Painting: A Share in the Bacchanal

Francisco Goya was 54 and at the height of his fame and powers in 1800 when, as first court painter, he was called on by his sovereign, King Charles IV, to immortalize the royal family. The shimmering panorama that Goya created has been called his supreme tour de force. With devastating candor, he laid bare the indolence of the King, the shallow depravity of Queen Maria Luisa (whose intrigues on behalf of her lover Godoy had reduced the Bourbon court to its final debility), and the self-centered vacuity of their relations. In...

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