francisco goya biography
(1746-1828)





When attempting a francisco goya biography, it's always best to remember the history of the period he lived in.

They were very turbulent and troubled times for Europe, including the Peninsular War - when French forces invaded Spain - and the French Revolution, resulting in great changes.

Francisco Goya was a bit of an enigma, but he succeeded in being a painter both for the Court and for the People.

An artist ahead of his time, he created unconventional works full of personality, showing a critical fascination with violence and aversion to brutality.

Romanticism, Impressionism, Expressionism and Surrealism were all later greatly influenced by his work.

I hope the following facts about francisco de goya will whet your appetite to learn more about his works - many of which can be seen in the Prado Museum, Madrid.


francisco goya biography - early years

  • 1746 - Born 30 March to Jos Goya (guilder) and Gracia Lucientes in Fuendetodos, near Zaragoza. Full name Francisco Jos de Goya y Lucientes.
  • 1760 - Aged 14, enters into apprenticeship with painter Jos Luz n.
  • 1763&1766 - Applies twice to study at Spanish Royal Academy, Madrid and is twice rejected. During these early years, he is trained in Baroque and Rococco styles - evident in his early works.
  • 1771 - Visits Rome. Wins 2nd prize in the City of Parma painting competition, and is influenced by Classicism and Neo-Classicims. Returns to Zaragoza, where he carries out interesting religious works/frescoes. Now studies under Francisco Bayeu.
  • 1773 - Marries Bayeu's sister - Josefa.

  • francisco goya biography - middle years

  • 1774 - As a result of his marriage, Francisco Goya gains access to the Royal Spanish Court. Starts with Royal Tapestry Workshop, designing around 42 patterns over a period of 5 years. Is appointed member of Academy of San Fernando.
  • 1780 - Enters Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Francisco.
  • 1783 - Back in Madrid, Count of Floridablanca - favourite of King Carlos III - commissions him to paint his portrait. Goya's circle of royal and titled patrons grows.
  • 1788 - King Carlos III dies, to be replaced by Carlos IV until 1808. Under Carlos IV, goya reaches the peak of his popularity with Royalty. He uses a variety of styles during this period - Rococco often predominating - and is much influenced by Velazquez with his portraits.
  • 1792 - Goya becomes deaf (lead in pigments?), resulting in 5 years withdrawal and instrospection. Illness, and shifts in socio-political climate, mature his work.
  • 1793-1794 - Paints 11 small pictures on tin called the pictures of "Fantasy and Invention".
  • 1797-1800 - Paints and scandalises Spanish society with his best-known painting - "La Maja Desnuda" (The Nude Maja). Also paints "La Maja Vestida" (The Clothed Maja).
  • 1799 - "Los Caprichos" are published - a set of 80 aquatint prints, demonstrating his sharp, satirical wit in a criticism of Spanish society. Recognised as precursor to the Modernist Movement almost a century later. Is appointed Spanish Royal Painter. Paints King and Queen, plus other members of royalty and nobility.
  • 1810s - Paints a set of aquatint prints "Los Desastres de la Guerra" (The Disasters of War), depicting scenes from the Peninsular War.
  • 1812 - Goya's wife dies.
  • 1813 - King Ferdinand VII now on the throne of Spain. Relations between him and goya are not good.

  • francisco goya biography - later years

  • 1814 - Goya lives with his cousin - Rosario Weiss - and her daughter - Do a Leocadia - with whom he's in love.
  • 1819 - After another serious illness, Goya buys a house and lives near Manzanares, on the outskirts of Madrid. His works here epitomize the powerful, dark world of his subconcious and are precursors to Expressionism and Surrealism. Examples include a series of 14 paintings called the "Black Paintings".
  • 1824 - Leaves Spain for Bordeaux and Paris, settling in Bordeaux. Paints new portraits, plus works on the subject of bullfighting. "The Milkmaid of Bordeaux" is his final painting.
  • 1826 - Briefly returns to Spain.
  • 1828 - Dies in Bordeaux on 16 April.



  • francisco goya biography - related pages

  • Overview of Spanish Art
  • Biography of Pablo Picasso
  • Pablo Picasso Blue Period
  • Biography of Diego Velazquez
  • Biography of El Greco
  • Biography of Salvador Dal
  • Biography of Joan Miro
  • Famous Spanish People


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