Spain had been left out of the Enlightenment and there were those who were hopeful when a man of the people, Napoléon, became the leader of France. However, when Napoléon crowned himself Emperor all hopes of a new democratic age were dashed. Napoléon’s imperial ambitions began to ravage Europe and the trauma of a decade of war was an impetus for Romanticism. Indeed, Romanticism in Spain is the creation of Napoléon, who invaded the country of the court painter, Francisco Goya. Goya was a court painter and careful portraitist to the Royal Family until he was an unwilling witness to the invasion of Spain by French troops. Goya’s Romanticism is a mindset of outrage as he recorded the invasion and occupation of the French forces. The result is an art of the extremes: a Romanticism lived on the edge of fear and madness. More than any other modern artist, Goya captured the randomness of modern death and modern war and the lingering traumas that follow.

If you have found this material useful, please give credit to Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette and Art History Unstuffed.
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