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Goya (continued)

1746 - 1828

In portraiture, without doubt, Goya excelled: his portraits are evidently life-like and unexaggerated, and he disdained flattery. He worked rapidly, and during his long stay at Madrid painted, amongst many others, the portraits of four sovereigns of Spain - Charles III. and IV., Ferdinand VII. and " King Joseph." The duke of Wellington also sat to him; but on his making some remark which raised the artist's choler, Goya seized a plaster cast and hurled it at the head of the duke. There are extant two pencil sketches of Wellington, one in the British Museum, the other in a private collection. One of his best portraits is that of the lovely Andalusian duchess of Alva. He now became the spoiled child of fortune, and acquired, at any rate externally, much of the polish of court manners. He still worked industriously upon his own lines, and, while there is a stiffness almost ungainly in the pose of some of his portraits, the stern individuality is always preserved.

The Clothed Maja

The Nude Maja

Including the designs for tapestry, Goya's genre works are numerous and varied, both in style and feeling, from his Watteaulike "Al Fresco Breakfast," "Romeria de San Isidro," to the " Curate feeding the Devil's Lamp," the " Meson del Gallo " and the painfully realistic massacre of the " Dos de Mayo " (1808). Goya's versatility is proverbial; in his hands the pencil, brush and graver are equally powerful. Some of his crayon sketches of scenes in the bull ring are full of force and character, slight but full of meaning. He was in his thirty-second year when he commenced his etchings from Velasquez, whose influence may, however, be traced in his work at an earlier date. A careful examination of some of the drawings made for these etchings indicates a steadiness of purpose not usually discovered in Goya's craft as draughtsman. He is much more widely known by his etchings than his oils; the latter necessarily must be sought in public and private collections, principally in Spain, while the former are known and prized in every capital of Europe. The etched collections by which Goya is best known include " Los Caprichos," which have a satirical meaning known only to the few; they are bold, weird and full of force. "Los Proverbios" are also supposed to have some hidden intention. "Los Desastres de la Guerra " may fairly claim to depict Spain during the French invasion. In the bull-fight series Goya is evidently at home; he was a skilled master of the barbarous art, and no doubt every sketch is true to nature, and from life.

Goya retired from Madrid, desiring probably during his latter years to escape the trying climate of that capital. He died at Bordeaux on the 16th of April 1828, and a monument has been erected there over his remains. From the deaths of Velasquez and Murillo to the advent of Fortuny, Goya's name is the only important one found in the history of Spanish art.

Saturn Devouring His Son


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