The Spanish artist Goya was born on March 1746, with the full name Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, in the town of Fuendetodos, Aragón. His parents, Gracia de Lucientes y Salvador and José Bendito de Goya y Franque, had recently moved there from the capital city, Zaragoza. Goya had two older sisters, an older brother, as well as two younger brothers as well. Around 1749, their family would return to Zaragoza where they bought a house. In 1760, Goya, who was only fourteen, began studying painting under José Luzán and continued with his teacher for the next four years. After that, he decided to take what he learned and apply that on his own. The painter moved to Madrid and applied twice to the Real Academia de Bellas Artes of San Fernando, but didn’t qualify, in 1763 and 1766. During this period, he was studying with an artist of the Spanish royalty, Anton Raphael Mengs, but was confrontational against him. Because of his frustration with the academy in Madrid, Goya decided to move to the cultural capital of Europe; Rome. Many historians have speculated about his life during this period, but since he was still an unknown artist, not much is certain. In 1771, the Spanish painter was prized in a painting competition in Parma, the same year he completed two of his early mythological paintings: The Sacrifice of Pan and Sacrifice to Vesta.
Goya got married to Josefa Bayeu y Subias on July 1773 - sister of his painting professor at the time, Francisco Bayeu y Subías. The couple had their first child about a year after getting married and named him Antonio Juan Ramon Carlos. The bond Goya had with his brother in law helped his artistic career since Bayeu became a member of the San Fernando Real Academia de Bellas Artes in 1765 and years later became director of the tapestry works. Goya was commissioned to conclude a series of illustrations to transfer onto the Royal Tapestry from 1777 to the next five years. During this period, he created more than forty designs in the Rococo style, and although this kind of work wasn’t very valued, it increased his popularity. The artist was also receiving commissions to produce copies of artworks from past masters in metal etchings - including prints from artists like Velazquez and Marcantonio Raimondi. Through etching - a craft he beautifully mastered - Goya was also able to spread his name as an artist.
Throughout the 1780s, the painter began receiving commissions from members of the Royal circle, like the portrait of The Count of Floridablanca in 1783. In 1786, he was given an official position as Charles III’s painter, and three years later he became the court painter. Goya completed the controversial portrait of the Royal family entitled Charles IV and His Family, giving the Queen the spotlight. Another artwork that was not only controversial but scandalous was Maja Desnuda, not simply because of her nudity, but because of the lack of mythological or allegorical theme behind the painting.
By early 1790s, Goya became ill and eventually completely deaf, which caused him to isolate himself and think he was going mad. The painter ended up having a complete breakdown, both mental and physical, a few weeks after the War of France on Spain was declared. Although many historians speculate on a series of diseases that the artist may have had, some find it possible he was suffering from lead poisoning - commonly found in paint and other painting and etching materials of the time. The beginning of the Peninsular War was marked by the French invasion on Spanish grounds in 1808. By 1812, Goya had lost his beloved wife and painted two of his masterpieces in the same year: The Second of May and The Third of May. By the end of his career, he lived alone in his studio outside of Madrid. Goya completed his final series of fourteen Black Paintings, including Saturn Devouring His Sons, during a tense phase of mental distress at the age of seventy-five. All of the paintings were done directly onto the walls of his house and are his most dramatic works. Considered one of the greatest Spanish artists of all time, Goya passed away in April 1828 at the age of 82, while in Bordeaux, France.