Goya

Goya

Goya

Goya

Excerpt

In 1772 Goya returned to Saragossa. His sojourn in Italy was rewarded by certain local fame corroborated by a group of important commissions. The trustees of El Pilar asked his collaboration in the decoration of the new church. The Aragonese nobility became his clients in the decorations for the Palace of Sobradiel. The religious communities became his patrons with the murals of the Carthusian Monastery of Aula Dei.

His first painting in El Pilar was a large composition representing the Glory of Heaven , finished in 1772, and executed in the vault of the little choir. This is a timid and cold imitation of the Italian frescoes inspired by the ceiling decorations of Tiepolo in the Royal Palace at Madrid. Not skilled in foreshortening, Goya avoided Tiepolo's fantastic visual angles, but adopted his scheme of composition and lighting.

The murals from the Palace of Sobradiel (Saragossa Museum) small compositions painted in oil on a preparation of dark red color, reveal his overwhelming passion for expression which, in this early stage, frequently made his drawing inaccurate and the lighting harsh and false. Although the predominant and shocking combination of red and yellow gives a strange appearance to these paintings, they possess in embryo, what Goya was to express later. Figures and drapery are well articulated and, despite a baroque feeling, awareness of Mengs' theories is apparent. They are generally considered contemporary with the paintings of Aula Dei, but their affinity to the Sacristy of Fuendetodos may indicate a time even earlier than the dated decoration of El Pilar. The Sobradiel and El Pilar decorations are a natural consequence of the combined influences of Italy and Madrid.

In the paintings for the Carthusian Monastery of Aula Dei, Saragossa, Goya displays a more monumental style, foreshadowing later figural types. Lighting effects are still Tiepolesque, but the nebulous baroque quality is virtually abandoned. The Epiphany is an experiment in simple figures, strongly lighted, against a dark background, but in the Birth of the Virgin , another lighting experiment is essayed; the single light source is modified by a complex symphony of reflections--a technique favored in later paintings. The Saints of the Church of Remolinos are close to the Aula Dei style.

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