Francisco de Goya (1746-1828)

Do you think you may own a painting by Francisco de Goya? We perform art authenticationsart appraisalsart research and provide Certificates of Authenticity (COA) as well as consultations, for all paintings by Francisco de Goya. Francisco de Goya was born March 30, 1746, in Fuendetodos, a village in northern Spain. Today, he is known as one of the greatest artists to come out of Spain and is considered one of the fathers of modern art. From the time he was a teenager, Goya devoted himself entirely to the pursuit of his art. He tried several times to enroll in the Royal Academy of San Fernando, but had no success. He traveled to Rome during this time and eventually returned to Spain in the 1770s. During this time, he painted several church frescoes of local churches. His early works depict everyday scenes. He painted images of every day life with the mastery of one who was a practiced observer.

Spring Goya finally enrolled in the Royal Academy and went on to be King Charles III’s painter, and eventually King Charles IV’s painter. By this time, his works had become darker, raising controversy. The darker works coincide with him becoming deaf due to an illness. By 1800, he had to withdraw many of his works because he is unable to submit them to his old clientele. They were much darker in nature and not well-received.

Family of Carlos IV By 1800, Goya’s work did another turn. He began to chronicle images from the war in his paintings. They displayed the suffering of war times in a style so realistic that it had not previously been seen. These paintings are known as the “black paintings”.

Caprice Goya eventually became overwhelmed by all that he’d seen, and he decided to leave Spain. He moved to France, where he would spend the rest of his life. At the age of 70 he retired to his villa, where he is thought to have decorated his walls with a series of “black baintings”. While these dark and mysterious paintings have become his most celebrated works, recent controversy has actually arisen that the paintings could possibly be the work of his son or grandson. Regardless, his last years were spent in illness. During this time, he created some lithography work.

Teresa Sureda When looking back on Goya’s body of work, it is easy to see how it evolved into much bleaker, realistic views of what he perceived as a harsh world. Perhaps it’s understandable from a man who saw so much suffering and opted to let that suffering take on the form of art.

Portrait of his Grandson Many of his paintings, although different, exhibit common similarities. It can be noted that many of the figures in Goya’s paintings have prominent mouths. These mouths are often expressive, whether sneering, screaming, biting, etc. The mouths themselves are sometimes the focal point of the pictures. The figures of the people in the paintings aren’t always realistic representations in that they often appear to be looming. Many of the figures appear to be threatening shapes, suggesting impending doom.

Carpio Solana All of his later works have an underlying thread of despair. It is as if the artist viewed the entire world as one consumed by hate and negativity. Still, it is this frank portrayal of the darker emotions and occurrences of life that make his work so popular today.

Woman It was previously thought that Goya painted a series of compositions known as his “black paintings”. These depicted mythological characters, frightening demons and ghastly images in a—you guessed it—dark palate. Perhaps it is his dark nature and history that caused people to credit these to Goya. Even the most famous of his “black paintings”, “The Colossus” is now no longer considered to be Goya’s work. However, the Goya catalogue has also changed dramatically besides these “black paintings”. From a list of more than 550 known works, nearly 150 have been discredited leaving a mere 400 compositions to his credit.

Consedsa de Chinchon

Woman with her dog While it comes as no surprise that Goya’s “black paintings” have been discredited, this leaves the art world with mainly portraits from this great artist. Nobility, family, and the Spanish upper crust are mainly portrayed in Goya’s oeuvre. Even though the “black paintings” were not typical of Goya’s style, while they were credited to him, they gave his memory a sort of mystical whimsy, and now we are only able to guess whom the real creator of those paintings may be.

Goya Discovery

It is every art collector’s dream: beneath clumsy over-painting and the murk of centuries, restorers cleaning an ancient oil painting find an unknown work by an Old Master.

Paulino Gimenez, an art restorer from Malaga, announced at the weekend, after 10 months of investigation, that a privately owned painting attributed to Salvador Maella, a lesser contemporary of the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya, was the work of the master himself.

The Goya is known as the “Inmaculada” (The Immaculate Virgin) and shows the Virgin Mary standing on clouds gazing into heaven.

It is valued at US $3,800,000 and auction houses are competing to take charge of the sale.

The work is thought to have been painted around 1781 when Goya-then 35 and already winning important commissions-was painting similar works.

“Through X-rays and chemical investigation of the pigment and the canvas we have found several similarities between this painting and another Goya of the same period, in particular a so-called hidden face typical of Goya’s work, a cat, which is the cloud on which the Virgin stands,” said Mr. Gimenez.

Not content with his own conclusions, Mr. Gimenez sought the help of a chemical scientist, Enrique Parra Crego of Madrid’s Analytical Laboratory for the Restoration and Conservation of Artworks. Dr. Crego concluded that the preparation, materials and canvas were “consistent with the attribution to Francisco de Goya”.

In particular, the “Inmaculada” shows similarities with two of Goya’s best-known works that hang in the Prado Museum in Madrid. They are the twin scenes of Madrid’s ill-fated revolt against Napoleon’s occupying troops in 1808, El Dos de Mayo and El Tres de Mayo [the Second and Third of May].

Furthermore, details of the “Inmaculada” are comparable to a similar work Asunta that Goya painted in 1781, particularly the face of one of the angels, and a shadow cast on the Virgin’s arm. That painting is privately owned. “Everything suggests that both works were created by Goya at around the same date,” says Mr. Gimenez. Another comparable painting is a Goya crucifixion in the Prado.

The painting, dated between the late Baroque era and the beginnings of Neoclassicism, was taken to Mr. Gimenez’s workshop in Malaga in January in an appalling state. The canvas was not only ravaged by the passage of more than two centuries, but had been inexpertly overpainted to obscure its original religious nature, and repeatedly revarnished.

This is not the first unrecognised Goya to have been been recently discovered. Last year two previously unknown works were found by chance when experts went to value another painting in a collector’s home in Madrid. They found one Goya on a bedroom wall and another lurking in a dark corridor. The owner had no idea who painted the works and had considered them of little value. But Mr. Gimenez had every reason to be cautious before going public with his discovery.

In 1996, the director of the Prado, Jose Maria Luzon, was swept from office in disgrace after he announced with huge fanfare the discovery of a hitherto unknown Goya. That painting, described by Mr. Luzon as “a cracker of a Goya”, turned out to be the work of Maella. A preliminary sketch was even logged in the Prado’s own records as a Maella.

Still wondering about a painting in your family collection? Contact us… we are the Francisco de Goya experts.

The 3rd of May 1808, 1814

The Kite

The Funeral of Sardina

The 2nd of May

Children with a Cart, 1778

The Witches’ Sabbath, 1797-8


The Nude Maja, 1800

The Clothed Maja, 1803

Flight of Witches

St. Peter Repentant

Friar Peter Binds El Maragato with a Rope

The Miracle of St. Anthony

The Madhouse