His bourgeois tastes and economic position

Goya was a tireless worker, and an authentic bourgeois in this ideas, friends and tastes



Self-portrait with glasses (Musée Bonnat, Bayona)

Goya, who did not have an easy childhood because of his family's economic difficulties, decided to make his fortune as a painter and build a solid economic base for himself. He was a true bourgeois in his tastes, a lover of comforts (clothes, carriages, etc.). He also knew how to invest his abundant earnings from his work for the Court, the honours he received as a result, and the commissions from the aristocracy, the bourgeoisie, and high ranking functionaries in the Royal administration. Goya knew how to enjoy what he earned. After a difficult beginning, he was the proud beneficiary of the salary of professor of the Academia de San Fernando (1780), the commissions for painting tapestry cartoons and the substantial payments for his portrait work, the sum of which gave him the means to live a comfortable life. This situation was further improved when he was appointed to the post of Court painter (25, 000 reales a year), which was doubled when he was made First Court painter in 1799.

He felt well satisfied with his comfortable economic position and said as much to his friend, Martin Zapater. Goya, like a true bourgeois, was more than fond of material things. He owned several carriages. One was a barouche with which he had more than one accident. Later he was the owner of a berline in which he promenaded around Madrid, a rival to the most blue-blooded aristocrat.

In matters of dress, he followed the latest Paris fashion. He was also able to prepare for a comfortable old age and a secure future for his son, Javier. To do so, he invested part of his income in the Banco de San Carlos (later to become the Banco de España) and later invested in French banks. In the latter part of his life, he acquired the the country house known as the Quinta del Sordo, on the other side of the river Manzanares in Madrid.


Arturo Ansón



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