Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de

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Francisco de Goya y Lucientes

Fuendetodos, Zaragoza, 1746

Burdeos, 1828


Francisco de Goya y Lucientes was born in Fuendetodos (Zaragoza) in 1746.

Little is known about his childhood, although he became an apprentice in the workshop of the painter José Luzán at a very young age. In 1763 and 1766 he submitted entries for the Real Adademia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts) in Madrid but was denied entrance. Following these failures he traveled to Rome and later returned to Zaragoza where he would work on the frescoes of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar.

In 1775 he moved to Madrid and began working for the Real Fábrica de Tapices de Santa Bárbara (Royal Tapestry Factory) under the guidance of Mengs and the architect Francisco Sabatini. He painted a series of tapestry cartoons with hunting scenes designed to be hung in the dining room of the San Lorenzo de El Escorial palace.

In 1780 he met Gaspar de Jovellanos who became his friend and patron until his fall from grace in 1799. On 7 May he was unanimously appointed as an academician of merit by the San Fernando Academy. In 1784 his first son Francisco Javier was born, from his marriage to Josefa Bayeu, the only one of his six sons to survive into adulthood. Shortly afterwards he was appointed as a court painter. Around 1792 Francisco de Goya suffered an illness which eventually left him deaf. One year later, during a trip to Andalusia, he became seriously ill again and during his convalescence he stayed at the home of his friend Sebastián Martínez in Cadiz. Three years later he traveled to Andalusia again and visited the Duchess of Alba at Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

During the months before and after the French invasion and the outbreak of the Spanish War of Independence, together with his fellow countrymen and women, Goya was forced to endure the various upheavals that accompanied the fall of the Old Regime in Spain. Following the first siege of Zaragoza, General Palafox invited the painter to move to the capital of Aragon in order to capture events during the siege of the city.

In 1810 he began the series of etchings knows as Desastres de la guerra (Disasters of the war), which he completed around 1815 with the Caprichos enfáticos (Emphatic caprices). This artist, who does not appear to have left Madrid between 1809 and 1813, attempted to relate the violence witnessed and suffered by the Spanish during the years of the war as a way of chronicling the turbulent times.

On the 4th of April 1820, Goya attended his last session at the Academy of San Fernando. He pledged loyalty to the Constitution and to King Ferdinand VII.

Following the end of the war and Ferdinand VII’s return to the throne, all those suspected of having collaborated with the French emperor during the invasion were persecuted. Despite never being formally accused, Goya began to distance himself from public life and retired to a house known as La Quinta del sordo where he worked on the Pinturas Negras (Black Paintings).

In 1924 Francisco de Goya left for France after petitioning the king for a six-month leave of absence and he settled in the house of his friend Moratín in Bordeaux. In 1826 he went briefly back to Spain, where he asked for his pension, which was granted to him with his full salary as a court painter and he was given permission to live in France. He died on the 15th of April 1928 in Bordeaux and his body lies in repose in San Antonio de la Florida.