A mid-century print of Goya's The Maja and the Gallants (1777) on 9" x 11.75" thick glossy paper with hints of patina.

Commentary on the work circa 1950s:

THE MAJA AND THE GALLANTS, 1777. TAPESTRY CARTOON. (108 × 75*) PRADO, MADRID. - The majas and majos were gay young people who overdressed in a fantastic manner, and Goya painted them with gusto. Here in a grove a girl in laces and silks is laughing with a cavalier in a cocked hat, his sturdy legs encased in white stockings, while a cloaked hidalgo glares at them from beneath his sombrero. It is like a scene from a masquerade. This was one of the very first of Goya's tapestry designs.

Commentary on Goya himself circa 1950s:

The striking thing about Goya, born though he was in the middle of the eighteenth century, is the compelling modernity of his art. Of his great fresco cycle in the church of San Antonio de la Florida in Madrid, painted in 1798, André Malraux has aptly said: "Here begins modern art." Equally remarkable is Goya's versatility, which few artists can rival. In the immense body of work he left behind (500 paintings, 280 etchings and lithographs, nearly 1000 drawings), there is an infinite variety, ranging from the starkest realism to demonic visions, from sedate glimpses of eighteenth-century life in Madrid to grim pictures of war and torture (on one of which, an etching in The Disasters of War, he wrote "Yo lo vi"-_-this I saw). His career spans a period of sixty years, from the 1760's to the 1820's. His commanding genius dominates the art of that period.

Goya was a true Spaniard--bold, temperamental, headstrong, obstinate and his long life is full of color, contrasts, and a war dictions. He was born on March 30, 1746, in the village of Fuendetodos, in Aragon, thirty-five miles from Saragossa. His father was a master gilder; his mother came of the Aragonese nobility. He attended school in Saragossa, the Escuela Pia run by Ignorantine monks. When he was fourteen he was apprenticed to a local painter, Jose Luzan, under whom he worked for about four years. He does not seem to have been a precocious student.

All the evidence suggests that he developed very slowly. Twice in the 1760' he competed for an art scholarship at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid and failed each time. Many legends have gathered around Goya's early life in Saragossa- picaresque tales of stormy love affairs, abductions, duels, knifings and so on. There may be some substance in them (tradition described him as a "wild and mischievous" boy), but for none is there any documentary proof.

By 1766 he was in Madrid working in the studio of Francisco Bayeu, an artist twelve years his senior who had also been trained by Luzan, and whose sister Goya married in 1773. Bayeu was in touch with court circles. The king, Charles III, was a patron of the arts and had invited to Spain the two most celebrated painters in Italy, Anton Raphael Mengs and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (who died in Madrid in 1770). The king was eager to revive the tapestry-weaving industry and charged Mengs to recruit a team of artists to design the tapestries. Bayeu was one of the artists chosen, and through him Goya too, beginning in 1775, was commissioned to paint tapestry cartoons for the royal manufactory of Santa Barbara. These tapestry cartoons are his first significant and original works.

Between 1775 and 1792 he painted nearly fifty of them. They are delightful pictures racy, carefree scenes of everyday life in Madrid, showing costumed majos and majas, fiestas, picnics, open-air dancing, and all the amusements of the common people. The tapestries woven from them went to decorate the royal palaces of Madrid, Aranjuez, El Pardo, the Escorial, and La Granja. After the tapestries had been made, Goya's cartoons disappeared for nearly a century; in 1869 they were discovered, rolled up and forgotten, in the cellars of the Madrid palace; they are now preserved in the Prado.

Goya was now fairly launched on his career. His work was noticed and appreciated at court, and he was given commissions for portraits and religious paintings. He was befriended by some of the most enlightened Spanish aristocrats of his day. He was given access to the magnificent royal collections where for the first time he could see and study pictures by Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Raphael, Van Dyck, Rubens, Rembrandt; this was an all-important experience. In 1789 he was appointed court painter. With The Caprices (1799) began the great sets of etchings which are among his most famous and distinctive works. But in 1792 he had suffered a severe illness which left him deaf. From that time on there is a change of mood, a growing vehemence and intensity, a passionate emotion, a turn to fantasy and satire. All these qualities burst into the open with the events of 1808 when French troops invaded Spain and Napoleon deposed King Ferdinand VII and replaced him with his brother Joseph Bonaparte. Revolt broke out in Madrid, and in putting it down the French committed terrible atrocities: these Goya recorded unforgettably in the set of etchings called The Disasters of War and the painting known as The Shootings of May Third.

For the next six years, until 1814, Spain suffered all the horrors of war, rapine and famine. Throughout the political convulsions of this period Goya took a middle course. Though undoubtedly a liberal at heart, he seems to have painted every portrait asked of him without inquiring into the politics of the sitter. He painted the reactionary and despotic Ferdinand VII when he came to the throne in 1808; after Ferdinand had been deposed by Napoleon, he painted the French puppet king Joseph Bonaparte; after King Joseph had been driven out of Madrid by the English army of liberation, he painted the Duke of Wellington; when Ferdinand was restored to the throne in 1814, he painted Ferdinand again and resumed his position as first court painter. But the restoration of King Ferdinand brought only renewed oppression and misrule to Spain; even the Inquisition was reinstituted, and Goya himself was summoned before its tribunal to answer for two pictures--the famous Maja Clothed and Maja Nude-which the inquisitors considered "obscene." Several of his liberal-minded friends had gone into exile. Finally, in 1824, when he was seventy-eight, he too left Spain. He went to Bordeaux, stayed there only a few days, and then went on to Paris, "eager to see the sights." There he visited the Salon, where paintings by Delacroix, Ingres, Constable, and Bonington were on exhibition; he must have visited the Louvre as well. After two months in Paris, he returned to Bordeaux where he spent the last years of his life. He was not alone. His wife had died in 1812, but he had a grown son, Xavier, and since his wife's death a distant relative, Doña Leocadia Weiss, had kept house for him; she now joined him in Bordeaux where, stone deaf and not speaking a word of French, he could hardly have managed without her. In the spring of 1828, while eagerly awaiting a visit from his son Xavier, he had a stroke of apoplexy and died on April 16, at the age of eighty-two.