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Title: Goya
Author: Crastre, Fr. (François)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Goya" ***

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    (Museum of the Louvre)

    This personage, who has left no record in history, was one of
    those high functionaries, half civil and half military, whom the
    First Republic sent to its armies to supervise the commissary
    department and also to exercise an espionage over its generals.
    Goya has given a vigorous rendering of a head that bears the
    double stamp of energy and high breeding; and the prevailing
    gray tone of this portrait, relieved only by the one dash of
    brightness in the tricoloured scarf, forms altogether a work of
    perfect harmony.]





    [Illustration: IN SEMPITERNUM.]


    COPYRIGHT, 1914, BY

    March, 1914

    NORWOOD · MASS · U · S · A



    The Youth of Goya          21

    The Glorious Period        48

    The Closing Years          77



       I. Ferdinand Guillemardet               Frontispiece
             Museum of the Louvre

      II. La Maja Clothed                                14
             Museum of the Prado, Madrid

     III. The Woman with the Fan                         24
             Museum of the Louvre

      IV. Portrait of Goya                               34
             Museum of the Prado, Madrid

       V. The Duchess of Alba                            40
             Collection of the Duke of Alba, Madrid

      VI. King Charles IV and his Family                 50
             Museum of the Prado, Madrid

     VII. La Tirana                                      60
             Museum of the Prado, Madrid

    VIII. Josefa Bayeu                                   70
             Museum of the Prado, Madrid

On a certain clear morning in the year 1760, a monk from the convent
of Santa Fé, near Saragossa, was proceeding leisurely along the road
which leads to that city, and reciting his breviary as he went.
Raising his eyes from between two psalms, he perceived a young lad of
some fifteen years of age deeply absorbed in drawing pictures with a
bit of charcoal on one of the walls which bounded the way. The monk
was a lover of the arts and had himself some little skill in drawing.
Becoming interested, he drew nearer, and was amazed at the aptitude
shown by the boy. Upon questioning him, he was much pleased with his
replies and was completely won by his engaging manners. Without
further reflection, he inquired the way to the home of the lad’s
parents, poor peasants of the immediate neighbourhood, and had no
difficulty in persuading them to entrust their son to him, promising
to make him a painter of whom they would some day be proud.

History has not preserved the name of the worthy monk so kindly
disposed to art, but the boy was destined to make his own name
illustrious: Francisco José Goya y Lucientes, the poor son of farming
folk of Saragossa, fulfilled the promises of his patron. He had
talent; better yet, he had genius; he fraternized with princes and
with kings, and the renown of his glory restored its lost dignity to
the art of Spain and did honour to painting throughout the world.

    [Illustration: PLATE II.--LA MAJA (CLOTHED)

    (Museum of the Prado, Madrid)

    This reclining woman represents a very characteristic type of
    Spanish beauty. Goya has painted this picture under two
    different aspects, although in an absolutely identical pose. In
    one, the woman is represented completely nude, while here the
    artist has clothed her in corselet and trousers. It is asserted
    that the Duchess of Alba served him as model for both of these

The advent of Goya in the middle of the eighteenth century marks a
sort of providential date in the art of the peninsula. The Spanish
school had fallen into profound decadence. Of the great traditions of
Velazquez, Ribera, Zurbaran, and El Greco, nothing survived save the
regret of knowing that they were forever lost. All the prodigious
strength and powerful realism of that glorious period had become
degenerate, enfeebled, anaemic to the point of utter decrepitude. In
the horde of artists of that time, not a single hand was capable of
taking up the brush let fall by the great predecessors. One only in
all their number, a certain Claudio Coello, mustered sufficient energy
to attempt to carry on the broken tradition. With praiseworthy
insistence and undoubted talent he endeavoured to restore its bygone
dignity to the painting of his time. Among many other noteworthy
works, a magnificent canvas from his hand may still be seen in the
sacristy of the Escurial. But this unlucky artist, like all the
others, had come too late into a world which had grown too old. He
could no longer be understood. The same decadence had overspread the
whole of Europe, but to a greater degree in Spain than elsewhere.
Politics, customs, traditions, popular taste, all bore the imprint of
that degeneracy which heralds the end of a race. What could a Claudio
Coello do in a society that had disintegrated to such a degree? His
strength seemed too brutal, his realism was accused of barbarity, and
the conscientiousness of his line-work caused him to be considered as
a painter who had become old-fashioned and had fallen behind his
times. All the favour of that period was bestowed upon the _fa presto_
school of painting. Luca Giordano, who usurped Coello’s place in the
regard of Philip II., had begun to inundate Spain with his facile and
spiritless productions. He covered the walls of the Escurial with
frescoes brushed in with a turn of the wrist, the dexterity of which
ill concealed their absolute lack of inspiration. In his wake a swarm
of Neapolitan painters, equally dexterous, but of even less worth,
swooped down upon the peninsula, and day by day still further
perverted the standard of popular taste. With the dawn of the
seventeenth century the decadence, instead of diminishing, became more
accentuated. The Neapolitans had been succeeded by Frenchmen--but what
Frenchmen! Their art had neither the nobility of Poussin, nor the
greatness of Le Brun, nor the suavity of Le Sueur; they bore such
names as Ranc, Hovasse, Louis and Michel Vanloo, and their manner drew
its inspiration from the worst type of composition brought into
fashion by Mignard. Their whole effort was confined to producing the
merely pretty, and their tastelessness was absolutely, yet
regrettably, adapted to the growing affectation of the century. After
them came the turn of the Tiepolos: these latter were not merely
remarkable virtuosos of the palette; their prodigious facility was
frequently ennobled by genuine talent; their line-work, though too
often slighted, still showed a certain degree of conscientiousness,
and some of their works are really worthy of admiration. But they too
were infected with the malady of the century; they sacrificed
themselves to the taste of their day, which was definitely degraded to
the extravagances of fashion and the frivolities of gallantry. They
were wholly lacking in the ability to impart to this type of painting
the vivacious charm which the graceful and smiling ease of Watteau,
Fragonard, and Boucher bestowed upon it in France. There was no ground
for hoping that they would ever effect a renaissance of the Spanish

Finally Charles III. summoned to Madrid a painter of German origin,
Mengs by name, who at that time was regarded as the Messiah of an art
which was destined to unite “the grace of Apelles, the expression of
Raphael, the chiaroscuro of Correggio, and the colouring of Titian!”
Unusually gifted though he was, Mengs did not possess the necessary
calibre to fulfil such brilliant promises. Haunted by the great
compositions of Le Brun, he confined himself to the mythological order
of painting and drew his inspiration from his illustrious model,
without ever achieving an equal eminence or duplicating the latter’s
admirable skill in composition. Upon his appointment as Superintendent
of Fine-Arts in Spain, he established a sort of artistic dictatorship,
which forced Spanish painting as a whole to adopt his own special
aesthetic creed. The influence of Mengs would have been even more
disastrous than that of his predecessors, if Providence had not placed
Goya in the path of the artist monk of Saragossa.

Goya made his appearance, and with him Spanish art underwent a renewal
and an aggrandizement. With one formidable backward leap, he attained
the point of the broken tradition, in order to reweld the glorious
chain. No intermediary connects him with the splendid lineage of
Spanish painters. He proceeds directly from them. He is the natural
heir of Velazquez and Zurbaran. He has their ardour, their vehemence,
their passionate love for nature; like them, he finds the source of
his strength in direct observation; as with them, the secret of his
genius resides in that inner flame which bursts out of bounds in
blazing flashes, with no clever trickery, no premeditation, but with
that spontaneity which is born only of a clear vision, aided by a
vigorous brush.

Nevertheless, this descendant of bygone masters is the most modern of
all Spanish painters. He is never imitative, he always creates. From
the living springs of great art he draws only what he needs to sustain
his strength: a pious reverence for form, conscientiousness in
line-work, sobriety of colour, and harmony of the component parts. For
the rest, he is wholly of his own time, and of none other than his own
time. He is truly the painter of national Spanish life. What he paints
most willingly, most gladly, are the dances, the games, the joyous
gatherings, the _corridas_, full of ardour and of movement, the
_majas_, the _manolas_, the _toreros_, all the popular types; and one
and all, as he pictures them, are spirited, life-like, entertaining,
and well grouped, standing out boldly against their background of
spreading fields, or bathing gaily in the violent clarity of the
sunshine of Castile.

When considered under this double aspect, surrounded by the twin
aureole of classicism and realism, Goya is seen to be an exceptional
nature. He builds his fantasies upon a solid foundation of technique,
and it is precisely because he founds his work upon this impregnable
basis that he is able without apprehension to challenge the judgment
of future centuries, and that his name will descend through the ages
crowned with an unfading glory.


Francisco José Goya was born at Fuendetodos, in the province of
Aragon, on the 13th of March, 1746. His father, José Goya, and his
mother, Gracia Lucientes, were humble peasants and lived upon the
product of the sluggish fields that surrounded their modest home.
What the childhood of José was, we do not know, for his biographers
are silent upon this point. They content themselves with saying that
he aided his parents in the daily round of tasks upon the farm. As to
his education, it was certainly that of all the young peasant boys of
the Spanish farming districts. The child must have acquired the first
rudiments from the village priest, or perhaps from the monks of the
nearest convent. Reading, writing, and a little arithmetic made up the
whole equipment that young José possessed at the age of fifteen. How
his taste for drawing was first born, what occurrence or what object
awakened his artistic instinct, we do not know. Perhaps, like so many
others, he became suddenly conscious of his vocation at the sight of
some of those cruel and violent pictures representing scenes of the
Passion, such as abound in Spanish churches, and it is not unlikely
that his youthful soul received a profound and lasting impression.


    (Museum of the Louvre)

    The Louvre is not rich in works by Goya; it possesses only four.
    But the portrait of a woman, which is here reproduced, belongs
    to the period of the painter’s second manner, in which a most
    precise realism went hand in hand with a vaporous lightness and
    a pervading grayness of tone that recalls the most delicate
    creations of Prudhon. But the execution is vigorous, and in the
    expression of the face and in the employment of the colours
    there are a sureness and an intensity that are remarkable.]

However this may be, at the age of fifteen Goya could handle his
pencil with sufficient assurance to astonish the worthy monk of
Saragossa, who was a judge of such matters. The latter conducted his
young protégé to the city, and a few days later entered him as a pupil
in the studio of Don José Lujan Martinez.

This Lujan was a Saragossan by birth, but he had studied painting in
Naples under the guidance of Mastréolo. Possessing considerable
talent, he enjoyed a great reputation in his native city. Upon his
return from Italy, he had founded a free school of design, a sort of
academy which was maintained wholly by his own contributions, both of
money and of time.

Among the artists who were trained in this studio, there were some who
left names highly esteemed in Spain: Beraton, Vallespin, Antonio
Martinez the goldsmith, and Francisco Bayeu de Subias. With the last
named of this group Goya formed a particular attachment,
notwithstanding that Bayeu was twelve years the elder.

Goya remained in Lujan’s studio for between four and five years. His
fiery and impulsive temperament had already begun to declare itself,
and his master did not always succeed in moderating his exuberance. He
manifested an extraordinary diligence in his work, he was enamoured of
his art, and showed exceptional aptitude for it. From the first months
he became the most interesting feature in the studio; his imagination,
his enthusiasm, his assurance often surprised his master and stupefied
his comrades, who were accustomed to a calmer and less violent manner
of painting. At this epoch his character was already beginning to
form; one could foresee in him the man that he was destined to be
throughout his life. He was no less ardent in his pleasures than in
his work. He was the true type of the hot-headed Aragonais, and at the
age of nineteen revealed himself, headstrong, turbulent, a born
fighter. He threw himself, heart and soul, into the battles that
occurred so frequently at that time throughout Aragon between the
young men of the different parishes. Uniting in rival gangs, fiercely
jealous of one another, they were always ready on holiday evenings to
settle some question of superiority, and any excuse for an encounter
was welcomed by them. More than once, for the greater honour of San
Luis or of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, the club and knife scattered
blood over the streets and suburbs of Saragossa.

Goya took part in all these battles, flung himself into them, body and
soul, tumultuously aiding and abetting this hazardous and adventurous
mode of life, which had the flavour of romantic fiction. In the course
of one of these collisions, three young men belonging to the rival
faction were left stiff and stark on the battle-ground. Goya, who was
one of those most directly implicated in the affair, was warned that
the Inquisition intended to arrest him. Although it no longer
possessed the terrible power of earlier times, the Inquisition was
even then by no means light-handed, and there was still serious danger
in bringing oneself under its notice. Goya was well aware of this, and
he did not wait for the arrival of the _alguazils_. That same night he
left the city and wended his way to Madrid, which, as it happened, it
had long been his dream to visit.

In Madrid he once more ran across his friend Bayeu, who had been
living there for the past two years. Bayeu was drawing a pension from
the academy of San Fernando, and he also had the good luck of being
favoured by Mengs, the all powerful Superintendent of Fine-Arts, who
had asked him to collaborate in his great task of decorating the royal

Bayeu welcomed his young comrade with open arms and invited him to
have a share in his present work. But we must infer that Mengs’s
technique and method of teaching were already displeasing to Goya, for
he courteously declined the offer. In any case, he had not come to
Madrid in search of employment, but for the purpose of continuing his
education. All day long he visited the artistic marvels of the
capital, made the rounds of churches and convents, studied the old
masters, executed copies, and even penetrated into the royal dwellings
in order to admire the works of art which they contained, observing
extensively, reflecting, comparing, and, in a word, equipping his
profound intelligence with precious material for the future. But in
Madrid, just as in Saragossa, work was not allowed to interfere with
his pleasures. He was always to be found in quest of adventure; he
roamed the streets, sword under cape and guitar in hand, serenading
the sparkling black eyes that looked down laughingly at him from the
ambush of their window-blinds, and stirring husbands to a jealous
fury; or again, breaking the peace with a crowd of boisterous
companions; or still again, scaling the balcony of his latest
conquest, “and thus playing the prelude to that reputation of an
audacious, swash-buckling Don Juan, which later was destined to earn
him, even among the lower classes, an incredible notoriety.”

At this period Goya was a young man of haughty presence, somewhat
below the average stature, but exceedingly well proportioned. Although
his features lacked regularity, his face was attractive. It had a
pleasant air of joviality and frankness; there was a sparkle to his
eye and a lurking spirit of mischief around his lips. He had,
furthermore, an affable manner, an unabashed assurance, a mad bravado,
and the impudence of a lackey. Thanks to the friends whom he had
gained, he was favourably received by a goodly number of distinguished
families, where the charm of his personality played havoc with the
hearts of the women.

This agreeable pastime could not fail to entail its own dangers, as
Goya was not long in learning by experience. On a certain fine
evening, when he had doubtless been lurking beneath some balcony, he
was picked up in an obscure side street, where he lay stretched at
full length, with a gaping poignard thrust in his back. It was
necessary to keep him hidden for a time, in order to protect him from
the unwelcome curiosity of the police; and later, when the affair had
become noised abroad, he was forced to quit Madrid, just as he had
quitted Saragossa, clandestinely, without even waiting for his wound
to be completely healed.

In order to give his escapade a chance to be forgotten, Goya, who for
some time past had desired to visit Italy, set sail, with Rome for his

From the moment of his arrival he came fully under the spell of the
marvels accumulated in the Eternal City. He passed entire days in the
presence of the masterpieces of the great artists. He admired them
with all his heart, yet without surrendering his right to independent
criticism. He recognized instinctively that there was nothing in all
these illustrious compositions which corresponded to his own personal
temperament, and that his fiery soul could ill adapt itself to the
calculated and almost geometric composition of the great frescoes in
the Vatican. But he possessed too deep a reverence for art to disdain
the admirable science of those great forerunners. There, beyond
question, was the ideal opportunity for study; and in the presence of
those celebrated canvases he absolutely forgot himself; he analyzed
their intimate beauties, compared the styles and colour schemes of the
different schools, scrutinized their methods, and forced himself to
penetrate and understand them. He did not attempt to copy a single one
of them; he felt that he would gain nothing by doing so, but that on
the contrary he might lose. This singular method of abstract study,
which may be called the method of intuition, explains perhaps how so
frank an individuality as that of Goya, far from being enfeebled by
contact with the past, became on the contrary stronger and more
genuinely alive. As a matter of fact, his talent owes nothing, or
practically nothing, to the art of Italy.

    [Illustration: PLATE IV.--PORTRAIT OF GOYA

    (Museum of the Prado, Madrid)

    In this portrait the artist is already old, but his physiognomy
    has preserved that vivacity of movement, that expression of
    penetration and irony, which made him such a brilliant figure at
    the Court of Spain. This work, like every other which bears his
    signature, is distinguished by the vigour of its execution and
    beauty of colouring.]

During his sojourn in Rome, Goya came in contact with David. Curious
phenomenon; these two natures who were so different in character and
temperament, and whose artistic tastes were almost antagonistic, felt
themselves invincibly attracted towards each other. It is true that
they both shared to an equal degree the philosophic ideas of the
period, and that they had the same ideal; namely, the liberation of
the people. They were destined later, each in his own country, to be
caught in the full whirlwind of the Revolution; and these mutual ties,
divined rather than expressed, created between David and Goya an
undying friendship. Because they liked each other, they appreciated
each other’s work, in spite of the divergence between their talents;
and Goya, even in extreme old age, always spoke with emotion of the
“great David.”

In Rome, as in Madrid, Goya was not long in distinguishing himself by
perilous escapades. Señor Carderera relates that at one time “He
carved his name with his knife on the lantern of Michelangelo’s
cupola, on a corner of a certain stone which not one of the artists,
German, English, or French, who had preceded him in the mad ascent,
had succeeded in reaching; and on another day he made the circuit of
the tomb of Cecilia Metella, barely supporting himself upon the narrow
projection of the cornice.”

But these were merely childish pranks; before long he had involved
himself in a far more dangerous adventure, especially in the city of
the Popes. He had become infatuated with a young girl in the higher
circles of Roman society, and formed the project of eloping with her.
Being warned in time, the parents placed their daughter beyond his
reach, within the austere shelter of a convent. This setback, however,
was not sufficient to discourage the gallant artist, it only spurred
him on to bolder ventures. He resolved to snatch his fair lady from
the very hands of her jailors, and one night he attempted to invade
the convent itself. But he was captured and handed over to justice.
In order to extricate himself from this awkward dilemma, far more
awkward at Rome than it would have been anywhere else, he was forced
to appeal to the Spanish ambassador, who intervened and demanded his
surrender by the Holy See. Goya was restored to liberty, but on
condition that he should take immediate leave of Rome.

He now returned to Saragossa, for the sake of his aged parents, with
whom he spent the closing months of the year 1774, after which he once
more set forth for Madrid. There he again fell in with his faithful
friend, Bayeu, discovered himself to be in love with the latter’s
sister, Josefa Bayeu, and married her a few months later.

His brother-in-law again offered to introduce him to Mengs, and this
time, weary no doubt of adventures, he accepted the offer. The
Superintendent of Fine-Arts gave him a most cordial reception. We have
already had occasion to refer to the almost despotic authority which
Mengs at this period exerted over Spanish art and the singular
direction in which he had guided it. In the decorative works which he
was conducting in the palaces at Madrid and Aranjuez, there was, in
the words of M. Charles Yriarte, “nothing but an agglomeration of
struggles of Titans, apotheoses, triumphs of Hercules, and
glorifications of Ceres; but Goya soon came to scale Olympus, and turn
Venus into a manola, and substitute his frightful _Saturn devouring
his Children_, in his _Quinta_ [Goya’s country house], for the figure
of Father Time, with his traditional stooping shoulders, partaking of
his progeny with prudence and circumspection.”

Up to this moment Goya had been far more intent upon observing and
learning than upon painting; he had as yet produced nothing, and no
one even suspected the powerful faculties that were dormant in him.
More as a favour to Bayeu than from any personal confidence, Mengs
entrusted him with the composition of some cartoons for the royal
manufactory of Santa Barbara. Goya set to work, and from the start
broke squarely away from the superannuated tradition of the
Superintendent. Throwing aside the entire paraphernalia of mythology,
he confined his cartoons wholly to subjects borrowed from national
life. In this work he gave free rein to the full spontaneity of his
talent and to his riotous imagination, and in the course of it he
revealed the full wealth of his imagination and his marvellous
instinct for decorative art. The result was a revelation: a genuine
ovation greeted these modern compositions, so full of life and
movement and colour. Mengs himself, who was not lacking either in
intelligence or in taste, was frankly delighted and warmly
congratulated the young artist. At Court and in the city nothing was
talked of but Goya and his cartoons; from this moment he entered upon
his true role as national painter.

    [Illustration: PLATE V.--THE DUCHESS OF ALBA

    (Collection of the Duke of Alba, Madrid)

    This superb portrait, the privilege of reproducing which we owe
    to his Excellence, the Duke of Alba, was painted by Goya with
    all the confidence of genius, guided by gratitude and
    friendship. The ties of mutual esteem which united the artist
    and the duchess are well known, and this portrait in a certain
    sense constitutes an acknowledgment of it.]

This first attempt had the result of enlightening Goya as to his own
powers. Not that he had previously mistrusted them, but he had feared
that he was not yet sufficiently equipped to venture upon a public
appearance. But on the strength of the success of his cartoons he took
stock of himself as follows: “He was thirty years of age and he
realized now that he had only to take his brush in hand in order to
become a great painter.”

Henceforth, throughout a period of more than fifty years, he was
destined to produce unweariedly, trying his hand at the most diverse
types, alternating between painting and engraving; and in his
life-work, which, taken as a whole, is one of the vastest and most
varied that ever came from any artist, he has given us the measure of
his prodigious fecundity.

He made his debut in genre painting, and he drew his inspiration
straight from the life of the people. Spain, for that matter,
furnished an exceptional nutriment for his order of talent; land that
it was of vivid light, ardent colour, picturesque manners and curious
costumes, it was well designed to fire that vigorous and impulsive
nature to the highest pitch of enthusiasm. And hence, while Madrid
looked on and marvelled, there came in swift succession from his brush
a whole series of pictures saturated with local colour: bull fights,
attacks of bandits, clandestine meetings, processions, masquerades,
all the life of the Spanish city and the Spanish highway, reproduced
in piquant, accurate, brightly coloured scenes, of charming naïveté
and exquisite naturalness, replete with vivacity and riotous fancy.

On closer inspection it would be easy to find a certain amount of
incorrectness in the drawing. Some of his bulls, especially, are
endowed with anatomical proportions that at best only approximate the
truth. But they have such spirit, such vigour, such nimbleness, such
furious agility, that we feel ourselves snatched up and borne along by
this living whirlwind, this intensity of movement, almost as though we
were bodily present in the arena where the blood-stained drama is in
the course of enactment. As to the colouring, it is very light and
very luminous and silvery.

Almost at the same period Goya published a collection of etchings in
which he had reproduced the most celebrated masterpieces of Velazquez.
It was a daring venture, but it had no terrors for the young artist.
Goya did no injustice to Velazquez; he succeeded most felicitously in
reproducing in these etchings not only the design, but the colour
values and characteristic spirit of his model. This magnificent
series, executed during the year 1778, comprises sixteen pieces, which
to-day are of inestimable value.

That same year the Franciscans went to great expense to decorate their
church; they appealed to the most renowned artists which Madrid at
that period possessed. Goya was entrusted with the decoration of a
chapel which required two paintings. The subjects specified were a
_Christ on the Cross_ and a _St. Francis Preaching_. The _Christ on
the Cross_ is distinguished by a very fine religious spirit, enhanced
by its admirable drawing and by a dignity quite its own. The fine and
delicate modelling suggests comparison with the most perfect works of
Italy; and the whole painting is overspread with an infinitely light
surface coat of colour, very luminous and very pale.

This canvas is the best of all Goya’s religious works. On the
contrary, his _St. Francis Preaching_ in no way deserved the vogue
which it enjoyed at the time, both at Court and in the city circles.
Its heavy composition, pretentious and ill balanced, did no credit to
any of Goya’s qualities, save that of colourist, in which respect he
was always interesting.

Goya was now the idol of the whole population of Madrid, who revelled
in his fantasies and regarded him as their national painter. Already
celebrated through his scenes of the life of the people, he had now
acquired a new prestige through the fame of his religious paintings;
and there was good reason for astonishment that he had not yet been
rewarded by any official honour. His rival painters had scant love for
him, or, to put it more frankly, they hated the powerful originality
of his talent so far removed from the slow product of their
uninspired toil. In order to belittle him, they censured the
incorrectness of his drawing and the violent character of his
subjects. But public opinion triumphed over this dead weight of
malevolence. However reluctantly, the Academy of Saint-Marc welcomed
him among its members on the seventh of May, 1780, hailing him as
“academician by merit.”

A few months later the Chapter of Nuestra Señora del Pilar at
Saragossa decided to have its sanctuary decorated and instituted a
competition among the leading artists of Spain, under the direction of
Goya’s brother-in-law, Francisco Bayeu. Goya decided to compete, and
one of the vaults, with its adjacent panels, was assigned to him. The
sketches which he submitted were only half satisfactory, and the
Chapter requested him to modify them. Goya took the criticisms in ill
part, imputing them, whether rightly or wrongly, to his
brother-in-law’s jealousy, and refused in any way to modify his
designs. A bitter quarrel might have resulted, if mutual friends had
not intervened to reconcile the two artists. Finally, Goya agreed to
make certain concessions; the vault was entrusted to him, and he
forthwith commenced the execution of his frescoes.

The subject chosen represented _The Virgin and the Martyred Saints in
their Glory_. This immense work required no less than three years of
the artist’s time, and he expended upon it all his science and all his
exceptional qualities as a colourist. It is an attractive work,
cleverly composed, possessing a fine decorative effect, brilliant and
warm, and in no way inferior to the most resplendent frescoes of
Tiepolo. Only one thing was lacking, the religious spirit, of which
Goya was wholly destitute. In works of this order, dexterity is not
sufficient; the breath of the inner zeal is necessary; cleverness,
dexterity, the gift of colour, cannot make up for the absence of
faith. As often as Goya attempted religious painting, the result
showed the same general order of deficiencies, because he always
treated his subjects solely as a painter, and not, after the manner of
Raphael and Correggio, as a devout believer.

Furthermore, the ideal was not in his line; the dominant note of his
talent, before all else, was naturalism. Genre painter by temperament,
he sought by preference for the picturesque aspect of his subjects.
Owing to these conditions, his frescoes at Saragossa and in general
all his large religious compositions are in reality nothing else than
vast genre paintings.


At the same time that he was painting his frescoes and his scenes of
popular life, Goya also tried his skill at portraiture. In this branch
of his art his success was immediate and complete. From his very first
attempts he attained the highest possible reputation. From morning
till night he saw his studio besieged by all the most distinguished
figures in the society of the Court and the city. It soon became
the fashion, the rage, to have oneself painted by Goya. They stood in
line at his door; they brought all sorts of influence to bear to
obtain the favour of a sitting. All the celebrities of the period,
poets, scientists, political luminaries, equally with ladies of rank
and reigning beauties, succumbed to this unheard-of vogue, which
persisted, we may add, to the very end of the master’s long career.
Furthermore, his portraits form the most extensive part of his
life-work, and at the same time the part which is the most
indisputable and the most perfect.


    (Museum of the Prado, Madrid)

    Goya was the favourite painter of the king Charles IV, who
    conferred upon him the title of First Painter. In this fine
    painting, which raised the reputation of the artist to its
    zenith, the members of the royal family are admirably and
    sincerely rendered, without a trace of flattery. All the
    degeneracy of the dynasty is to be read in these countenances,
    in terms of convincing eloquence.]

There are nearly two hundred portraits that are known to have been
painted by Goya. They are not all of equal value, and in some of them
we feel a certain degree of carelessness of execution, which is to be
explained by the rapid workmanship demanded of him by the abundance of
his orders. But however hasty the work may be, there are always to be
found in it the essential qualities of this artist: a surety of
expression, a free yet firm outline, and an incredible understanding
of his model’s personality. Goya did not trouble himself to embellish
his patrons, for he was no flatterer; if the man or woman who posed
before him was homely, Goya’s pencil would do nothing towards
correcting the injustices of nature. That was not his business; but he
was able, with an unsurpassed clearness of vision, to catch upon his
canvas that flashing glance, that fugitive gleam of the inner soul
which, at some precise moment, is sure to transfigure the most
unlovely features. What distinguished him above all else was his
originality, that purely personal stamp, thanks to which it is
impossible not to recognize a Goya from the first instant. There is in
him something that he shares in common with all the great
portraitists, and yet he resembles no one of them. He is Goya.

In the portraits painted in costume, now to be seen in the museum at
Madrid, he somewhat approached the manner of Velazquez; under this
class might be mentioned the portraits of the Infante Don Luis and his
family, that of the Count of Florida-Blanca, of the Duchess of Alba,
and of General Urrutia, which is a magnificent masterpiece. All these
portraits possess distinction, bold relief, and a lofty carriage which
recalls the free and noble manner of the painter of Philip IV.

At other times his brush took on a milder manner, shading off into
soft and vaporous tints that set us thinking of Reynolds and of
Prudhon, especially in those intimate portraits into which he has put
the greatest spontaneity. In this class belong the admirable _Young
Man in Gray_, the painter’s grandson--this portrait is certainly one
of the most beautiful of all Goya’s works--and the famous portraits of
Moratin, Boyeu, Josefa Bayeu, the architect Villanueva, and the two
_Majas_, both the nude and the clothed, which are said to be portraits
of the Duchess of Alba, taken in the same pose but under two different
aspects. We may also include among the works of his second manner the
two portraits of woman which hang in the Louvre; _The Woman with the
Fan_, which is reproduced in the present volume, and the _Portrait of
a Young Woman_, which, together with the _Ferdinand Guillemardet_, are
the only paintings by Goya which France’s chief national museum

All these portraits are admirably conceived, in a simple, natural
form, without superfluous details, and they are freely painted, in a
rich and solid colouring, and stand out from the canvas, substantial,
harmonious, pulsing with life, against those vaporous and imponderable
backgrounds of which, since Velazquez, Goya alone has found the

At this epoch Goya was not only a celebrated painter, he was also a
man of fashion, mingling with persons of the highest rank. The Infante
Don Luis kept him throughout entire seasons at his palace of Arenas de
San Pedro, in the province of Avila, and it was there that Goya
executed an entire series of magnificent portraits and genre
paintings which belong to-day to the Counts of Chinchón. “Then there
are the Benaventes, Dukes of Ossuna and of Candia, who for a period of
more than ten years ordered work after work from him, at one time
religious compositions, destined for the cathedral at Valencia, such
as _St. Francis of Barja bidding Farewell to his Family_ and _St.
Francis exhorting an Impenitent Dying Man_, celebrated pictures which
have been reproduced by the engraver Peleguer,--at other times
portraits of the family, and lastly, a series of twenty-seven genre
pictures for their _Alameda_ in the environs of Madrid.”

Idyllic and anecdotic scenes play by far the larger part in these
compositions. There is an _Al Fresco Breakfast_, in the midst of a
delightful landscape, a _Dance beside the Water_, a _Hunter showing
his Family the Game that he has Killed_, a _Harvesting the Hay_, a
_Resting from Labour_, a _Greased Pole_, a _Comical Accident at a
Picnic_, a _Winter Landscape_, _The Seasons_, _Workmen constructing a
Building_, _Highwaymen attacking a Stage-coach_, _Gypsies playing at
See-saw_, _Bulls in the Arroyo_, and lastly some of those inexplicable
“caprices,” bizarre fantasies in which Goya mingles sorcerers and
horned demons with members of the Inquisition.

Goya frequently introduced Inquisitors into his scenes; he had felt
their claws early in life and had borne them a grudge ever since.

The most important and most celebrated canvas in this collection is
_The Romeria of San Isidro_. This is the great festival in honour of
the patron saint of Madrid. “The whole populace has come to make merry
on the banks of the Manzanares, and the vast meadow which stretches
from the hill-top where the saint’s hermitage stands, down to the very
water’s edge, is covered by an immense throng, motley and variegated,
pressing and crowding around the tents of the acrobats, the vendors’
booths, the open-air kitchens, and wine-shops. All this picturesque
world is divided into a thousand varied groups; here a circle has been
formed around a man strumming on a guitar; over yonder a merry set is
forming; there is quarrelling, dancing, drinking; there are meetings
and partings, and in the midst of all this swarming multitude we watch
the coming and going of pages, troopers, porters, members of the
body-guard in their red coats, amidst an indescribable pell-mell of
carriages with gaily decked steeds, and of _calesinos_ with bodies
painted in atrocious colours, which are overturned by the restive
mules as they break away. In the foreground, dominating the whole
scene, pretty women shading themselves under pink silk parasols, and
well garbed personages grouped in easy and unaffected attitudes, form
a most ingenious and charming framework for the scenes which are being
enacted at their feet. In the background of the picture, above and
beyond the Manzanares, we see the palace with its terraced gardens and
the city with its towers and domes. Here are San Francisco el Grande
and the Cuesta de la Vega, and yonder is the famous Barrio de

Treated in a warm and luminous scale of colour, lustrous with subtle
and vivid tones, this sparkling page remains unsurpassed, because of
the infinite care which Goya expended in order to give variety and an
astonishing degree of precision to even the minutest of its multifold

The pictures of country life, such as the _Al Fresco Breakfast_, _The
See-saw_, _The Dance_, _The Picnic_, show us Goya under still another
aspect. The first time that one sees these pictures in the _Alameda_
one would say that they were the product of the brush of some one of
the French painters of the eighteenth century; one is tempted to
attribute them to Watteau or Fragonard; and it is true that Goya
chose, like them, to reproduce the fashions and frivolities of his
time; but even while he imitated the vanities and affectations of
these masters, he remained nevertheless a Spaniard, and his types and
his costumes are represented with the most scrupulous truth.

    [Illustration: PLATE VII.--LA TIRANA

    (Museum of the Prado, Madrid)

    La Tirana was a famous actress in Madrid during the reign of
    Charles IV. Goya painted her at the time when he was in the full
    height of his renown, and celebrities of every kind at the
    capital quarrelled with one another for the privilege of being
    painted by him.]

On the 25th of April, 1789, a few months after Charles IV. ascended
the throne, a royal order raised Goya to the dignity of _Pintor da
Camara_, which corresponded to _Peintre Ordinaire du Roi_, a title
formerly bestowed upon French artists. This distinction gave him, as
in the case of Gentlemen of the Bed-chamber, free entry to the palace.
Under the new king the Court had taken on a new aspect. During the
reign of the devout Charles III. it was constrained to all the outward
show of austere piety which recalled the morose years under the
monarchs of the House of Austria. Under the new king everything was
changed, laughter was revived, festivals recommenced, and with them,
intrigues of gallantry and licentiousness. Scandals multiplied, and
the example came from high up; Queen Maria-Luisa herself set the pace
for a society that had been parched with thirst for pleasure, and she
flaunted before the whole nation her absolute contempt of decency and
her unbridled appetite for dissipation. The epoch of the high favour
of the Prince de la Paix began. Goya, whose marriage had but poorly
reformed him, welcomed this change of regime with enthusiasm. He was
already something more than celebrated in Madrid because of his
prowess with the fair sex, famous for his duels, an adept at all the
nicer usages through his constant association with the upper circles;
consequently he felt himself fully at ease in this atmosphere of
shamelessness and incontinence. He had some famous intrigues and
illustrious _liaisons_, which he did not even take the trouble to
conceal. Possessed of a caustic and subtle wit, and untroubled by
scruples, he was much sought after for the brilliance and the daring
of his conversation. Those who did not like him learned to fear him.
Before long he had scored an even bigger success as a man than as an
artist. Through contact with men of rank, he had acquired not only
assurance but a certain air of haughtiness verging upon insolence.
Being drawn into the circles of the Duchess of Alba and Duchess of
Ossuna, who at that time, like rival queens, were disputing the
sceptre of fashion and pleasure, he witnessed and shared in many a
boudoir intrigue, taking sides in these women’s quarrels, at one time
supporting the one side, then again going over to the other, and at
last coming out openly in favour of the Duchess of Alba, who at that
time was waging a silent warfare with Maria-Luisa. Having become the
_cavaliere servente_ of the Duchess, he no longer contented himself
with plotting intrigues or launching epigrams; but he translated his
opinions into the form of satiric caricatures, in which he mercilessly
ridiculed the adversaries of his fair lady. The arrows that he
launched flew so high that the outraged queen exiled the Duchess from
her court and gave the _Pintor da Camara_ a leave of absence. Goya and
the Duchess set forth side by side on the road to Andalusia, sharing
the period of their disfavour on a distant estate belonging to the
Duchess of Alba.

This exile, however, was of short duration and only served to
increase the artist’s reputation for gallantry. The king, who loved
him in spite of his follies, recalled him and entrusted him with the
frescoes for the chapel of San Antonio de la Florida. The task was a
considerable one; it included the painting of a vast cupola and
several smaller vaults, tympanums, and arches. Behold then our
libertine philosopher transformed once more into a religious painter.
Within three months he had completed the entire scheme of the
decoration. The subject chosen was as follows: _St. Anthony of Padua
resuscitating a Dead Man in Order to Make him Reveal the Name of his
Murderer_. Goya placed his saint upon an eminence, from which he calls
upon the dead man to come forth; the latter has already arisen from
his tomb, has joined his hands, and is about to speak. On the right
and left the compact throng press forward, anxious to see the miracle
accomplished. All around the cupola the artist has pictured a sort of
gallery on which the spectators lean, and among them we see a child
with its legs dangling in space. This composition is remarkable in its
sense of movement and varied interest. But what distinguishes it
especially from other works of its type is that Goya, through an
obstinate adherence to realism which cannot fail to cause some little
surprise, thought that he was bound to adopt for all the personages in
his picture both the costumes and the types of his own time. “His
women are true _manolas_, draping themselves in their mantillas, and
his men are men of the people, _arrieros_ proudly wrapped in their
mantles of motley colour. In the corbels of the arches Goya painted
cherubim, haloes, and angels, and he endowed these celestial beings
with feminine charms and carnal graces that were far too reminiscent
of the seductions of the earth. It is related that Goya used the
ladies of the Court as models for these feminine countenances, and
that on the day when the frescoes were unveiled, Charles IV. expressed
his displeasure to the artist in unmeasured terms.”

From 1796 to 1797 Goya published that curious series of compositions
done in etching and in water-colour which he entitled _Caprices_. And
they were quite literally caprices through their infinite diversity of
subject and the oftentimes extravagant fantasy of their execution.
Scenes of local manners ironically interpreted, mocking allusions to
popular superstitions, trenchant criticisms of public men and
political institutions, attacks of unheard-of violence upon the
established religion and its dogmas, pitiless satires upon the
Inquisition and more especially upon the monastic orders, and finally
prophetic dreams and visions of the future make up the contents of
this singularly complex work which concealed a most audacious motive
underneath its apparent fantasy. And all this treated with a sparkling
brilliance, a diabolical cleverness that is carried sometimes to the
point of brutality, with a realism that often causes a sort of
revulsion. As to the execution, it is remarkable: the lines are
clear-cut and vigorous, the design is solid, almost schematic in
places for the purpose of enhancing the energy; with incomparable art,
Goya makes use of contrasts for the purpose of obtaining astonishing
relief, perfect modelling, and effects of light that produce the
illusion of painting. In these compositions he shows the variety and
flexibility of his talent, which undertook with equal felicity the
most widely diverse branches of his art.

In Spain these _Caprices_ enjoyed a very considerable success, but
they caused considerable discomfort to their author. At one time their
publication was suspended. The Inquisition, which had been especially
maltreated in these designs, became once more threatening, and showed
an implacable ardour in its quest for vengeance. Nevertheless, it
failed of its purpose, thanks to the kind offices of the Prince de la
Paix, who was himself hostile to the monks and took Goya under his
protection. In accordance with his advice, Goya offered his _Caprices_
to the king, Charles IV., who, acting in accord with his minister,
accepted them for his collection of copper-plates. Having thus found
shelter behind the august presence, Goya became invulnerable; and the
Inquisition had to let its prey escape.

On the 31st of October, 1799, Goya became First Painter to the king.
He was at that time fifty-three years of age. Neither years nor
indulgences had undermined his robust organism or diminished his
talent. On the contrary, it was at this epoch that his manner
underwent a transformation which bears witness once again to the
resources and the vitality of this exceptional nature. A study of the
works of Rembrandt had awakened in him a violent passion for the
effects of light and of chiaroscuro, and from this time forward we
find him practising this difficult art and manifesting in it a
remarkable mastery and originality. In this style of painting, which
was new to him, he achieved masterpieces from the first attempt, such
for instance as the _Betrayal by Judas_, in the cathedral at Toledo,
which might have been signed by Correggio or Rembrandt. The patch
of light, which throws into strong relief the suffering face of Christ
and the hideous countenance of Judas, is distributed in a masterly
fashion and in no wise detracts from the luminous transparency of the

    [Illustration: PLATE VIII.--JOSEFA BAYEU

    (Museum of the Prado, Madrid)

    Josefa Bayeu was the sister of the painter Francisco Bayeu, like
    Goya, a native of Aragon, and his intimate friend. It was in the
    home of his comrade that Goya fell in love with Josefa and
    married her. He had one son, Xavier Goya. This portrait is
    considered as one of the best executed by the artist.]

In this work, as in all others by this artist, both the personal and
the national note are found to be strongly imprinted; all the
participants in this scene are authentic Spaniards, whose classic
types may still be recognized to-day in every city throughout the

Mention also should be made, among the works in which Goya ventured
upon chiaroscuro, of the celebrated picture in the Escuelas Pias in
Madrid, representing _The Communion of St. Joseph Calasanz_, and of
the spacious and original canvases with which he decorated the walls
of his own home.

We now arrive at that turbulent period, extending from 1800 to 1814,
which marked an era of national calamities for Spain. The facts are
familiar: as a result of court intrigues, the luckless and unhappy
Charles IV. found himself in 1808 forced to abdicate in favour of his
son; then came the invasion of Spain by the imperial armies, the
odious treachery of Bayonne which made Ferdinand II. a prisoner and a
dethroned king, while Napoleon, following his mad dream of universal
conquest, placed his own brother, Joseph, on the throne of Charles V.;
and finally there came the awakening of invaded Spain and its splendid
national defence, resulting in the expulsion of the enemy and the fall
of the Empire.

All these years of struggle and patriotic frenzy Goya passed in his
_quinta_, where he had shut himself up in complete isolation, taking
no part in the events which were shaking Spain to its foundations.
This attitude of his gave rise to a great amount of comment. In the
eyes of many, Goya was an _afrancesado_, a partisan of the French
invasion; but there seem to be no grounds that would justify anyone in
offering him such an insult. It may be that, pledged as he was to
ideas of justice and liberty, he was not displeased to see the
downfall of a corrupt regime, under which Spain had been slowly dying.
But that he had looked on light-heartedly at the misfortunes of his
native land, and that he had not suffered to the very depths of his
Spanish soul, would indicate a depravity which no one has a right to
impute to him.

And if proof of this were needed, we could find it in his masterly
series of _The Misfortunes of War_, eloquent and melancholy
commentaries upon that troubled period, giving a gruesome panorama of
military executions, conflagrations, pillage, and famine; in a word,
the habitual and tragic accompaniment of a foreign invasion. Could an
artist who was indifferent have expressed himself in such pathetic
accents? Could a renegade have been stirred to such a point by all
these horrors? Furthermore, Goya made no overtures to the invaders.
While other Spaniards, willingly or unwillingly, figured at the court
of Murat and of Joseph, Goya remained in close retirement in his own
house, notwithstanding his natural fondness for adventures and
festivities. “But above and beyond his incontestable patriotism, a
more generous sentiment, loftier and more profoundly humane, emanates
from these sinister pages. What Goya hated beyond all else was war: it
spelled iniquity, despotism, and above all, tyranny. Nothing more
eloquent than this avenging protest has ever been formulated against
the spirit of conquest and the barbarous struggle of nation against
nation.” In about the year 1814, upon the return of Ferdinand II.,
Goya added to his _Misfortunes of War_ seventeen new plates, the
strangest and most daring of them all. This is the last and most
strenuous battle that he ever waged on behalf of all he loved against
all that he hated. What phials of wrath he poured out against
intrigue, conservatism, and falsehood, which stifle liberty and
repress human thought! What outbursts against the rogues who strive
desperately to destroy liberty and justice! Here is a picture in which
hypocrisy has conquered and has confiscated liberty: _Contra el Bien
General!_ Further on is another, in which truth is in its death agony:
_Murió la Verdad!_ But she will rise again: _Si Resusitará!_ for it is
impossible that she should disappear forever. Lastly, as a conclusion
to this work, Goya prophesied in an eloquent page the return of a
glorious era which should inaugurate the reign of liberty, love,
happiness, and peace. And it bore this legend: _This is the Truth!_

But the reign of Ferdinand VII. did not fulfil the generous hopes of
the great artist. With this king, the worst days of absolute monarchy
were revived in Spain; the triumphant reaction manifested itself by
persecutions, cruelties, and tyrannies of the most odious kind.
Whoever was even suspected of liberalism was marked for exile or for
prison. More than anyone else, Goya’s personal prominence exposed him
to the attacks of the reactionists, but his very fame protected him.
Ferdinand VII., when he received him one day, informed the aged artist
that he “deserved exile, and more than exile; he deserved death!” but
he consented to forget the past and he reappointed the artist to the
office of First Painter. It would seem as though such protection
should have sufficed to protect Goya from the machinations and
hostilities of his adversaries. But it did nothing of the sort. The
reactionary party would not consent that a liberal should escape its
vengeance, even though protected by royal immunity; so it continued to
hound him by means of secret intrigues and calumnies.

Goya, impatient and irascible by nature, could ill bear the malevolent
insinuations, allusions, and contemptuous terms; he found himself
stifling in such a poisoned atmosphere. Residence in Madrid had become
impossible for him; the greater number of his friends, less fortunate
than he, had already been forced into exile; and since the persecution
showed no signs of abating, he saw his circle of friends dwindling day
by day. At last he made up his mind to leave a native land that had
grown so inhospitable and hostile. He asked the king for a leave of
absence, and upon obtaining it crossed over into France.


Goya went first of all to Paris, but he made a stay there of short
duration. Almost all his friends from Madrid, whom Ferdinand VII. had
driven from Spain, had taken refuge in Bordeaux, where they formed a
veritable colony. He proceeded to join it and decided to settle down
among them.

He did not, however, remain inactive. This prodigious worker, who was
now nearly eighty years old, could not resign himself to rest; he once
again took up his brush with a hand which his great age could not yet
cause to tremble. Besides, he was not well off, possessing scarcely
anything besides his house in Spain and his pension as First Painter.

Accordingly, he continued to paint genre pictures and numerous
portraits. Those of Don Juan Maguire, M. Pio de Molina, and M. J.
Galos date from this epoch. He also painted another of his friends,
also exiled, whom he met again at Bordeaux--Moratin, the celebrated
Spanish poet, who, carried away by his passion for democracy, had sung
the French invasion in eloquent stanzas and now expiated his error in

Besides the portraits, Goya painted some very beautiful miniatures on
ivory, and he renewed his experiments in lithography, which he had
already undertaken in Madrid some years previous. His four large
examples representing _Bull Fights_ are masterpieces of colour and of

In 1827 Goya had to journey back to Madrid, in order to make a
personal appeal to the king for an extension of his leave of absence.
Since he could not persuade Goya to remain, the king freely granted
the favour requested; but he imposed one condition, and a very
flattering one to the artist: namely, that he would first allow his
portrait to be painted by Don Vicente Lopez, at that time _Pintor da
Camara_. This portrait is now to be seen at the museum in Madrid.

That same year he returned to Bordeaux and once more resumed his
cherished habits and his brush and palette. Many of the works of this
later period remained in France, and the museum at Bordeaux possesses
a considerable number of them.

Goya still continued to work, but his hands had begun to tremble and
he could no longer see without the aid of a lens. His strength was
failing and he felt that the end was drawing near. He sent for his
son, Xavier, who had continued to reside at Madrid; and a few days
later, on the 15th of April, 1828, he passed away in the arms of his
friends, at the age of eighty-two years and fifteen days.

Goya was truly a great artist in the noblest sense of the term. He
possessed qualities which were at one and the same time substantial
and brilliant; he was versatile and original, a spirited genre
painter and a remarkable portraitist. “In the tomb of Goya,” writes
Théophile Gautier, “the ancient art of Spain lies buried; gone forever
is the world of the _toreros_, the _majos_, the _manolas_, the
contrabandists, the _alguazils_, and the sorceresses, the entire local
colour of the Peninsula. He arrived in time to gather all this
together and to preserve it on his canvas. He fancied that he painted
only ‘caprices;’ yet what he really did was to paint the portrait of
bygone Spain, all the time convinced that he was giving his service to
the new ideas and new beliefs.”

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