Black Paintings by Goya

The idea that absolute power corrupts is shown through Francisco Goya’s Black Paintings. Goya’s paintings were harsh for a reason, it would be flat out silly to believe that Spain’s society at the time had absolutely nothing to do with Goya’s paintings, it had almost everything to do with it. “The Black Paintings are in effect the most extreme manifestation of the growing misunderstanding and estrangement between modern society and the artist.” (Fred Licht, 2001) His artwork was a brutal, but honest reflection on society at the time. The paintings all hold a theme of torture, which is what Goya felt after his suffering of two near-fatal illnesses and isolation due to disgust of mankind under Napoleon’s rule.
Goya’s talent was noticed by King Carlos III and was commissioned to paint his portrait. He later was given a salaried position in 1786 to Charles III and reached his peak of popularity with royalty after Charles’ death and the revolution in France in 1789. He would paint pictures for kings, queens, and their royal families; he also received orders from within the Spanish nobility. After Goya suffered serious illness he became introspective and experimental with his art.
The turbulent politics in Spain during the 1800s contributed to the disturbing nature of the Black Paintings. Napoleons reign in Europe began with the breaking of the Treaty of Fontainebleau and Napoleon ordered French commanders to seize Spanish fortresses on February 1808. He later took political control over Spain and had followers known as Spanish afrancesados, which were Spaniards who believed that the French influence would bring modernization, liberty, and abolition of the Spanish Inquisition; and Goya was one of them. King Ferdinand was later restored to the throne of Spain in 1814 and Spanish afrancesados were targeted for bringing upon the Napoleonic occupation. Many of them were identified, disgraced, and punished with physical abuse or being stripped of their political titles....