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Goya: from the Aragonese painter to the universal genius


El Prado is Goya's temple. But you have to go to Zaragoza and Fuendetodos to understand in all its dimensions the germ of universal genius. Places that were and are also the home of the teacher.

May 3, 1808, of


The load of the rompers,

of course.

The family of Carlos IV, of course

. The uncertain grotto of the

Black Paintings

and the echoes of the Quinta del Sordo ..., fascination and fear in its purest form. The artist lives in the Prado, especially in the Prado. But it is impossible to fully penetrate the universe of Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Fuendetodos, 1746-Bordeaux, 1828) without first looking at his Aragonese stage of childhood, youth and training, and the places that treasure it. Everything that came after was there, in the making, and this has not always been well understood. An urgent trip through the Aragonese Goya can give clues - even more clues - about the dimension of the genius in the year in which its 275th anniversary is commemorated.

The Goya Museum-Ibercaja Collection-Camón Aznar Museum, located in the Jerónimo Cósida palace, from the 16th century, houses an impressive range of works and periods of the Aragonese painter before being a universal genius. Goya's first known self-portrait, executed around 1775, shortly after settling in Madrid; the portrait of the military man and naturalist Félix de Azara; that of Queen María Luisa de Parma, wife of Carlos IV; the model or sketch of

La Gloria or Adoration of the name of God

for the choreography of the Pilar, and another extraordinary previous study for one of his great paintings,

El 2 de mayo de 1808 or La carga de los mamelucos

are some of the Goya treasures contained in the old palace on Calle de Espoz and Mina de Zaragoza, a three-minute walk from the Puerta del Pilar ... where, of course, you always have to return to admire the monumentality of the Goya de La Adoration and of the Regina Martyrum.

'The Glory or Adoration of the Name of God', one of the two monumental works executed by Goya in the basilica of Pilar in Zaragoza.

It was commissioned for the choir and Goya was 26 years old when he painted it. Diego Sánchez and Borja Larrondo (The Kids Are Right)

Beyond the mere contemplation of the 14 paintings, drawings and 5 series of engravings in a spectacular room in the shadows of an essential visit, the visitor attends in the Goya-Ibercaja-Camón Aznar the contextualization of the artist with his teachers and with His Followers. It is a brief but intense journey through the Goya universe: from his first stage of training in Zaragoza at the José Luzán academy, passing through the first works painted before the trip to Italy, almost all of a devotional and religious type, such as the

San Cristóbal ;

sketches such as the one of the work that he would execute in the choreography of Pilar on his return from Italy, and others that are very interesting to see the process of the young master's work and that greatly predate the pioneering artist of expressionism.

Not everything will be lights in the Aragonese stage of the genius. There are also shadows: "In speaking of Zaragoza and painting I am burning alive," Goya will say when the Cabildo del Pilar forces him to submit to the taste and academic canon of his brother-in-law Francisco Bayeu, after the religious establishment did not like the images at all. Virtues painted by Goya on the pendentives of the dome in his work

Regina Martyrum

. "But in those paintings of the Pilar, Goya already shows that he is a genius," says Charo Añaños, the director of this museum, who hints at a bitter aftertaste regarding what could be called the Zaragoza / Goya brand: "Most Of the visitors to the city go to the Aljafería, the Lonja and the Pilar, but they would also have to come to this museum and the Zaragoza Museum, and sometimes it costs them. And it is true that there should be greater collaboration, greater articulation between institutions, and between institutions and the private sphere, so that the issue of Zaragoza as Goya's city would work better. Okay, the best of Goya is in the Prado, but that first Goya of the formative years, of the first commissions…, it is here, in Zaragoza, and it is a very important stage in the career of the genius ”.

In the Plaza de los Sitio, one of the icons of the city, there is the Zaragoza Museum. Its director, Isidro Aguilera, is aware that the facelift and reorganization to which he is about to subject the museum can be unevenly understood. Goya's extraordinary set of works will be relocated to the galleries. In it, works from the Aragonese period of the painter's training stand out, as well as from his beginnings in Italy (

Aníbal crossing the Alps

) or his court painting, such as the portraits of Carlos IV, María Luisa de Parma, Fernando VII, the Duke of San Carlos or the infant Luis María de Borbón. "Surely there will be people who will criticize us because they will want to see all Goya gathered, and surely some politicians will want to see all the Goya piled up, but no, we are not going to create a Goya space," explains the museum director as we walk through its wide spaces . “We do not want him to be isolated, but to be interrelated with his time, with his teachers, his contemporaries, his Italian referents; In other words, with its context, because around Goya there has been and is a lot of speculation and a lot of story. We want this discourse to converge towards the mature artist, the Madrilenian, the court artist, who, yes, will be practically alone in a kind of sancta sanctorum ”.

The bust of Goya in Fuendetodos (Zaragoza), his hometown, withstood the incessant bombardments of the Aragón Front in the Civil War. Diego Sánchez and Borja Larrondo (The Kids Are Right)

José Luis Ona is the author of

Goya and his family in Zaragoza.

New biographical news

(Institución Fernando el Católico, Diputación de Zaragoza), an indispensable book to understand the local roots of the painter, of which hardly any minimum details were known before its publication in 1997. The work is the result of exhaustive research and documentation in the archives of the more than 20 parishes of the city. “The parish license plates”, explains Ona in front of the facade of the church of San Miguel de los Navarros, “have helped me to keep track of Goya and his family from year to year, because they are records that each parish made mandatory on all its parishioners, and in which it contained address, number, order of the house by streets and who lived there, if they were in the parish, etcetera; it is a very valuable documentary base ”. Some documents that served, for example,so that Ona could identify the small yellowish building in the Plaza de San Miguel - formerly Calle del Perro - where the Goya family home in Zaragoza stood there in 1769 ... or, rather, one of them, since they lived at least in ... nine. Among them is the current Plaza de San Miguel, the only one of all that still stands. Having, in fact, lost the house that the artist's father had bought due to not being able to pay the mortgage, the family went to the rental house market, “tremendously volatile at the time”, as José Luis Ona points out. It is seen that the times have not changed so much depending on what things.since they lived at least in… nine. Among them is the current Plaza de San Miguel, the only one of all that still stands. Having, in fact, lost the house that the artist's father had bought due to not being able to pay the mortgage, the family went to the rental house market, “tremendously volatile at the time”, as José Luis Ona points out. It is seen that the times have not changed so much depending on what things.since they lived at least in… nine. Among them is the current Plaza de San Miguel, the only one of all that still stands. Having, in fact, lost the house that the artist's father had bought due to not being able to pay the mortgage, the family went to the rental house market, “tremendously volatile at the time”, as José Luis Ona points out. It is seen that the times have not changed so much depending on what things.

The difficulties experienced by the painter in the family environment during his youth from Zaragoza, before the decisive trip to Italy with just over 23 years of age, will forge a personality that Ona defines as “economically conservative, not entirely nickel, but almost”. And he adds: “You just have to imagine what for the young Goya it must have meant having to go several times behind the moving car because his parents had lost their house…, a tremendous shame. And this is something that you have to know to later understand its trajectory. He will no longer take a wrong step. It is ascending in the artistic, social and economic. He starts investing with a lot of head, things are going well for him ”. From the family misfortune to the influential court painter, a whole journey.

But José Luis Ona's book not only reconstructs in detail the childhood and youth of Zaragoza of the "universal deaf", but also pays attention to the microcosm of Fuendetodos, where he was born on March 30, 1746 ... and not on March 31, as it says the inscription on a Carrara marble plaque, a design by the sculptor Mariano Benlliure on the facade of the birthplace (they made a mistake and put the date of the baptismal certificate: “In this humble house, the famous painter Francisco de Goya y Lucientes. March 31, 1746 - April 16, 1828 ”).

The painter's birthplace in Fuendetodos (Zaragoza), which receives more than 20,000 visitors a year Diego Sánchez and Borja Larrondo (The Kids Are Right)

We are in what was also the hometown of Doña Gracia Lucientes, the artist's mother, married to the master gilding José Goya.

José Luis Ona's thesis points out that the future genius was born in Fuendetodos after the family had moved there (where they had well-situated contacts and relatives) during the remodeling works of their house in Zaragoza.

The birth house of the genius

And there arises, in the middle of the town, the modest three-story caracoleña stone house, with whitewashed walls and exposed pine beams painted white. About 25,000 people visit it every year. Ricardo Centellas, manager of the Goya-Fuendetodos Cultural Consortium, has his theories in this regard: “Of course, this was not the house of the Lucientes family, who were well-located sons and daughters, this would be a house owned by Goya's great-uncle who, surely, he used to rent to third parties, a house that in its day was an inn for trajineros, stonemasons and ranchers who passed through Fuendetodos, which at that time - and still today - was a crossroads ”.

It is documented that Tomás Goya, Francisco de Goya's brother, exploited this small building as an inn and inn. Today four rural houses, a hotel —with a total of 60 beds among the five establishments—, an apartment hotel with seven apartments under construction, a hostel and a project for a charming hotel have come to replace the old inn for walkers. It is clear: Fuendetodos is a small tourist magnet with a present and a future half an hour from Zaragoza. Not only, although above all, due to Goya's irresistible footprint, but also as a pilgrimage center for ornithology fans, hunters and visitors from neighboring Belchite, whose ruins are the great symbol of the Civil War on the front of Aragon.

The Consortium, dependent on the Zaragoza Provincial Council and the Fuendetodos City Council, manages both the Goya birthplace and the Ignacio Zuloaga temporary exhibition hall (the Basque painter acquired Goya's house in 1913 and in 1917 the adjoining building of the schools), the Antonio Saura engraving workshop and the Engraving Museum. In it, the successive masterpieces of engraving that Goya gave to the history of art are exposed, and among them, a small treasure: a first complete edition of the

Disasters of War

, property of the Fuendetodos City Council. Let's say that this is the luminous part of Goya in Fuendetodos. The dark one has the form of a never completed project: that of a mammoth and defunct Museum of Engraving on the outskirts of town. Perpetrated in the times of the fat cows of the cultural 1%, encouraged by the Ministry of Culture with an initial grant of 450,000 euros in 2009 (the total budget amounted to six million) and parked since 2014 it seems that definitely, the 12 giant cubes of concrete and glass - which in the end remained at six and then at nothing - designed by the architects Beatriz Matos and Alberto Martínez are still there, stranded on the banks of the A-2101. The Fuendetodos City Council continues to pay today about 80,000 euros in debt each year.

Two members of Goyescos de Fuendetodos, dressed in period costumes. This association recovers the traditions, dances and costumes of Goya's times. Diego Sánchez and Borja Larrondo (The Kids Are Right)

Enrique Salueña is the mayor of this town inhabited by about 300 souls in summer and just over 100 the rest of the year.

His enthusiasm and drive to defend the figure of Goya, as it happens to Ricardo Centellas, is only comparable to his natural sympathy.

And to his lucidity in confused times: “Just the year before the pandemic was historic in hiring.

Every day we had two or three full coaches here, many of them French.

We had hired more staff to take care of the visitors, but suddenly the French began to cancel… and we said: 'How exaggerated!'… And then look, the French were right! ”, Says the mayor.

One of the projects launched and that has borne extraordinary results, Salueña and Centellas explain, is called

Los Disparates de Fuendetodos.

. The aim is to promote traditional engraving and etching, especially intaglio techniques, through the intervention of prominent contemporary artists who come, execute an original work and exhibit their works. More than fifty have already passed through here: Günter Grass, who exhibited his etchings; Ouka Leele, Alberto Corazón, Cristina Iglesias, Luis Feito, Daniel Canogar, Guillermo Pérez Villalta, Antonio Saura (the engraving workshop bears his name)… To this is added the series of works of urban art and graffiti by young Aragonese artists deployed through the streets and squares of Fuendetodos. If Francisco de Goya y Lucientes got up from his grave in San Antonio de la Florida and walked around his town ... he would probably have a smile.

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2021-07-24

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