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(Born Fuendetodos, nr. Saragossa, 30 March 1746; died Bordeaux, 16 April 1828). Spanish painter, printmaker and draughtsman. He was the most powerful and original European artist of his time, but his genius was slow in maturing and he was well into his thirties before he began producing work that set him apart from his contemporaries. The son of a gilder, he trained initially with a local painter in Saragossa, then in 1763 moved to Madrid, where he continued his studies under Francisco Bayeu (he twice failed in attempts to enrol at the Academy of San Fernando). After a visit to Italy (c.1768–71), he worked in Saragossa, then after marrying Bayeu's sister in 1773 he settled in Madrid in 1774. Bayeu secured him employment making designs for the royal tapestry factory, and this took up most of his working time from 1775 to 1780 (he continued the work more sporadically until 1792). Goya made 63 tapestry designs in all (most of them are in the Prado, Madrid). Although they are usually referred to as ‘cartoons’, they are in fact finished oil paintings, many of them of impressive size (the largest are more than 6 m (20 ft) wide). The subjects range from idyllic scenes to realistic incidents of everyday life; they are conceived in a lively and romantic spirit and executed with Rococo decorative charm, but they are sometimes spiced with a sardonic humour that looks forward to Goya's later work.

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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