Know Your Artist — By the Numbers: Francisco Goya

Know Your Artist — By the Numbers: Francisco Goya

Renowned Spanish painter and printmaker, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828), was considered to be one of the greatest painters of the late 18th century and early 19th century, encompassing the Romanticism movement. The artist rose to prominence for his commissioned portraits of the Spanish royalty and his art exemplifies the emphasis of Romanticism on subjectivity, imagination and emotion, which are most notably reflected in his prints and later private paintings.

Inspired from everyday life, he first painted numerous Rococo style cartoons which served as models for woven tapestries for a factory in Madrid. His employment at the Royal Tapestry Factory helped him to reinforce his career. He went on to paint portraits of various royal families that without artificially beautifying were unique creations of how he saw things. The Spanish Court’s formal portraits were painted in an extravagant virtuoso style, highlighting the royal household’s wealth and power while capturing the tiniest elements of the faces and clothes. Women are central to Goya’s work and his creations of ‘majas’ (the stylish and  bizarre members of the lower classes of Spain in the 18th and 19th century), witches and queens are some of his most bold and modern interpretations.

One of the greatest printmakers of all time, Goya is also celebrated for his achievements in etching and aquatint. He created four major print portfolios during his career — the “Caprichos,” “Proverbios,” “Tauromaquia” and “The Disasters of War.” The theme of his etchings swerves from dreamlike to outlandish, documentary to imagery and humorous to harshly satirical. Goya’s late works became progressively darker and pessimistic. His later paintings, prints and drawings appear to reflect a bleak outlook of his environment.

The upcoming Prints & Multiple auctions at Sotheby’s on March 26, 2019, in London, will present three prints by Goya belonging to the series “Caprichos,” “Tauromaquia” and “Los Desastres De La Guerra” (the Disasters of War). “La Tauromaquia” series, which illustrates the art of bullfighting, is one of Goya’s most notable and technically masterful works. The bizarre and dreamlike subjects in the “Los Caprichos” laid the foundation for Surrealists, while the works in “Los Desastres De La Guerra” series present an extensive indictment of war.


For details on the performance analysis of Francisco Goya’s artworks in the auction market, visit:

Founder: Louise Blouin




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