an enemy of irrational tendencies

Goya’s life was split in two near its midpoint by an illness that very nearly killed him when he was forty-six years old. If he had died, he would have left a large body of work establishing him as one of Spain’s finest artists and its only great representative of the eighteenth-century style. But he lived, and the traumatic experience released powers never before fully expressed. During the latter half of his life, Goya became the genius we think of him as having been from the first. In this late blooming he is exceptional among painters, whose mature work is usually prefigured in their early paintings, meaning a re-working of established formula.

"The Spanish painter who recorded to personages and events of the final Napoleonic moment of that swoon, was Francisco Goya 1746-1828. His royal portraits included a family picture from around 1800 which shows the very bloated and physically imposing, well plain stupid Bourbon king Charles IV, and his very vulgar wife Maria Luisa, who is shown right at center in the composition. Clearly she's the one in charge of this household, and therefor probably in a sense, of the state as well. Goya despised her as a vicious manipulator, and here we see them with many of the 14 children, only 7 of whom would survive until adulthood. Look carefully at their faces. It seems we see various stages of fright, as they all crowd into the studio of the artist, by the way whom we see in the shadows at left, behind the other figures. He's busy painting, so its almost he opposite of the way we saw Velazquez representing himself, in the marvelous portrait in his era, of the royal family in Las Meninas,..." Read More:

“Moral reflection, in Goya’s prints and not a few of his paintings, moves from being a philosophical exercise into a sort of frenzy, a despairing assault on a world of terminal evil. Greed, whoring, pederasty, witchcraft and the religious bigotry that was its mirror image, the brutality of the low and the myopic arrogance of the high, and above all the limitless cruelties inflicted in the name of orthodoxy (by the Inquisition) and political conquest (by the invading French and their guerrilla opponents): these possess him as they have possessed no other artist before or since. Seen through his encyclopedic vision of folly and cruelty, Goya’s Spain is more like Dean Swift’s Ireland than Voltaire’s Europe.”Read more:,9171,956813-2,00.html#ixzz1DnuYfmZX

Alan Woods:It is a picture of horror without end. The subject matter consists of corrupt priests, whores, beggars and witches. This is a world peopled by demons and nightmarish visions, governed by ignorance, superstition and chaos. The reason why this art still impacts on us in such a powerful way is that it reminds us of the world in which we live. That is what makes these images so disturbing. They do not reflect some far distant world in a remote antiquity. They reflect the world of capitalism in the first decade of the 21st century. The impression of violence and uncontrolled brutality is forcefully conveyed in the painting of a man stabbing a naked woman. This is a world of turbulence, war and convulsions - just like our own world. Nothing has changed, unless it be that the horrors described by Goya have now been reproduced on a far vaster and more terrifying scale. read more:

His youth was not necessarily the honest and earthy ideal picture of a youth pure and free from the degeneracy of the aristocracy. In fact, it may be closer to that of a Caravaggio; quarrelsome, undisciplined, and uneducated youth at the mercy of his emotions. Goya’s reason for leaving his home town in 1763 may or may not have been related with certain complications, including knifings, that resulted from amorous adventures. Ambition would have supplied just as reasonable a stimulus for his departure, since Goya had a fantastic capacity for work; a really compulsive need to keep at it as well as a great respect for money.

"Goya had a close and lasting friendship with the Duchess, who was the last of an old noble line, and famous for her beauty, wit, and intelligence. When Goya was stricken with the mysterious illness that paralyzed him for a time, she arranged devotedly for his care. The full figure portrait can be interpreted as fervent thanks for her friendship. The painter has put his affection into the picture in a dedication written in the sand, to which the Duchess pointing: "A la Duquesa de Alba. Fr. de Goya 1795." The band of friendship on her wrist also bears his initials. Goya wanted to show her to posterity with a mild but watchful gaze. Her candid expression is emphasized by the raised brows and the framing curly hair. The palette is reduced to a few colours, the landscape is bare and the simplicity of the handling may stand for the sincerity of their friendship. Goya kept the painting, intending never to part with it." read more:

Eventually, after a lengthly period, Goya began to gain good favor at court was doing well at countering the intrigues that, naturally, began to be perpetrated against him. So much is made of Goya’s humanity, his liberal aesthetic and social conscience, his independence and his fearlessness, that it is easy to forget how many years he had to spend in winning a position that enabled him to indulge in these virtues.

He was nagged by an insecurity left over from his early poverty, and he could be irascible, envious, and merciless with an opponent over a small point. Impatient by nature, often rude by impulse, he worked hard at curbing his temper before influential patrons whom he despised. Madrid fel to him eventually and he became the first Spanish painter of consequence since Velasquez. He was the leading Spanish painter, no matter how many functionaries among his colleagues might nominally outrank him. And as an unrivaled portraitist, he was making money.

"Perhaps the most moving of these -- a Spanish equivalent, in its effort to embody intellect, of David's portrait of the Lavoisiers -- is his 1798 portrait of Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, the outstanding thinker of the Spanish Enlightenment, a much-exiled man who briefly held state office as the Minister of Religion and Justice under Carlos IV. Goya shows him at an ornate desk in the Madrid palace, lost in melancholy thought amid props that seem out of scale with his modesty. Read more:,9171,956813,00.html#ixzz1Do9ZrLWL image:

This was the situation in1792 when an illness that has never been satisfactorily identified struck him. For more than a year he could not paint. He was left stone deaf , but this isolating misfortune apparently crystallized and released the genius that had been checked by a fuller contact with the world. A new Goya emerged- Goya the humane and bitter social observer, the scourging and despairing delineator of vice and cruelty, the fantasist whose pictured nightmares explored the most desperate realities.

"Goya has portrayed Godoy in an elaborate and unusual composition, in a reclining posture reminiscent of some of his paintings of women on couches, seemingly inappropriate for the hero of a military victory. Goya's portrait hints at disrespect for t

omposity of his sitter, though Godoy was an important patron, a collector on a grand scale, for whom Goya painted many works including the famous portrait of his wife, the Countess of Chinchon. Godoy was also owner of the two Majas and may even have commissioned them...." read more:


Goya. The Sleep of Reason. "It cannot be an accident that Goya adapted Jovellanos' pose for the dreaming figure in The Sleep of Reason. He had no illusions about the distance between liberal hope and the possibility of its fulfillment. But even though present-day Republicans and their flacks have corrupted the American air with babblings about the L word, as though liberalism were something to be ashamed of, Goya's beliefs, so passionately held, still testify to the liberal conscience as the best hope of Western man in the past 200 years Read more:,9171,956813,00.html#ixzz1DoAsucWs image:


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