Goya in Aragón

The cycle of the Fathers of the Western Church

(Zaragoza)

Goya painted, at three different times in his youth, between 1766 and 1773, three series of the Fathers of the Western and Roman Church, in three different places in Aragon: Calatayud, Muel and Remolinos. He broke away from the Rococco models of Francisco Bayeu for the the pendentives of the monastery church of Santa Engracia of Zaragoza (circa1762). In the church of San Juan el Real in Calatayud, former church of the Jesuits, Goya painted The Holy Fathers on the pendentives in oils on canvas glued to a wooden frame which in turn was nailed to the surface of the pendentives (each 20 m2). Painted on a deep blue background and executed with broad brushstrokes, which at times appear somewhat rough, the works possess a sense of the monumental and show the influence of Bayeu and Giaquinto.

The works painted in the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Fuente in Muel (Zaragoza province) may have been painted at the beginning of 1770, before Goya's departure for Italy. They are smaller than the previous works and follow the same model, except for the figure of San Jeronimo, the form of which Goya changed, dressing him in the same episcopal costume as the other Fathers. Painted in oils directly onto the wall, they are more expressionist in style.

The third and final work was painted in the church of Remolinos (Zaragoza province) sometime in 1773. The Fathers are painted on oval canvases. In 1782, after the restoration of the church, they were stuck to the pendentives of the cupola. This work shows signs of extreme care in execution and is of the highest quality. Without abandoning the Rococco aesthetic, Goya demonstrated his great artistic qualities in the refinement and chromatic harmony of the whites, yellows, greens and carmines of the pontifical clothing, which stand out from a blue background.


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Arturo Ansón

San Ambrosio. Calatayud (Zaragoza)
San Agustin. Calatayud (Zaragoza)
San Gregorio. Muel (Zaragoza)
San Jerónimo. Muel (Zaragoza)
San Ambrosio. Remolinos (Zaragoza)
San Jerónimo. Remolinos (Zaragoza)
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