Francisco Goya

1 May, 2017 - Madhurima Chaudhuri

'Third of May, 1808' Image credit - Any Zeigert, all creative commons

Francisco Goya is considered to be one of the most sought after artists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. A Spanish painter and printmaker, Goya, was not only known for his portraits but also his ability to create art as spontaneous essays replete in self-expression, experimentation and honesty. Given the title of ‘pintor del rey,’ his artworks were influenced by the spirit of enlightenment that came to question the atrocities committed by the tribunal and hypocrisies enveloping the society, thus, doing away with formalistic traditions.

‘Procession of Flagellants' Image credit - Bruce Johnson, all creative commons

In his work ‘Procession of Flagellants,’ Goya represents the horrific deaths that were meted out to the heretics by the Inquisition. It showcased a ‘Black Spain’ steeped in feudalism. It was a way to document history and his disapproval towards such incidents. While the revolutionary portrait titled ‘Nude Maja’ was an attempt to dismantle the orthodox nature of  society. It came to represent feminine beauty without any mythological validations, an unthinkable feat in a largely Catholic society. He maintained his artistic license even in the religious frescoes at San Antonia del la Florida. The heavenly angels were shown on the ground in an attempt to humanise religious art and make it more relatable. His works were marked by distinct techniques, a specific colour palette and most importantly quick brush strokes. One of his most emotionally charged paintings was the ‘Third of May 1808’ that was based on  key events which had taken place during the Napoleonic invasion. It showcases the brutal reality of the mass murders conducted on those who had taken part in the uprising by the French troops. 

'The Naked Maja' Image credit - Lluís Ribes Mateu, all creative commons 

In 1792, a traumatic illness leading to deafness widened the introspective horizons of what the eye saw. With the loss of one sense, the other senses intensified which led to the creation of a series of dark, morbid etchings titled ‘Los Caprichos.’It was through self-expression that Goya created works of art that were labelled ‘avant-garde’ and thus, often being described as the precursor to the Romantic Movement.

'Sleep of Reasons Produces Monsters' Image credits - Wikipedia 

Topic: Art