Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos 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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Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos was born on 5 January 1744 in Gijón, Spain. He later died on 27 November 1811 in Veja. As a Spanish orator and poet, he was one of the most prominent figures of the 18th-century Spanish Enlightenment. He attained his Law Doctorate from the University of Salamanca.

Manuel Godoy, Prime Minister under Charles IV, gave Gaspar the position of Minister of Grace and Justice, which he held for eight months, following his alliance with revolutionary France. Court intrigue, rivals of politics, and others led to his exclusion from his position in the Defence Tower of the Charterhouse of Valldemossa and his imprisonment in 1801. The directives prohibited him from interacting with the outside world, and Jovellanos fell ill alone in his cage. The Carthusians then took possession of him and ordered the Court to cut its conviction. They also gave him books and papers for writing, allowing him to walk through the exterior without waiting for an answer.

After practising law, Jovellanos was assigned to judicial positions at Sevilla in 1767 and Madrid in 1778. He became famous for his intellectual and literary works and his honesty. Still, he was banned from Madrid to his native Asturia province from 1790 to 1797 after interfering unsuccessfully in the name of a disgraced comrade. There, he established and concluded his most influential work, an institution to encourage Asturian reform. His Jansenist religious policy change contributed in August 1798 to his fall from grace and from 1808 to March 1808 his incarceration in Mallorca. He declined the office of Interior Minister under José Bonaparte, instead of going to Cádiz as the delegate to the Supreme Central Commission of the Principality of Asturias. He died when he fled from the French on the way to Gijon.

This portrait is an oil on canvas piece of art created in 1798. Francisco de Goya was the most important Spanish painter of his day, according to his stormy works. His contemporaries best knew him for his tapestry cartoons with a light heart of recreation, sly bourgeois satirical grafts, and the psychology of aristocracy that penetrated through. He endured an unexplained illness that left him deaf. He experienced some of his most grim, cooling pictures of his late Black Paintings that were paintings done directly on his house's wall. They were purportedly haunted during Napoleon's occupation and depicted in the mass execution on 3 May 1808 of Spanish citizens. Now regarded as a prelude to modern art, Goya influenced the development of his masterpiece Guernica by many artists, including Pablo Picasso (1937).

Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos in Detail Francisco de Goya