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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Came Francisco Jos? Goya 1746 1828

to mediocrity, when artists

were endeavoring to treat their themes only according to prescribed rules and manners, came Francisco Jos? Goya (1746-1828), the greatest painter of his time and one of the greatest of all history, deserving of a place with Vel?zquez, El Greco, and Murillo, perhaps ranking ahead of the two last-named in the list of superb exponents of the pictorial art whom Spain has given to the world. The keynote of his work was the free expression of his own personality, unhampered by convention. A thorough-going realism, both in subject-matter and in manner of treatment, was a distinctive feature of his painting, which sought to represent character, movement, and life. Even his religious pictures set forth matters as his own eyes saw them, resulting in the anachronism of scenes from sacred history in which the figures and the atmosphere were Spanish of Goya's day. He was a most prolific painter, leaving a vast number of portraits, ranging from those of members or groups of the royal family from Charles III to Ferdinand VII (notably the family of Charles IV) to persons of lesser note, some religious paintings (which are not so convincing as his other works), an exceptionally large number of scenes depicting popular customs (an invaluable collection, in which respect Goya was at his best), the stirringly patriotic pictures of the _Dos de Mayo_ in 1808 and the executions of the following day, and the two remarkable _majas_ (the one dressed and the other nude, each being the same person in the
same attitude). Hundreds of his cartoons are still in existence, many of them exhibiting such freedom from convention and such unrestraint as to have shocked his contemporaries and many others ever since. Withal he was a most brilliant, clear, and harmonious colorist, able to get audacious effects which were extraordinary in his day, a forerunner of the modern schools. It is worthy of note that the Americas stepped forth in this period to supply several notable artists comparable with those of the age in Spain, Goya excepted.

[Sidenote: The industrial arts.]

As for the various lesser arts of an industrial character, such as the making of furniture, articles of gold and silver, rich fabrics, and vases, the same succession of baroque and neo-classic styles is to be noted. Thus the furniture of the earlier years affected twisted and grotesque forms, while it was later shaped upon stiltedly correct lines. The azulejos industry remained in existence, making use of blue, yellow, green, and occasionally rose. Gold work was of scant importance, but the making of tapestries was rather notable; they were combined with the paintings of leading artists, many of which were supplied by Goya.

[Sidenote: Spanish music.]

In the realm of music the realistic and popular indigenous type had to contend against the Italian school. The latter found favor at court and among the erudite, but the national product held its own with the people, appearing especially in the plays of dramatists of the Spanish school, such as Ram?n de la Cruz. Some of the native songs were mythological or idyllic in character, but usually they were satirical or funny, interwoven with popular melodies and even with the musical cries with which street vendors called out their wares, admirably adapted to the realistic plays in which they were sung. It was to the national Spanish music that the great foreign masters looked, and this, therefore, was able to contribute notably to the progress of the art; Mozart and Rossini were among the composers affected by Spanish influences. Despite the construction at this time of magnificent organs, religious music in Spain remained in a state of corruption and decay. The guitar continued to be the favorite musical instrument.

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