Autumn, or The Grape Harvest (La Vendimia) Francisco de Goya Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Autumn or The Grape Harvest La Vendimia was a masterpiece created between 1786 and 1787 by Francisco de Goya. The oil on canvas painting is currently housed at The Prado National Museum in Madrid. The painting size is 267.5 cm by 190.5 cm.

The painting was created in a field where readers see peasant farmers working in the background, harvesing grapes. On the foreground is an elegant majo who offers a bunch of ripe grapes to a girl. However, a young boy whose back faces the viewer reaches out to grab the grapes. There is a peasant girl standing behind them, who balances some grapes in a basket on her head. Both the majo and the girl he offers some grapes are seated on a raised concrete platform, possibly monitoring how the peasants are working in the field.

Goya has also given a detailed view of the landscape with the mountainous features of Madrid being evident in the background. It is thought that the child that is reaching out to grab the grapes was one of the peasants' children that had been left there as the parents worked in the field. The painting shows the great contrast between the rich and the poor that was evident during the time. The rich had everything they wanted while the poor did not have enough to go by. Unfortunately, the rich were so mean that they would not help the poor. In this case, despite the big harvest that the majo enjoyed, he did not give a few grapes to the young boy that stood behind them. It was a sorry state of the affairs as shown by the painter.

Grape harvest in Spain happens during the autumn period after which it is taken to the winepress for making the wines. This tradition has been around for centuries. Goya captures one of the many grape harvesting periods that he witnessed during his lifetime and shows the inequality that was characteristic of the society by then. The artist used Romanticism style of art when creating this masterpiece. This type of art focused on feelings, emotions and all kinds of spirituality in the painting. Artists delivered more than the physical value of the painting. Instead, they sent a message about the issues subjects in the painting were facing. In this case, Goya combined two major elements into one. First, he showed the peaceful beauty of Madrid landscape and interlaced it with the problems faced by subjects in the painting. He also uses colour to show the time and weather of the day as well as create intricate objects in the painting.

Autumn, or The Grape Harvest (La Vendimia) in Detail Francisco de Goya