Goya in Bordeaux (1999)


Director: Carlos Saura

Cast:  Francisco Rabal (Goya), Jos Coronado (Goya as a Young Man), Dafne Fernndez (Rosario), Eulalia Ramn (Leocadia), Maribel Verd (Duchess of Alba), Joaquin Climent (Moratin), Cristina Espinosa (Pepita Tudo), Jos Mara Pou (Godoy), Saturnino Garca (Priest/San Antonio), Concha Leza (Woman in Andalucia), Franco di Francescantonio (Doctor in Andalucia), Carlos Hiplito (Juan Valdes), Manuel de Blas (Salcedo), Pedro Azorn (Braulio Poe), Emilio Gutirrez Caba (Jose de la Cruz), Joan Valls (Novales), Paco Catal (Asensio), Mario De Candia (Bayeu), Jaime Losada (Gaulon), Ainhoa Surez (Rosarito, 8 year old), Jos Reche (Assasinated man), Demetrio Julin (San Antonio's Father), Jos Sinz (Guilty gravedigger), Stephane Salom (Young Frenchman), Roberto Arcilla (French Gentleman), Lorena Pellarini (French Lady), Azucena De La Fuente (Josefina Bayeu).

Goya and the Spanish exposition




You don't learn a lot about Goya in this movie, except for the period just before his death in Bordeaux, France.  The period before his death was a very painful one as he was deaf and slowly becoming blind, suffering from a great pain-inducing case of lead poisoning.  He is painting very dark pictures.

Some insight into the painter's past is presented through flash-backs, but not enough to cover the exciting events he lived through, especially the invasion of Napoleon, the French occupation of Spain and the considerable Spanish resistance to the occupation (that was so strong that Napoleon had to devote nearly half his army to the country at times).

I think it would be a big help to learn something of the background of the famous painter before watching the movie.  The movie is also a little slow at first, but picks up speed later.  But all in all, my wife and I enjoyed the movie.   

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 

Historical Background:


Francisco Jos de Goya y Lucientes  --  Spanish painter and engraver

Bourbon Dynasty (1700-1808 and 1813-1868)

1746 - 1759   --  reign of Ferdinand VI.

1746 (March 30)  --   Goya was born in Fuendetodos in Aragon, Spain. He was brought up in Zaragoza, where his father was a gilder. 

1759 - 1788 --  reign of Charles III.

1759  --  at the age of 13 Goya studied with local artist, Jos Lusn, who had trained in Naples, and was a friend of his father.

1763 and 1766  --  Goya competed unsuccessfully for a scholarship at the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid (probably working in the studio of the Court Painter Francisco Bayeu, who was also from Saragossa).

He went to Rome at his own expense to study art.  He may have met German artist Anton Raphael Mengs here.

1771 (April)  --  at an art competition held by the Academy of Parma, Goya introduced himself as a pupil of Francisco Bayeu.

1771 (by the end)  --  Goya back in Saragossa; he received his first official commission, the frescoes in the Cathedral of El Pilar.

1773  --  he married Josefa Bayeu, the sister of Francisco Bayeu, court painter to King Charles III of Spain.  He painted the Spanish royal family, including Charles IV and Ferdinand VII.

1774  --  the German artist Anton Raphael Mengs summoned Goya to Madrid to paint cartoons for tapestries for the Royal Factory of Santa Barbara.

1775-1792  -- Goya executed over 60 cartoon tapestries. 

1780  --  Goya elected a member of the Royal Academy of San Fernando.

1780-1781  --  Goya painted the frescoes of El Pilar in Saragossa. Later he returned to Madrid and received the royal invitation to paint one of seven large altarpieces for the newly built church of San Francisco el Grande.

1783-1785  --  Goya painted portraits:  the Chief Minister of State, the Count of Floridablanca, family portrait of the King's brother, Infante Don Luis, and court architect Ventura Rodriguez  His portraits were influenced by Velasquez. 

1785  --  Goya appointed Deputy Director of Painting in the Academy.

1785  --  he was commissioned for a series of portraits for the offices of the Banco Nacional de San Carlos.

1786  --  he became a court painter.

c. 1786-1788  --  Charles III in Hunting Costume.

period of 20 years  --  the Duke and Duchess of Osuna were his patrons.

1788 - 1808  --  reign of Charles IV.  He was a weak king with an unscrupulous Queen, Mara Luisa, causing Spain to fall into political and social corruption.

1788  --  Duke of Osuna commissioned two altarpieces for the chapel of his ancestors, St. Francis Borgia, in Valencia Cathedral.

1789  --  Goya appointed court painter.

1792  --  the lead in his pigments poisoned him and caused his deafness since 1792.  He was visiting Andalusia when he was struck with a malady that left him partially blind and deaf. 

1795  --  death of Francisco Bayeu; Goya succeeded him as Director of Painting in the Academy.

1797  --  because of ill health,, Goya has to resign as Director of Painting. 

some time between 1797 and 1800  --  his shocking portrait La Maja Desnuda showing a naked woman reclining on pillows on a bed.  It was so shocking because it was the first depiction of pubic hair in Western art.  The identity of the model is unknown.  Various candidates have been suggested, such as the mistress of the Spanish prime minister Manuel de Godoy, Duke of Alcudia, and Maria del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva Alvarez de Toledo, the Duchess of Alba, who it was rumored to had an affair with Goya. Some have suggested that the model is a composite of various models. 

There was so much controversy about the painting that Goya created a copy of the first painting, but this time the woman was lightly clothed.  The title was Maja Vestida ("The Clothed Maja").

1799   --  Goya appointed First Court Painter. Also in this year, Goya published 80 etchings called Los Caprichos, the Black Paintings.  The dark paintings were withdrawn from sale after a few days.

1802  --  death of the Dutchess of Alba.

1808  --  first reign of Ferdinand VII.

French Rule

1808 - 1813  --  reign of Joseph Bonaparte.

1808 (May 2 and 3)  --  Goya was in Madrid when the citizens rose against the French; Goya witnesses several scenes of savage repression.

After Napoleon seized power in Spain, Goya retired to his Deaf man's villa.  He painted pictures depicting scenes of the horror of the Peninsula War. 

during the occupation  --  Goya made a series of 82 dark and fearful etchings, Desastres de la Guerra (Disasters of the War).  (These were not published until 1863.)

1812 (August)  --  British troops under the Duke of Wellington entered Madrid.  Goya painted the portrait of the Duke. 

Bourbon Dynasty

1814 - 1833   second reign Ferdinand VII; Goya returned to his position as First Court Painter.  Duke of Alcudia (once lover of the queen) forced into exile for his cooperation with Napoleon. 

1814  --  The Third of May, 1808: The Execution of the Defenders of Madrid by French soldiers.

1815  --  the Spanish Inquisition demanded that Goya tell them who the model was in La Maja Desnuda. It is not known what he said, but he was stripped of his position as the Spanish court painter.

1817  --  painting of St. Justa and St. Rufina for the Seville Cathedral.

1819  --  painting of  The Last Communion of St. Joseph of Calasanz for the church of the Escuelas Pas de San Antn in Madrid.

1819  --  Saturn Devouring His Son, one of fourteen in a series called the Black Paintings, that prefigure the expressionist movement. 

1820  --   the revolution of 1820; Ferdinand VII forced to recognize a constitution.

1821-1823  --  Leocadia.

1823  --  the French army restore the Spanish king to absolute power; the liberals are persecuted. 

1824 (early)  --  Goya went into hiding. After the declaration of amnesty Goya left Spain, Goya lived in Bordeaux in the South West of France in the Aquitaine region.

1825  --  during the counter-revolutionary terror, the shameful hanging death of Juan Martin Diaz, El Empecinado (1775-1825), Spanish patriot and guerrilla, took place because of his liberal ideas. Leocadia took care of Goya in Bordeaux.  She had a daughter named Rosario.  Goya told people to treat her as his daughter and some have speculated that he may have been his daughter by Leocadia. 

1826  --  short visit to Madrid.

1827  --  short visit to Madrid. 

1828 (April 16)  --  death of the now blind and deaf painter. 



Return To Main Page

Return to Home Page (Vernon Johns Society)