Francisco Goya
With
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