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Sometimes called the father of modern art, Spanish artist Francisco de Goya painted royal portraits as well as more subversive works in late 1700s and early 1800s.
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Goya also used his art record moments of the country's history. In 1808, France, led by Napoleon Bonaparte, invaded Spain. Napoleon installed his brother Joseph as the country's new leader. While he remained a court painter under Napoleon, Goya created a series of etchings depicting the horrors of war. After Spanish royalty regained the throne in 1814, he then painted "The Third of May,
" which showed to the true human costs of war. The work depicted the uprising in Madrid against French forces.
With Ferdinand VII now in power, Goya kept his position in the Spanish court despite having worked for Joseph Bonaparte. Ferdinand reportedly once told Goya that "You deserve to be garroted, but you are a great artist so we forgive you." Others in Spain were not so lucky as the king sought to crackdown on liberals who sought to make the country a constitutional state.
Despite the personal risks, Goya expressed his dissatisfaction with the Ferdinand's rule in a series of etchings called "Los disparates." These works featured a carnival theme and explored folly, lust, old age, suffering and death among other issues. With his grotesque imagery, Goya seemed to illustrate the absurdity of the times.
The political climate subsequently became so tense that Goya willingly went into exile in 1824. Despite his poor health, Goya thought he might be safer outside of Spain. Goya moved to Bordeaux, France, where he spent the remainder of his life. During this time, he continued to paint. Some of his later works included portraits of friends also living in exile. Goya died on April 16, 1828, in Bordeaux, France.
Goya married Josefa Bayeu y Subías, the sister of his art teachers Francisco and Ramón Bayeu y Subías. The couple had one child who lived to be an adult, their son Xavier.
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