Francisco de Goya
Goya is the most genius and universal painter that Aragon has ever had. During the period in which lived, religion contributed to Spanish art with notable artists, like the Bayeu, his parent in law. However, in the middle of the artistic environment of the period - of baroque tradition and neoclassical avant-garde - Goya stood out thanks to his expressive and visionary strength opening the way for contemporary art. He was the genius.
According to his bibliography, a major part of Goya’s Aragonese pieces of art correspond to his youth. Aragon and Zaragoza are essential stages for the painter’s knowledge. In general, the theme is religious and is conditioned by artistic requests, which favored mural paintings within the Italian baroque tradition.
Goya, as a religious painter, most probably began due to his Aragonese devotion to the Virgin of Pillar with the overall theme of the Virgin’s apparition to Santiago, which decorated the doors of the lost closet of the relics in Fuendetodos.
However, Goya develops his most powerful mural piece of all, within an environment of freedom and comprehension, at the Carthusian monastery of Aula Dei, near Gallego and Zaragoza. Between 1772 and 1774, he decorates the walls in a series of large panels, while conserving Saint Joaquin with angels, the Nativity of the Virgin, the Betrothal, the Visitation, the Circumcision, as well as the Presentation and the Adoration of the Kings. The remaining themes correspond to the restoration made by the Buffet brothers in 1903, after the new Carthusian installations.
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza has two mural pieces, however, due to their elevated height, they are difficult to contemplate. The decoration of the little choir’s arch (coreto) portrays the piece of the Adoration of the Name of God (1772). On the arch, in front of Saint Joaquin’s chapel, is the piece of the Queen of Martyrs (1780-1781), with which he ignited the first anti-academic battle.
Leaving aside other religious themes (spandrels of the Virgin’s chapel of Muel and the Parish of Remolinos, etc.), Aragon and its people served as inspiration for multiple of Goya’s pieces, such as the Powder production in the Sierra de Tardienta, or the performances of Martincho the bullfighter, which made Goya seem like an adventurous and traveling bullfighter himself, according to the romantic legends.
G. M. Borrás.
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