Francisco Goya Understanding Modern Art

Francisco Goya Understanding Modern Art
Francisco Goya Understanding Modern Art

This is sometimes said that the Spanish painter Francisco Goya is both the last of the old masters, and the first of the new masters, which is quite the achievement. Being a one-period master, let alone two, is hard enough but Goya seems to pull it off. His prodigious talents as a painter owe much of his success, but another equally important factor, as is so often the case, was the rapidly changing times he lived in. This was the period when the ideas of the Enlightenment spread throughout Europe, challenging many of the traditional beliefs society around it.

Writers like Voltaire, Roseau and Locke had all proposed new ideas that questioned traditional church and state power structures and called for more rational and humanistic approaches to social organization. Such ideas and the changes that they gave rise to will have a huge cultural influence and play a major role in the eventual development of modern art.

Goya gives us a fascinating look as an artist who lived through this time at the impact these values had on artists. In this regard, Goya 's career is particularly fascinating as it shows us not only the achievements of Enlightenment philosophy, but also the consequences of its failures. While Goya was at first a believer throughout his career he would lose faith in the Enlightenment dream as many of the promised reforms failed to materialize and those that did had unintended consequences.

Today we will take a look at Goya and his work as well as the role that those ideas of the Enlightenment played in shaping him into the first modern master, and perhaps the great grandfather of modern art.

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