Witness of His Time
This appointment involved painting portraits of the monarchs. While the influence of Velázquez, whom Goya admired, is highly apparent in Goya’s first paintings; in later works, his expression was shifting to a more natural, vivid and a personal narrative. The figures he depicted, at times satirizing, were without any sign of idealization and their personal features and characteristics were reflected on to portraits.
Goya’s first print series was a collection of copies of paintings by Italians and Velázquez in 1778. He published his first series called the Caprichos in 1799. After this series, which is a satire of late 18th century Spanish society, especially the nobility and clergy; Goya commissioned by General Palafox to travel to Zaragoza and depict the state of the city of Zaragoza after the siege, where he began to prepare his second series Disasters of War.
At the age of 70, Goya made the series of engravings titled Tauromaquia (1815-1816). At the time, he was in dire economic straits, in addition on May 5th 1814 prior censorship of the prints had been reinstated and the Inquisition had been re-established. From this point of view, the bullfighting, to which Goya had been very fond of ever since he was young, seemed the most appropriate subject for a series of engravings.
In the series called Follies prepared by Goya between the years of 1815-1824, the grotesque characters and the incomprehensible shapes of the devils give the work a ghostly aspect and are a total break away from logic. This series is perceived as the precursor of surrealism that wouldn’t appear after a century later.