This three-and-a-half-hour art tour of Madrid focuses on the figure of Francisco de Goya, a singular force in Spanish painting at the end of the 18th century. By combining a number of his hidden works located in-situ in various churches of the city along with the masterworks in the Prado, we'll paint a portrait of Goya, his patrons, and the political context in which he lived. We begin with the late Baroque church of San Francisco el Grande, which holds an altarpiece by Goya in its original location. Within this majestic setting we will consider the role played by Goya’s patrons in his artistic production, as well as his occasionally conflicting rapport with fellow artists.
After a short bus ride we will find ourselves at the small oratory of San Antonio de la Florida, decorated by Goya in 1798. This visit is particularly relevant to our examination of the development of Goya’s career since it constitutes a unique surviving example of his work as a fresco painter. Goya is also buried within the church.
Our seminar then continues to the Prado Museum. We'll pass by the memorial, outside the museum, to the victims of the insurrection quelled by the French in Madrid in 1808, the subject of a major canvas now hanging inside the Prado. In addition to this work, we'll consider the Majas, the Second of May, 1808, and his dark and haunting last works, the Black Paintings.
The subjects depicted by Goya are intrinsically linked to his life in Madrid as a court painter and as a direct witness of the popular uprising against the French in 1808. As a result, our walk will look closely at the political events of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and paint a portrait of the larger European context at the time. Our walk will also offer us ample opportunity to discuss the influence of the city and its history on the style and on the personal life of Goya.
By the end of our time together we'll emerge with a very vivid portrait of one of the most important Spanish painters of his time.