12 of the Most Famous Paintings by Francisco Goya

Famous Paintings by Francisco Goya

These are the 12 most famous paintings by Francisco Goya. Born in 1746, was one of the greatest painters and printmakers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Europe. Considered one of the newest Old Masters and one of the first contemporary artists, his work reflected contemporary changes. His art depicts the Romantic focus on subjectivity, imagination, and emotion, features that are most evident in his prints and later private paintings.

Saturn Devouring His Son (1819–1823)

One of the most famous paintings by Francisco Goya and in art history is a painting of the Roman god Saturn, also known as Titan Kronos in Greek mythology, devouring one of his children. The horrific portrait was most likely inspired by Peter Paul Rubens’ Saturn Devouring His Son, a Baroque-style painting. This is one of Goya’s magnificent, but unsettling paintings. 

Yard with Lunatics (1794)

This painting depicts images from Goya’s adolescence in Zaragoza, when he visited several institutions. “Yard with Lunatics” (Corral de locos in Spanish) is also known as “Yard with Madmen.”This was painted at a period when Goya’s deafness and fear of mental illness were becoming more severe, and he was becoming increasingly concerned about his health. 

The Parasol (1777)

This painting depicts a young woman sitting with a dog on her lap and a Majo providing shade with a parasol. “The Parasol” is also known as “El Quitasol.” Its pyramidal arrangement, with the figures in the foreground, demonstrates Goya’s ability to paint light and shadows, as well as the influence of traditional Italian painting.

Portrait of Josefa Bayeu (1747–1812)

This is a portrait of Josefa Bayeu (or Leocadia Weiss), the wife of the artist, Goya. It’s thought to be of Leocadia Zorrilla, a distant aunt of Goya who looked exactly like Josefa. As a result, Goya painted this portrait in memory of Josefa, who was already dead at the time.

The Family of the Infante Don Luis (1784)

This painting depicts the king of Spain’s younger brother and his wife seated at a card table, surrounded by children in the back, servants in front of them, and friends. In Goya’s portrayal of a royal family unlike any other, one who is rejected by the traditional Spanish community and chooses a middle-class secular existence. This painting is one of his rare royal paintings. 

Portrait of Manuel Godoy (1801)

This is a portrait of Manuel Godoy depicted in an odd reclining pose, with houses in the background and a phallic baton between his legs. The portrait is a psychologically insightful portrayal. Godoy’s arrogance is captured by the artist’s posture and the addition of Portuguese flags. The use of light adds to the intensity of the painting.

The Nude Maja (La maja desnuda) (1790–1800)

This painting and its accompanying Clothed Maja are two of the most famous paintings by Francisco Goya. This version  – the nude Maja, depicts a naked woman lying on a bed of pillows, her hands behind her head, staring directly at the viewer. Goya painted the woman twice in the same pose, but in one picture she is naked (Maja desnuda), while in the other she is dressed (Maja vestida). These paintings created a disturbance and caught people’s interest, making them some of the most famous works of Spanish art.

La maja vestida (The Clothed Maja) (1800–1805)

This is a painting of a woman lying on a couch, arms up and hands behind her head. Her cheeks are warmed with a slight smile. “La Maja Desnuda,” which means “The Naked Maja,” is a nearly identical painting to this. The subject and the couch are highlighted by the emphasis on light.

The Milkmaid of Bordeaux (1825–1827)

This painting depicts a young milkmaid wearing an apron, a shawl across her shoulders, and a scarf to keep her hair back. “The Milkmaid of Bordeaux” is also known as “La lechera de Burdeos.” This was Goya’s last painting of a female figure, using blue to depict both the woman and her surroundings.

Witches’ Sabbath (1819–1823)

This painting is of a group of witches and warlocks. It’s shown as a goat standing dangerously among the assembled witches, who are in black. Each of the witches and warlocks has hideous faces and terrifying attitudes. Night and the absence of light are recurring themes in Goya’s “Black Paintings” – some of the more famous paintings by Francisco Goya.

Charles IV of Spain and His Family (1800–1801)

This is a painting of Charles IV of Spain and his family. Each member of the royal family is wearing a variety of beautiful, colorful, ornate outfits and jewelry. Diego Velázquez’s “Las Meninas,” a complicated composition featuring Infanta Margaret Theresa and her attendants, was an inspiration for Charles IV of Spain and His family.

The Third of May 1808 (1814)

This historic painting is one of the famous paintings by Francisco Goya – depicting the death of patriots from Madrid by a firing squad of Napoleon’s troops in punishment for their insurrection against the French occupation on May 2, 1808. The use of light, which brightly illuminates the heroes, adds to the scene’s tension and drama. This painting is difficult to forget, instilling not only terror and disaster but also the inevitable horrific realities.

What famous paintings by Francisco Goya do you think we should add to this list? Comment below.

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