A Timeline of the Life of Goya
1746-1779 | 1780 - 1799 | 1800 - 1828
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Goya was born in the village of Fuendetodos
on March 30, 1746. This small village is slightly
below the large city of Zaragoza (sometimes
spelled in translation as "Saragossa"), which
is where Goya's parents moved to shortly after
his birth. Goya's father - Jose Francisco de
Paula Goya - worked as a master gilder. His
mother, Gracia Lucientes, came from a hidalgo
family. She would also mother Goya's siblings,
Rita (b.1737), Jacinta (b.1743), Mariano (b.1750)
and Carmilo (b.1752).
information on Goya's early years is sparse.
Many biographers have speculated that his father's
trade influenced the young boy, or that his
mother, who may have come from a wealthier family,
might have had more refined tastes and thus
influenced her third born. But there are few
documents or records to support the majority
of these ideas. Goya, as a much older man involved
in the matters of court where he was Royal painter,
would go to the trouble to establish that his
family was descended from a Basque family of
Cerain, an important ancestral link in the aristocratic
concerns of Spain. But beyond these geneological
trails, there are few items on record of his
early experience. He attended a "pious school,"
one of many free schools that were the result
of Joseph of Calasanz's efforts to provide an
education to the poor of Spain. (Goya would
later paint an 1819 alter piece of Joseph for
the church of San Antón Abad in Madrid, which
he contributed at a small price to the priests
there). It is in this early schooling that he
made his life-long friendship with Martin Zapater,
with whom he would exchange correspondence for
much of his life.
The Goya family move to Zaragoza, where Goya
is educated at a "Pius School" run
by the Ignorantine Friars.
Goya was apprenticed to the Zaragoza painter
José Lúzan y Martinez at the age of 14. Goya
later wrote of this in a short autobiography
for the Prado Museum catalog of 1828:
was a pupil of Don Jose Luzan in Zaragoza,
with whom he learned the principles of drawing
and who made him copy the finest engravings
that he possessed; he stayed with him for
four years and his painting continued to be
influenced by him until he went to Rome.'
submitted entries for the Spanish Royal Academy
in 1763, and 1766, each time he was denied entrance
to the school. He was twenty-years old when
the 1766 failure occurred, and it is then that
he embarked for a journey to Italy. As the center
of the world of art at that time, Italy was
frequented by artists from many countries. He
lived there two years, won an award for painting
skill at an open competition provided by the
Academy of Parma (Hannibal Crossing the Alps,
a recently discovered sketch of this can be
seen on this Goya site news page), and completed
several small oils which still survive. In the
more romanticised tales of Goya, he is supposed
to have carved his name into the lantern at
St. Peter's. He might have stayed longer in
Italy, but was given notice by friends that
the Basilica del Pilar in Madrid was to be painted
with a fresco, and he was summarily invited
to submit plans to the Real Academia de S Fernando.
On June 1, 1772 he completed The
Adoration of the Name of God.
First child is born, does not survive infancy.
July, Goya married Josefa Bayeu, the sister
of Francisco and Ramon Bayeu, painters who had
already established themselves in Spain. The
couple lived in Zaragoza for a year, but was
asked to come to Madrid by the court painter
Mengs, who, despite being born in Dresden, had
become First Painter to the King. Selected to
work in the Royal Tapestry Factory, Goya labored
under the supervision of his brother-in-law
Francisco (see, for example, The
Parasol). Although Goya was allowed
to keep the initial color sketches for the tapestrys
that he designed, the finished "cartoons"
(as they were called) became property of the
king. The many cartoons Goya completed were
not discovered until the late 19th century,
stored in rolls in the basement of the Royal
Palace in Mardrid, Spain. In December, the second
child is born to Josefa and Francisco Goya.
The child does not survive infancy.
Birth of third child, who does not live beyond
Mangs allows Goya to come to the Royal Palace,
where he begins studying the paintings of Valasquez.
Fourth child born, will not live beyond infancy.
in the Tapestry factory was suspended while
Spain's war with England took up the majority
of the Royal family's time and money. Through
his brother-in-law, Goya was accepted into the
Royal Academy in Madrid. His application painting
was the 1780 painting Crucifixion.
At the end of the year, he accompanied Francisco
to Zarogoza for a collaborated project. Unable
to cooperate with each other, Goya and Francisco
experienced a terrible rift in their working
and personal relationship. A Fifth child is
born but will not survive.
to Madrid after the dissolution of his partnership
with Francisco for the Zaragoza project, Goya
took up a royal commission for the alterpiece
at the church of San Francisco el Grande. Since
Bayeu was one of the other six Acadenicians
who were commissioned for art for the church,
Goya spent two years finishing the work, making
certain that his work should stand up well against
his former supervisor at the Tapestry factory.
Sixth child born to not survive.
Goya paints the Count Floridablanca, which is his first important commission. It's success opens doors that begin Goya's professional advancement to eventually becoming First Painter to the King in 1786.
Xavier, the only child that Goya and his wife
Josefa had which survives infancy, is born on
December 2. Goya's work as a portrait painter
continues to improve and his clientele list
Goya is named the Deputy Director of Painting
at the Royal Academy. This is a lucrative position
that allows Goya to begin receiving fashionable
portrait commissions among the wealtheir classes
Goya is appointed Painter to the King. This
is the most prestigious position for an artist
in Spain, and also comes with a steady income,
securing Goya's finances. Goya had petitioned
for this position in 1779, when Mengs had died,
but it was not then accepted. Along with his
new position, though, Goya is required to return
to the Royal Tapestry Factory, where he begins
again creating unique cartoons. These demonstrate
his new-found confidence and intellectual thought
in developing his themes. A representative image
is The Snowstorm.
the death of Charles III, Charles IV ascends
the throne. The new King and his wife change
the Spanish elites' cultural affections for
French and Italian art, introducing a fashionable
acceptance of Spanish works.
Goya suffers a terrible illness while visiting
his patron Sebastian Martinez. Staying at Martinez'
home, Goya paints a series of "Cabinet"
pictures on tin. These are sent to the Academy
in Madrid for inspection and to be sold to help
Goya recover his financial losses during his
Now deaf from his illness, Goya is commissioned
to paint full-length portraits of the Duke and
Duchess of Alba. When The Duke suddenly dies
a year later, Goya is one of the people asked
to keep the Duchess company during her period
of mourning. His time there is punctuated with
many drawings, many aparently of the Duchess
in intimate settings. Some of these more ironic
or bitter images would later appear in altered
form in the etchings of The Caprichos.
Goya paints his second formal portrait of the
Duchess of Alba. The image indicates some form
of intimate relationship, as the picture shows
the black-adorned widow pointing in the sand
where is written "Solo Goya." (The
image is never delivered - - if indeed it was
a portrait commision to begin with - - and is
still a part of Goya's personal collection when
he dies. Goya's son Xavier inherits the painting,
who was also named in the Duchess' will for
an inheritance of a small income from her estates.)
Goya begins working on the eighty images that
will comprise The
Caprichos. It is also in this period
when Goya first begins composing images dealing
with the witchcraft practices in Spain, usually
considered in analytical studies as veiled references
to the Inquisition then operating with deadly
powers of authority in Spain.
Goya paints a large scale fresco at the newly
constructed church San Antonio de la Florida.
Goya had been working almost exclusively small-scale
work to conserve his strength, which was greatly
affected by his illness, but this physically
intensive fresco demonstrates his recovery was
almost complete. He is however still deaf, and
complains in conversation with the King that
but for sign language, he would almost completely
cut-off from the hearing world.
Within 15 days of the release of The Caprichos,
they are withdrawn from public sale, and only
a formal order from the King of Spain keeps
Goya from being called before the Inquisition.
Goya is busy painting portraits of the Royal
family of Charles IV. It is also at this time
that he completes the Majas desnuda and
The Duchess of Alba dies on June 23rd at the
age of 40. Goya will design a number or unrealized
plans for a funeral monument to the Duchess.
Goya's lifelong friend and correspondant Martin
Charles IV abdicates the throne, turning it
over to his son Ferdinand VII. Civil strife
leads to the executions in Spain by occupying
French troops. These events would become subjects
for several of Goya's later works such as the
Second and Third of May paintings). The throne
of Spain is taken by Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's
brother, backed by a large French military force.
Goya, along with many other Spanish artists,
are ordered to choose fifty paintings for Napoleon's
museum in Paris.
Goya begins work on the Disasters of War etchings.
Josefa Bayeu Goya dies, leaving Goya and their
son Xavier her own small collection of paintings
(the written catalog of her belongings will
later be the basis for many insights into Goya's
personal life, and for establishing a resume
of Goyas works). French troops are defeated
by Britains General Wellington leading a coalition
of anti-Bonaparte forces. Soon thereafter Wellington
sits for Goya, who by then has painted formal
portraits of the leadership from all sides -
both Spain, France and Britain.
Ferdinand VII reinstated to the Spanish throne,
and Goya, along with many of the other Spanish
republican liberals, are in danger of Jail.
The Inquisition renews its practises.
Goya's painting of Majas desnuda and
Vestida cause him to be brought before the
Goya buys the home that will become the Quinta
del Sordo, the "House of the Deaf Man."
He begins painting the Pinturas Negras
on the walls - - the so-called "Black Paintings."
During the winter he becomes gravely ill.
Goya, still under threat from the Inquisition
and the powerful political factions under Ferdinand,
signs his home over to his grandson Mariano.
Goya petitions Ferdinand to leave Spain for
France, describing health concerns requiring
the medicinal bathes in Bordeaux. After entering
France, he settles in Paris.
comes from Spain with her children, stays with
Goya as his housekeeper. They settle tother
Goya works on a series of bullfight lithographs,
and paints forty miniatures on ivory.
returns to Spain temporarily to request indefinite
leave, Ferdinand grants this and also a retirment
pension. The King also orders that an official
portrait of Goya be done by Vincente Lopez.
(Shown left: click on the image for a large
paints Milkmaid of Bordeaux, several other portraits,
and begins experimenting with lithography. He
complains in his letters of failing eyesight
and lack of art supplies. (Note - there is some
dispute among art critics about whether Goya
or if possibly Rosario, Leocadia's daughter,
painted the image under Goya's tutorship. The
painting has obvious characteristics of Goya's
style - - although Rosario had a career as a
painter after Goya's death, I have not seen
any examples of her work and connot form an
opinion through comparison. - Erik)
Goya's health worsens, and on April 2nd his
right side becomes paralyzed following a stroke. He lingers in a comatose state for two weeks, unresponsive and slowly edging toward death. He finally died at 2:00 a.m. in the morning on April
16th. Goya's funeral was on April 17, a special mass on his behalf spoken at the nearby Notre-Dame Cathedral. His corpse was then interred at the cemetary of the Chartreuse of Bordeaux, the grave-site next to Goya's son Javier's father-in-law, Martin Miguel de Goicoechea.
Goya's remains are unearthed at the request of the Spanish government, and moved to a grave beneath the floor of the
church of San Antonio de la Florida in Madrid,
Spain. When his body was disinterred from France, the skull was found to be missing, and has not been located since.