Francisco de Goya (Dictionary of World Biography: The 17th and 18th Centuries)
Article abstract: A painter and engraver, Goya was not only one of Spain’s greatest artists but also one of Western art’s most original practitioners. His aesthetic range was so comprehensive that he anticipated all the major artistic schools from the French Romantics to the German Expressionists.
Francisco de Goya was born in the desolate hills of northeastern Spain, in the province of Aragon, a dry, parched, and barren land. His father was a gilder of Basque origin and was frequently unemployed. The family possessed little property and poverty forced them to work in the fields to feed themselves. Goya’s lifelong terror of returning to the indigence of his early youth stimulated him to negotiate complex political maneuvers during several of Spain’s stormiest changes of government in order to retain his comfortable household. When he was five years old, his father moved the family to the nearby town of Saragossa, where the boy spent the rest of his youth.
Because of his family’s financial needs, the fourteen-year-old Goya was apprenticed to the highly successful church artist José Luzán. After four years of grinding colors, he began composing his own pictures, most of which were imitations of his master, Luzán, and realistic reproductions of old masters. It was also in Saragossa that Goya met and became close friends with Martin Zapater, a classmate; their mutual correspondence over...
(The entire section is 2780 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!