Francisco de Goya was born by chance in Fuendetodos, a little village in Spain, in 1746. His father, an artist too, was working there. But the family moved soon to Zaragoza, where Goya was training with Baroque artists (chiaroscuro and still lifes.)
In 1770, he travelled to Italy. There, he knew Italian masters artwork and was seduced by Neoclassic aesthetic. The Museo del Prado keeps his diaries of those days.
Once returning to Spain, he painted the frescoes of Basilica del Pilar in Zaragoza.
He married the sister of Francisco Bayeu. An influent artist in the Court of King Carlos IV of Spain.
In 1775, thanks to Bayeu, he began to work in the Royal Tapestry Factory in Madrid. He painted the cartons that weavers must weave. At the same time, he portrayed famous people, who will introduce him to the king: ‘Portrait of Jovellanos.’
In 1789, King Carlos IV named him Royal Painter. One year later, Goya painted ‘Carlos IV and his Family.’ ‘Las Majas (dressed and naked)’ are also from this period.
In 1792, Goya pronounced a famous speech in The Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid defending artistic freedom and showing his rebellious personality.
Before Spanish Invasion by the French Army (1808 -1814), Goya admired Napoleon and his Enlightenment ideas. Of course, Goya was against the Inquisition, superstition and religious fanaticism. However afterwards, he painted ‘The Shootings of May 1808’ criticizing Napoleon’s soldiers. Also, ‘The Charge of Mamelukes’ and his print series ‘Disasters of War’ are very significant.
Widowed and deaf, Francisco de Goya becomes morose. He is no longer the young man who loved celebrations ‘The Prairie of San Isidro.’ Now, he paints in the dining room of his home in Madrid the ‘Black Paintings.’ A forerunner of Expressionism and Surrealism. Goya is the father of contemporary painting.
When he gets out of Spain and terror of King Fernando VII, he calms. In Bordeaux, he painted ‘The Milkmaid’, an absolute masterpiece preceding the Impressionism.