Claiming to be mostly self taught, Francisco de Goya was already 37 when he secured his first important portrait commission from Spain’s Prime Minister, Count Floridablanca, after which the artist’s reputation grew quickly. Being ambitious and proud of his status, he gained patrons from the entire breadth of Spanish society including the royal family and aristocrats, politicians and military figures, intellectuals and even his own friends and family.
Deeply affected by his profound deafness, the result of serious illness in his mid-40s, portraiture remained a means by which Goya could communicate. Providing penetrating insight into the public and private aspects of his life, ‘Goya: The Portraits’ in London’s National Gallery, which runs from October 2015 to the 10th of January 2016, traces the artist’s development, from his first commissions to more intimate later works painted during his ‘self-imposed exile’ in France in the 1820s – a career that spanned revolution and restoration, war with France, and the cultural upheaval of the Spanish Enlightenment.
This exhibition focuses solely on Goya’s spectacular skill as a portraitist. His approach was unhindered and he was unafraid to reveal what he saw. His portraits demonstrate his daringly unconventional approach and remarkable skill at capturing the psychology of his sitters. Featured are 70 of the artist’s most outstanding works from public and private collections from around the world, including paintings, drawings, and miniatures never seen before in Britain. For admission times and ticket prices go to www.nationalgallery.org.uk/goya-portraits.
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