Essay about Francisco Goya : Father of Modern Art

Essay about Francisco Goya : Father of Modern Art

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One of the greatest artists in the history of art, Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes had his own and very peculiar life story that affected the way in which he viewed society in the different stages of his life. He became the pioneer of many new artistic tendencies that came about in the 19th century and his work extended over a period of 60 years in which he was both very acclaimed, and badly criticized. Francisco Goya, artist whose different paintings, drawings, and engravings reflected contemporary historical upheavals, influenced many important painters in the centuries that have followed.

Francisco Goya was born in March 30, 1749 in Zaragoza, Spain. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to Jose Martin Luzan, who was a local painter. He then went to Italy to continue his art studies. Years later when he returned to Zaragoza in 1771, he painted frescoes for the local cathedral. These works, which were done in the decorative rococo tradition, established Goya's reputation. In 1773 he married Josefa Bayeu with whom he had many children of which only one survived. From 1775 to 1792 he painted cartoons for the royal tapestry factory. It was as a tapestry designer that he did his first genre paintings or scenes from everyday life. This experience made him observe human behavior more closely. He was influenced by neoclassicism, when it started gaining favor over the rococo style, and studied the works of Velazquez in the royal collection. From this experience on, his painting technique became looser and more spontaneous, while he achieved his first popular success. He became established as a portrait painter to the Spanish aristocracy; was elected to the Royal Academy of San Fernando in 1780; named as the king's painter in 1786,...

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...leave Spain and settled in Bordeaux, France. There he continued to work until his death on April 16, 1828.

The importance of Goya's work is that it went through changing periods, for his world changed completely during his lifetime. The society which had acclaimed and praised him disappeared during the Napoleonic war, and that is why before the end of the 18th century he turned into new ideals and expressions in his graphic art and in his paintings. His uncompromising portrayal of his times mark the beginning of 19th century realism, and give him the name that he will always be known for: Francisco Goya, the father of Modern art.


1. Antonina Valentin, THIS I SAW: The Life And Times Of Goya. Random House, Inc., 1949.

2. Dr. Benno Fleischmann, Francisco Goya.

3. F.D. Kindengler, Goya in the Democratic Tradition. Shocken Books Inc., 1948

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