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A cultured and academic artist, Goya was the last court painter; he rationally observed intimate subjects, documented social themes and, with his thoughts, revolutionized Western art. Palazzo Reale in Milan dedicates the exhibition “Goya. The rebellion of reason” until 3 March 2023 (24OreCultura catalogue). A long story through paintings, engravings and copper matrices of Goya’s artistic life, of his experience with history, his ideology to introduce the visitor to the works that best describe his artistic evolution and the themes he dealt with; an extraordinary talent, lived in an unstable and bloody historical and social context that forged his artistic soul.
Francisco Goya on display at the Royal Palace in Milan
The exhibition is curated by Víctor Nieto Alcaide, Academic Delegate of the Museum, Chalcography and Exhibitions of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid. The works are exhibited alongside some of the most important engravings, flanked by their original copper matrices, which made Goya the absolute master of this art. An opportunity made possible for the first time in Italy thanks to the collaboration with the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, in Madrid, which – with its Calcografia Nacional – finished restoring the matrices this year.
Goya, witness of his era
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) influenced the history of painting and representations up to the present day. In 1780 he was appointed artist at the Academy of San Fernando, six years later he became painter to King Charles III and in 1799 first painter of the king’s chamber; despite the political upheavals caused by the war with France, it remained so until the absolutist restoration and the exile of the liberals in 1823. Goya depicted the innocence of children but also the suffering of the weak, the madness and violence that his people were forced to suffer by the French army, becoming himself a witness to the collapse of all hopes of the Enlightenment.
For a good part of his life Goya was a so-called “official” painter, he portrayed the powerful but never slipped into adulation. Among the paintings exhibited are “Carlos IV”, “María Luisa de Parma”, “Juan López de Robredo” painted in 1789. In private Goya denounced, with his paintings of hospitals and asylums, of parties and allegories, the vanity of a world that did not belong to him, the naivety of poor people, the senselessness of war, the humiliation of old age and the loneliness of death.
Goya is aware of the artist’s role in society, of his involvement in political life, he knows the power and impotence of art; he knows what remains when the events of the story seem over.