Francisco de Goya

Francisco de Goya was born in a village in Northern Spain in 1746. Goya’s formal artistic education began at the age of 14 when he was apprenticed to a local painter. After a visit to Italy in 1771, Goya settled in Madrid in 1775. In 1786 he was given a salaried position as a painter to King Charles III, and in 1789 he was appointed court painter to Charles IV.


In the winter of 1792, Goya became seriously ill and was left deaf. This was a turning point in his career. His paintings were transformed from his previous Rococo style to a more expressionistic vision and he chose increasingly dark subject matters.


In 1799 Goya announced the publication of Los Caprichos’. Comprising 80 copper plates in etching with aquatint, the Caprichos was Goya’s most ambitious graphic work to date and a considerable commercial undertaking. The project was a financial disaster however with only 27 copies of the suite being sold over the next four years before Goya withdrew the series from circulation due to unwelcome attention from The Inquisition.


Despite these unpromising beginnings, the Caprichos would come to be acknowledged as an era-defining achievement and one of the greatest series of etchings in the history of Western art.


In 1824, political upheavals in Spain forced Goya to go into exile in France. He returned to Madrid for a brief visit in 1826, but died in Bordeaux on 16 April 1828.