Goya: A Portrait of the Artist

Goya: A Portrait of the Artist

by Janis Tomlinson
Goya: A Portrait of the Artist

Goya: A Portrait of the Artist

by Janis Tomlinson


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The first major English-language biography of Francisco Goya y Lucientes, who ushered in the modern era

The life of Francisco Goya (1746–1828) coincided with an age of transformation in Spanish history that brought upheavals in the country's politics and at the court which Goya served, changes in society, the devastation of the Iberian Peninsula in the war against Napoleon, and an ensuing period of political instability. In this revelatory biography, Janis Tomlinson draws on a wide range of documents—including letters, court papers, and a sketchbook used by Goya in the early years of his career—to provide a nuanced portrait of a complex and multifaceted painter and printmaker, whose art is synonymous with compelling images of the people, events, and social revolution that defined his life and era.

Tomlinson challenges the popular image of the artist as an isolated figure obsessed with darkness and death, showing how Goya's likeability and ambition contributed to his success at court, and offering new perspectives on his youth, rich family life, extensive travels, and lifelong friendships. She explores the full breadth of his imagery—from scenes inspired by life in Madrid to visions of worlds without reason, from royal portraits to the atrocities of war. She sheds light on the artist's personal trials, including the deaths of six children and the onset of deafness in middle age, but also reconsiders the conventional interpretation of Goya's late years as a period of disillusion, viewing them instead as years of liberated artistic invention, most famously in the murals on the walls of his country house, popularly known as the "black" paintings.

A monumental achievement, Goya: A Portrait of the Artist is the definitive biography of an artist whose faith in his art and his genius inspired paintings, drawings, prints, and frescoes that continue to captivate, challenge, and surprise us two centuries later.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691192048
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 09/15/2020
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Janis A. Tomlinson has written and lectured extensively on the art of Goya. Her books include Goya: Order and Disorder, Goya: Images of Women, Goya in the Twilight of Enlightenment, and Francisco Goya: The Tapestry Cartoons and Early Career at the Court of Madrid. In 2020, she was awarded the Royal Order of Isabel la Católica for her contribution to knowledge of the culture and history of Spain.

Table of Contents

Color plates follow page 180

Main and Supporting Characters ix

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction xxi

Part I An Artist from Zaragoza

1 Early Years 3

2 First Trials 9

3 Italy 16

4 Triumphs of a Native Son 24

5 Settings for the Court of Carlos III 32

6 Of my invention" 37

7 Goya Meets Velázquez 44

8 The Zaragoza Affair 54

Part II The Path of a Court Painter

9 Floridablanca 63

10 Don Luis 72

11 "The happiest man" 81

12 "God has distinguished us" 90

13 A Coronation under Darkening Skies 97

14 Changing Times 107

15 The Best of Times, the Worst of Times 117

Part III Witness of a Silent World

16 "There are no rules in painting" 129

17 Goya and the Duchess 141

18 Dreaming, Enlightened 152

19 Subir y bajar 161

20 "The king and queen are crazy about your friend" 170

21 The French Connection 180

21 Absences 188

23 Society High and Low 198

24 A Monarchy at Twilight 205

Part IV War and Restoration

25 The Old Order Falls 213

26 In the Shadow of a New Regime 223

17 On the Home Front 236

28 The Spoils of War 244

29 Portraits of a New Order 254

Part V Triumphs of Caprice

30 Disparates 265

31 The Artist's Retreat 275

32 Farewells 282

33 Paris 288

34 Unsettled in Bordeaux 294

35 "Only my will abounds" 300

36 The Last Year 309

Epilogue: Rosario 315

Notes 321

Bibliography 359

Index 375

Image Credits 388

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"The best book on Goya, a perennially fascinating yet startlingly modern old master."—William E. Wallace, author of Michelangelo, God's Architect

"Janis Tomlinson has given us an impressively comprehensive and beautifully written study of Goya's life and works. It ranks as one of the best and most detailed of the many Goya books ever written."—Anthony J. Cascardi, author of Ideologies of History in the Spanish Golden Age

"In this authoritative and lucid biography, Janis Tomlinson brings her own compassionate insight into the personal paradoxes of this towering figure within a brilliant cast of supporting characters. Coming from her lifelong engagement with Goya and depth of knowledge of his tumultuous epoch, Tomlinson's book will stand as the definitive biography for our time."—Susan Grace Galassi, Curator Emerita, The Frick Collection

"An outstanding biography. Tomlinson has a profound knowledge of Goya and an excellent grasp of the relevant literature, and this informs her nuanced reading of the artist's life."—Mark McDonald, author of Renaissance to Goya: Prints and Drawings from Spain

"A masterful achievement. Tomlinson's biography of Goya unfolds lovingly, with flair and detail, gathering friends, mentors, and family into the story while revealing new information about the artist's works and the context in which he created them."—David T. Gies, editor of Dieciocho and The Cambridge History of Spanish Literature

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