Francisco De Goya (Spanish Artist)

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2015-06-26 10:58:26

Francisco De Goya was a Spanish artist regarded as the last of the Old Masters.

Brief biography of artist

Francisco De Goya (born 30th March 1746) was an 18th century Spanish artist whose influence reached far into the 19th century. Born into a poor but respectable family, he studied painting in Madrid, and later unsuccessfully entered several art competitions.

By 1770, Goya was living in Rome from the proceeds of his artwork, having won second place in a fine art painting contest. Appointed painter to the king in 1786, he continued this position after the invasion of Napoleon. Goya was rendered deaf in 1792 as the result of an illness, and his resultant isolation led to the development of a new style, where his imagination began to take precedence in his art; he left Rome in 1824, and lived in Bordeaux, France until his death in 1828, at the age of 82.

Guide for collectors

Goya’s artwork is highly desirable to collectors, though many of his best known works, particularly his paintings, are unavailable for private sale, instead being in residence at various art galleries. However, there are instances where they have appeared at auction, such as the sale of Goya’s ‘Portrait of Rita Luna’, sold from Sotheby’s in New York on 25th January 2007, for $2616,000, an example of his mastery at the art of portraiture.

In addition to painting, Goya was also a prolific sketch artist and completed many etchings. Several of his works of this nature have sold for high prices, amongst them a collection of twelve etchings compiled in 1864, several years after Goya’s death, which sold from Sotheby’s in New York on 31st October 2003, for $10,200, and another collection of etchings assembled in 1891, entitled ‘Los Proverbios’, which sold from Skinner auctioneers on 2nd March 2007, for $8,500.

Most expensive work

The most expensive Goya artwork ever sold is three drawings by the artist, which fetched a combined £400,000 at an auction at Christie’s in London on 9th July 2008. The sketches had long been assumed lost; drawn some time between 1812-1828, they had had not been seen since 1877. ‘Bajar rinendo’ depicts four women in the midst of a brutal fight, whilst the other pieces depict a man praying and a policeman stitched into a horse, respectively.

Most famous works

One of Goya’s most famous paintings is 1814’s ‘The Third Of May 1808’. Measuring 8”9 by 11”4, the artwork depicts the fateful day on which Napoleon, following his occupation of Spain, executed hundreds of rebels who revolted against it, alongside many innocent bystanders.

Though the painting was not created until six years after the event depicted, by which time King Ferdinand VII had been restored to the throne, it still vividly depicts a horrific event, with a dark and ominous skyline and faceless, uniforms guards with their guns directed towards their victims, who are themselves rendered in vivid detail as a pile of bloodied corpses.

Atop of an assembled group about to be reduced to the same state stands a man in a white shirt with his arms hurled upwards in a gesture thought to resemble the crucifixion; an image mirrored in the positioning of one of the slain victims on the ground. An oil on canvas piece, it is currently housed at the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

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