Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes

Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes is one of the most famous romantic painters. Born in the town of Fuendetodos, near Sargasso, on March 30, 1746 to a middle-class family, Goya even at young age had a will of his own. He was not just a painter, but an adventurous young man. At the age of fourteen, he became an apprentice of Jose Luzan, although, as Goya himself admitted, his true masters were, besides nature, Velazquez and Rembrandt. At twenty-four, he managed to make his way to Italy. He remained there for about a year. In 1773 he returned to Spain, where he eventually became a principal designer to the royal tapestry works. His cartoon tapestries were unique, depicting open-air amusements attended by Madrid\'s upper class. After his appointment as a court painter to Charles III, Goya became famous for his strikingly unique portraits of his royal and upper class subjects. Goya, however, did not idealize the upper class, but, indeed, held a cynical view of it. His sympathy with liberal reform movements may have prompted his unflattering depictions of the corrupt and reactionary Spanish royal family, which can be seen in his portrait of The Family of Charles IV.

The Dreams of Reason . . .

In 1792, Goya became seriously ill. His illness left him deaf and contributed to the pessimistic mood of his later works. After Napoleon\'s invasion of Spain in 1808, Goya painted two large canvases representing the tragic events of the war. In his passionate The Third of May, 1808, (completed in 1814), the horror and cruelty of war are shown through the image of the French firing squad executing the Spanish revolutionaries. In Los Caprichos, Goya has offered his haunting interpretation of bestiality in human beings. Towards the end of his life, Goya exiled himself to Bordeaux, where he lived from 1824 until his death on April 16, 1828.

Clark, Kenneth. The Romantic Rebellion. New York, NY: Harper & Row Publishers, 1990.

Nochlin, Linda. Realism and Tradition in Art. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1991.

Liberty Leading the People

Delacroix became a leader of the Romantic school of art, deriving his inspiration from violent sources, predominantly war. Delacroix was a humanitarian, and his subjects were largely chosen in response to the tumultuous times in which he lived. Liberty Leading the People and Greece Expiring on the Ruins of Missolonghi in particular showed his love of allegory in painting, the former depicting representatives of each of the social classes of France following an anthropomorphic Liberty, and the latter depicting Greece as a single grieving woman.

In 1831, Delacroix accompanied Charles de Mornay, a friend and diplomat, on a journey to Morocco--a journey which radically altered the style of Delacroix\'s painting. Although his subject material had often been the Orient in The Death of Sardanapalus and others, Delacroix had never actually been near these places; his journey to Morocco gave him a firsthand experience which gave him real insight into the things he would paint from then on.

Delacroix\'s experience in Morocco accomplished two things. First, it introduced the concept of vibrant colors in a new way. Previously, the notions governing color in paintings kept things generally dark and somber, using dark colors primarily for emphasis and contrast. Delacroix introduced color in a much more free manner, allowing vibrant color to cover every inch of canvas. While Mattisse and Picasso would later adapt this into abstract forms, Delacroix used it to capture precisely every minute detail of a scene--color photographs long before their time.

The Death of Sardanapalus

The second major influence of Delacroix\'s Morocco journey was that it broke with the tradition of the Italian pilgrimage which almost all artists made. Once he had visited Morocco, he felt that visiting Italy to study art would be absurd. After this, the center of artistic inspiration began to move away from Italy as other artists also began to journey to the near and far East for their studies.

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Perry, Marvin, Joseph R. Peden, and Theodore H. Von Laue. Sources of the Western Tradition. (Boston, MA; Houghton Mifflin, 1995).

Sulivan, Richard E., Dennis Sherman, and John B. Harrison. A Short History of Western