Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes was born on March 30, 1746, in a small village of Fuendetodos, in the northeastern Spanish province of Aragon. Goya is considered by many to be the 'Father of Modern Art,' as he pioneered what would eventually become hallmark subject matter of 19th-century art in Europe, specifically industrialization, urbanization, the effects of war and revolution on society, and political corruption. Stylistically, Goya's art was a response to previous conceptions of European academic art. The scope of Goya's art is vast, as he produced art continuously for over 60 years. At 17, he traveled to Madrid and studied the paintings of Tiepolo and Antonio Raphael Mengs, and at 24 went to Rome and survived by selling his own paintings. By the 1770s, he had gained royal patrons, the best-known of which being King Charles III of Spain. In July 1780, Goya was elected to the Spain's Royal Academy of San Fernando, the most renowned art academy in the country. At the turn of the century, Goya worked heavily in printmaking, and produced his two best-known works. Between 1797 and 1798, Goya created a series of 80 aquatint prints, called Los Caprichos. The sequence offers the viewer a bleak, critical, and satirical view of Spanish society in the late 18th Century. His targets included the rise of ignorance and superstition, the decline of logic and rational thinking, domestic and married life, poor education, and the corruption of the church and the moneyed classes. On May 2, 1808, residents of Madrid rebelled against the French military, who had occupied the city. This uprising resulted in the mass execution of Spaniards the following day, and began a six-year war between Napoleon's France and an alliance between Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom for control over the Iberian Peninsula. In response to this conflict, throughout the 1810s Goya printed Los Desastres de la Guerra ('The Disasters of War'), a sequence of 82 prints depicting the effects of war and starvation. Technically, The Disasters of War was ambitious, as Goya employed a breadth of printmaking techniques: the series contains aquatints, engravings, etchings, and drypoints. Both Los Caprichos and Los Desastres established Goya not only as an intellectual product of the Enlightenment in Europe, but also as a progressive and expert printmaker. He died in Bordeaux, France in 1828.
Francisco Goya, Francisco Goya Why?, Disasters of War Portfolio, 1863, Original lithograph, 8 1/2" x 7 Sheet Size