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3 Chronology

1746(30 March) Goya born in Fuendetodos, in the province of Aragon.
1759Carlos III of Spain ascends the throne.
1760Goya apprenticed to the painter José Luzán.
1770–1Travels in Italy.
1771First important commission, The Adoration of the Name of God, for the basilica of Santa Maria del Pilar, Saragossa.
1774Summoned to Madrid to work at the royal tapestry factory at Santa Bárbara.
1778(July) Publishes prints after paintings by Velázquez. (13 October) Pablo de Olavide trial. This land reformer was banished by the Inquisition to a monastery for eight years. One of his ‘crimes’ was a correspondence with Voltaire and Rousseau.
1780(5 July) Goya elected to the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Madrid. His reception piece is Christ on the Cross.
1782Carries out portrait commissions for important patrons associated with the Bank of San Carlos. Many other important commissions follow in the 1790s and through the turn of the century.
1785Becomes assistant director of painting at the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
1786–7Along with Ramón Bayeu is named painter to King Carlos III and continues to produce tapestries for royal palaces.
1788Carlos IV ascends the throne.
1789Goya promoted to Court Painter of the royal palace of Aranjuez.
1792Godoy is appointed prime (first) minister and is instructed to resume relations with France disrupted by the Revolution.
1792(14 October) Goya sends letter to the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts on the teaching of painting. Later that year he contracts an infection that will lead to deafness.
1793France declares war on Spain.
1793–4Goya produces a series of cabinet pictures (a small picture open to close, leisurely scrutiny and often displayed in private spaces as a valuable personal possession) for Bernardo de Iriarte, vice-protector of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts. He says, ‘I have realized observations that are usually not permitted by commissioned works, and in which caprice and invention have no greater extension’ (from a letter to Iriarte, quoted in Tomlinson, 1994, p. 94). These paintings include his Courtyard with Lunatics and Strolling Players.
1795Godoy signs peace treaty with France and Carlos IV names him ‘the Prince of Peace’.
1795(September) Goya named director of painting at the Academy.
1796(August) France and Spain sign offensive and defensive alliance against Britain, and Spain declares war on Britain.
1797Goya resigns directorship at the Academy due to ill health.
1797(November) Godoy forms new government including reformists such as Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos and Meléndez Valdés.
1798Goya is now dependent on sign language as a means of communication.
1799Goya's Los Caprichos, based on drawings made in the preceding two years, are published. They are placed on sale in a perfume shop but quickly withdrawn. This has given rise to subsequent speculation about the commercial viability of the prints in a market more accustomed to portraits, religious prints and prints showing recent events, but some of the subjects it treated (for example, witchcraft) were certainly fashionable (Tomlinson, 1994, p. 143).
1799(31 October) Goya appointed Primer Pintor de Cámara (First Court Painter).
1800–1Portrait of Family of Carlos IV (Plate V2.2) completed and Goya paints Godoy to celebrate his recent victory over Portugal (Plate V2.3).
1802In a bid for peace with Britain Napoleon cedes Spanish territory of Trinidad to the British without telling Spain.
1803Napoleon involves Spain in war with Britain.
1804Napoleon declares himself Emperor of France.
1805(21 October) French and Spanish fleets defeated at Trafalgar.
1806Napoleon declares Continental Blockade against Britain.
1807French troops enter Spain. Godoy discovers that Ferdinand, son of Carlos IV, has entered into secret talks with Napoleon's entourage. He denounces Ferdinand, who is arrested and later pardoned.
1808(March) Carlos IV abdicates in favour of Ferdinand after rumours that Godoy is poised to capitulate to the French. The following month Napoleon lures the Spanish royal family to Bayonne and induces them to abdicate in favour of Joseph Bonaparte.
1808(2 May) Beginning of War of Independence (Peninsular War) in Spain and of massive revolt against Napoleonic occupation.
1808(3 May) French troops take reprisals against uprisings in executions at the Príncipe Pío, Madrid.
1808(June) Napoleon places his brother Joseph on Spanish throne. Carlos IV and Maria Luísa are exiled and Ferdinand is placed under house arrest at Valencay. He is later declared by provincial juntas to have legitimate claim to the throne. Goya completes an equestrian portrait of him. Later that year Cádiz becomes the centre of liberal opposition to the French.
1809Fall of Saragossa, which had been under siege by French troops for several months.
1810–14Goya works on first plates in the Disasters of War series.
1810Goya produces for the city of Madrid an allegorical painting of the city gesturing towards King Joseph I of Spain. He later alters this painting as the political situation changes.
1810(December) The Inquisition is suppressed and work begins by the parliament or Cortés based in Cádiz on a new, liberal constitution for Spain.
1811Joseph confers royal honours on Goya which the artist subsequently plays down.
1812Constitution of Cádiz is adopted by the Cortés, limiting royal powers and those of the feudal nobility.
1812(August) Arthur Wellesley enters Madrid after defeating the French. Goya draws his portrait. The French subsequently regain Madrid.
1813Office of the Inquisition abolished by the Cortés. In June Wellesley (now Duke of Wellington) defeats the French at Victoria. Joseph I flees Spain. Ferdinand VII is released by Napoleon and signs alliance with France against Britain.
1814After a regency council is established in Madrid, Goya declares his wish to ‘perpetuate by means of the brush the most notable and heroic actions and scenes of our glorious insurrection against the tyrant of Europe’ (quoted in Tomlinson, 1994, p. 181) and paints the Second of May 1808 and the Third of May 1808 (Plates V2.5 and V2.6).
1814(April) Napoleon abdicates. Ferdinand VII later revokes the new constitution and reinstates the Inquisition. He establishes himself as an absolute ruler by divine right. Goya retains his court salary, pension and civil rights. However, the Baroque style of Vicente López (see Plate V2.4) seems to have found greater favour with the new king than Goya's more loosely painted and informal portrait style which, while highlighting the colours and textures of the royal costume (Plate V2.7), placed less emphasis on the trappings and swaggering pose of the monarch. Goya would also find himself out of step with Ferdinand's later preference for the neoclassical.
1816–17Goya etches the Disparates (Follies) series, not published until after his death.
1816Goya publishes etchings on bull fighting subjects. At the same time he produces works such as the Madhouse (Plate V2.8) satirising religion and authority, symbolised by the inmates' crowns and sceptres. In ‘private’ works such as this he was free to choose his subjects and could escape the confines of public commissions.
1819Goya moves to the Quinta del Sordo and a year later begins work on the so-called Black Paintings.
1820–3He works on later plates from the Disasters of War series.
1820Ferdinand VII is forced to become a constitutional monarch after a revolution. Goya later swears allegiance to the constitution and monarch.
1823The French under Louis XVIII invade Spain and restore Ferdinand to absolute power. Ferdinand instigates a reign of terror as he punishes liberals.
1824After going into hiding Goya witnesses an amnesty for liberals and asks leave, on grounds of health, to live in France. Ferdinand grants this. Goya visits Paris and probably the Salon, at which works by Delacroix, Ingres and Constable are exhibited. He then moves to Bordeaux where he lives for the rest of his life, although he visits Madrid in 1826 and 1827, partly to secure an annual pension from the king.
1828(16 April) Goya dies in Bordeaux. In 1901 his remains are transferred to Madrid, but it is discovered that his head is missing. In 1929 they are transferred to their current resting place, the church of San Antonio de la Florida, Madrid.
Figure 7
Figure 7 Francisco de Goya, As Far Back as his Grandfather, Plate 39 of Los Caprichos print series, 1799, etching with aquatint, 21.8 x 15.4 cm, private collection. Photo: Index/ Bridgeman Art Library.