Goya, the bourgeois

Goya identified with Enlightenment beliefs throughout his rise to the haute-bourgeoisie



Self-portrait
Goya identified with Enlightenment beliefs throughout his rise to the haute-bourgeoisie. If one thing was always clear to Goya, it was his social standing and his affiliation to it. Don Francisco was more than aware of his social status when he signed the Caprichos "Francisco de Goya, painter." He was a man proud of his vocation, which required a specialized knowledge and an enormous capacity for work. It was a skill that had enabled him to live a comfortable life and reach the highest post amongst the Court painters. He was someone who earned his living with his own hands, derived satisfaction fro this and aked for no more that to be allowed to do so unmolested.

One finds that the most recurrent themes in his pictorial criticism of the Spanish bourgeoisie were the following:

  • The criticism of idleness, of the nobility, the clergy and of beggars and gossips, and the corresponding praise of productive work

  • The criticism of violence and disorder, whatever its origins, and its consequences.

  • The criticism of irrationality, crudeness and intolerance.

  • Corresponding praise of merit and individual liberty, of effort, a peaceful life, tolerance and an awareness of the social codes and norms that make for civilised living.

His criticisms were not limited to just one social class, he strongly attacked the aristocracy, the clergy and the commoners. He focused especially on parasitism and irrationality; two evils which only brought misfortune for some and laid an unfair weight on those who were willing to carry the social and economic burdens.


By Francisco Javier García Marco


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