goya resumed painting the royals, whom he portrayed with at times unflattering frankness. He died in voluntary exile in France.