Goya's Religious Paintings and Their Role in Constructing an Artistic Identity
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My thesis examines four major religious commissions from distinct points within Goya's artistic development. Each piece serves as a touchstone for a discussion of its particular moment, provoking analyses of iconography, history, aesthetics, or patronage. These paintings offer profound evidence of the artist's ability to tactfully navigate the demands of involved patrons, religious decorum, complex aesthetic allegiances, and his own desire for invention. My thesis opposes teleological readings of Goya's work that have historically privileged both his secular and later work. Instead, I take an episodic approach and argue the merit of each work on its own for revealing a unique and invaluable element of Goya's artistic identity. By demonstrating the similarity in conception that exists between Goya's religious and non-religious works, and by asserting the equivalent value of these two traditional groupings, I aim to deconstruct the religious genre itself as it pertains to Goya.