The seasons, Goya

The seasons, Goya
The seasons, Goya

Neoclassical painting in Spain is marked by the figure of a painter who knew how to surpass his contemporaries in basically all aspects of art, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes. Throughout his artistic career, the painter and engraver from Zaragoza monopolized most of the royal commissions, in this sense Carlos III had already commissioned several tapestries that were to decorate the halls and bedrooms of the Palace of El Pardo where the monarch retired especially in winter. In fact, most of the pieces that are preserved from this palace are not oil paintings themselves, but preparatory cartoons for tapestries that had to be woven in the Royal Tapestry Factory of Santa Bárbara.


It seems that after making other series, at the end of the decade of the eighties –specifically between 1786 and 1787- Goya was commissioned to make the cartoons of the four seasons along with nine other country-type scenes that bore the name of Paintings of Jocular and Pleasant Matters. The works were never completed and it does not seem certain what their destination would be either, but the option that the paintings should be for the dining room of the Prince and Princess of Asturias, the future monarchs Carlos IV and María Luisa, was lowered.

In the tapestries you can see the monarch's taste for illustrated scenes, with a typical character of traditional Madrid that combines perfectly with the attention to detail ofFlemish origin. In addition, in his time the Spanish tapestries were one of the most valued in the European market since they were made with threads of materials as valuable as silk, gold or silver.

The pictures of the seasons were grouped in pairs so that summer and winter were hung on the same wall and flanking the balcony were the images of spring and autumn. The first of the seasons that we will analyze here will be Autumn, which is also known as The Harvest: the scene features four characters arranged in the foreground. A man dressed as a majo appears sitting on a wall and handing a bunch of grapes to a maja while a small boy tries to reach them. To complete the scene, pair the figure of a peasant woman carrying on her head a wicker basket with several bunches that she has just picked from the vineyard

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