Francisco Goya Essay Research Paper Withthe coronation

Francisco Goya Essay, Research Paper


the coronation of the two Catholic rulers, Ferdinand and Isabella in 1479, the

country of Spain slowly began to unite. Piece by piece, the King and Queen

recaptured once lost lands and built their empire. In 1516 Carlos V rose to

power, establishing the Hapsburg reign. The Hapsburg ruled for nearly two

hundred years until the death of Charles II. With him died a Golden Age for

Spain that the Catholic rulers established. Spain fell into a time of mass

poverty, disorganization, and lackadaisical rule. One force that was structured

in Spain was the church. Catholicism was not only a religion in Spain but also a

significant influence in society. At the time, however, it did little to improve

the conditions. Classes were heavily lopsided. The middle class was almost

non-existent, and the upper class monopolized agricultural land. The provinces

of Aragon, La Mancha, and Castile were where most of the poverty and depression

was concentrated. Costal cities like Cadiz and Madrid were where prosperity

existed. In the midst of commencing political and aristocratic turmoil, was born

one of the most talented and patriotically concerned artists Spain has ever

seen. On March 30, 1745 in the rural town of Fuendetodos, Francisco Jose de Goya

y Lucientes was born. He was born poor and at the fall of the Hapsburg Monarchy.

Goya?s father was the son of a notary, or a small time lawyer, and his mother

Dona Gracia Lucientes, was a hidalgo. Hidalgos were the lowest order in Spanish

nobility. Goya Pg2 was still a boy when he and his family moved to the city of

Saragossa. Saragossa contained more life than the rural city of Fuendetodos.

Here he began school, where he barely learned to read and write. After attending

elementary school, Francisco went to a Jesuit school or ?college?. It was

here where the foundation of his career was laid. It was recommended that he

develop his natural skills in drawing. A local master painter, named Jose Luzan

y Martinez, took Goya under his wing. Martinez was a typical third rank painter

of that time, but was well respected in the city. Goya began learning to paint

the human figure by copying sculptures and molds. The drawing of naked models

was forbidden at that time. By this point Goya showed himself as a fine copyist,

and able to adapt quickly to other peoples? styles. Goya?s first commission

was the painting of the church doors at Fuendentodos. This project confirmed his

profession. When he saw the painting some 50 years later he exclaimed, ?

Don?t say I painted those!? At age 17 Goya went to test himself in a larger

and more demanding area, Madrid. Another individual who had a profound impact on

Goya?s life and art was Velazquez. Velazquez was a painter of Spain?s pride

and power ?a superb realist. Although Velazquez had an influence on Goya?s

artistic style, his art is distinctly different from that of his predecessor.

Velazquez?s paintings depicted absolute and precise figures. Most of Goya?s

work, other than portraits, was noticeably distorted. These were times of

confusion and despair, which would serve as artistic topics for Goya?s work.

The other half of his work is strictly his reaction and response to Pg3

surrounding occurrences. Perhaps nobody depicted mortal?s thoughts and actions

better than Goya. He combined his personal thoughts and the thoughts of the

character in the painting so they either contrasted or became one. Goya used

this devise of altering human characteristics as a way to undermine politicians

and aristocrats without confrontation. A prime example of this is in the

portrait of the family of Charles the IV. Charles IV was a Bourbon King who was

later deposed by Napoleon. This portrait is at the pivotal point of Goya?s

career. The public Goya and the private Goya, usually rigidly separated were

briefly allowed to merge. As Goya was at the center of the social scene by this

point, he was very aware of the history, people and events of his time. He

depicts the characters and family members as he sees them, weak, sheltered, and

cocky. The clothing and costumes on the people describe their rank in society,

however their faces portray a lack of power and character. As he did in life,

the King stands to one side and his face is that of an uncertain oaf. Queen

Maria Luisa stands in the middle of the painting with a double chin and her

expression is crude, almost vulgar. Her arms were something that she was proud

of in life. She was proud of their thickness and strength but Goya paints them

to look almost gross. The daughter is depicted as pleasant (Goya idolized

children?s innocence), and uncorrupted, although her dress is similar to her

mothers. This illustrates the brainwashing of youthful nobility, and their lack

of independence. Other relatives are positioned behind the King which is perhaps

in Pg4 mitation of Velazquez? invention in the masterpiece Las Meninas. These

depictions went unnoticed, and while Goya never painted for the King and Queen

again, it was not because they were dissatisfied. He got away with it and went

on to fulfill other artistic desires. What is extraordinary about this portrait

is that it borders a thin line between levels of understanding. Goya found a

median at which he could satisfy someone?s expectations while fulfilling his

own artistic thoughts. At first glance or even scrupulous examination, someone

who is ignorant of the techniques being used sees only a picture of a royal

portrait. Somewhat of a different style and theme is showed in The Shooting on

Principe Pio Mountain. A more free brush technique is used here and the faces

and figures in the picture are more abstract, less detailed. The shooters are

anonymous and they doggedly obey orders by killing the suspects lined up in

front of them. In the center of the painting is a Spanish commoner who has his

arms raised and his face is that of despair, horror, and hopelessness. This

event (one of many that were similar) was a significant moment in Spanish

history. French firing squads patrolled through Spain as guerrillas (little

wars) broke out over the land. Goya painted the picture six years later, and had

mixed feelings about it. His love for Spain is shown in all of his work, however

he was an admirer of the French Enlightenment. This painting shows a difference

and gradual change in Goya?s style. The brush strokes are much more scratchy

and not as delicate as Pg5 previous works. It was possibly painted with more

passion and thus the reason for the more symbolic tone and not realistic. Goya

could be considered one of the most talented artists of his time and without

question he is. However what is to be merited is influence and understanding of

Spain and her people. A true artist, or painter in this case, can put thoughts

onto canvas forcing the observer to look beyond the jewels and ranks of royalty.

They can tell a characters life story or thoughts with miniscule variations in

facial and body language. Goya did these things to perfection and should be

regarded as one of the great minds of Spanish culture.



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