Each day this month I will be profiling a notable political cartoonist. Since the choices are vast, I’ve decided to slim the numbers down a bit and eliminate living cartoonists. Perhaps I will do a current political cartoon stars in the future.
Here‘s an archive of the artists mentioned already.
Today we look at one of the greatest artists of all time, who also happened to be one of the earliest political cartoonists, as well.
So yeah, Francisco Goya – do I really need to brief y’all that much on his paintings? Born in 1746, Goya studied painting for years, and in his late twenties, he began making a name for himself in Spain, and ultimately was made a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Art.
He was popular with the royalty, and grew even more popular in the late 1790s, when Charles IV became king. He gave Goya a major court role as a painter.
Goya’s paintings were mostly historical works, with bold colors and a nice little subversive streak.
He is often considered either the last of the Old Masters or the first Modern Master.
Picasso, Manet and many other legends drew inspiration from Goya.
However, the dude also did political cartoons!!!
He did two major sets of cartoons. The first one came in 1792, when Goya (who was sick with fever and had gone deaf) began to study the French Revolution and the philosophies behind it, leading to a series of etched paintings called The Caprichos.
Here are some of them, with their (rather vague, really) captions – they’re pretty dark.
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
“All will fall”
“Those specks of dust”
“What a tailor can do”
“They have flown”
Later in his life, irked by the horrors being reported from the Peninsular War of the early 19th Century, Goya produced probably his most outright political cartoons, a large set called The Disasters of War.
Sad presentiments of what must come to pass.
With or without reason.
The women give courage.
They avail themselves.
It will be the same.
The same (thing) elsewhere.
Goya passed away in 1828, a legend in his own time.