Statue of Francisco de Goya in Plaza Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Zaragoza, Aragón

Aragón, following in the footsteps of Goya


If you’re an art lover, you’re bound to have heard of Francisco de Goya, one of the most important Spanish artists of all time. In Aragón - the region where he was born - there’s an interesting tourist route that you can take, stopping in the villages where he left his mark, and admiring magnificent monuments like the Basílica del Pilar (in the city of Zaragoza) and the Cartuja de Aula Dei monastery. You’ll find it fascinating to learn a little more about the life and work of this brilliant artist while exploring this area of Spain. 

The origins of a genius

Goya was born in 1746; he painted King Charles IV and the royal family, and captured historic events such as the Second of May Uprising in 1808 in Madrid, and gave free rein to his imagination in his famous black paintings. Today, Goya and his vast oeuvre are still studied in art schools in Spain and all over the world.While most of his most famous paintings are to be found in the Prado Museum in Madrid, on this occasion we invite you to discover Aragón, the region where he was born, grew up and created many of his works. It’s true that the artist travelled to many other places in Spain, and lived in other countries. But Zaragoza and other cities in Aragón reveal the legacy that the painter left behind. The Goya route through Aragón:

Statue of Francisco de Goya in Plaza Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Zaragoza, Aragón

Start out on your journey from Zaragoza. The paintings in the city’s churches are Goya’s earliest works as a religious painter. The best known of these is the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar. Here you’ll find frescoes, paintings and altarpieces by the artist. It is here that he painted the Regina Martyrum, an innovative work that shows Goya’s energy and expressiveness. The Adoration of the Name of God, an enormously challenging work for the artist, can also be seen on the ceiling of the cupola over the choir. Moreover, the Museo Pilarista, located inside the Basilica itself, houses a great many sketches. 

The Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Zaragoza, Aragón

Near El Pilar stands the house of the Marqueses de Sobradiel and the Casa Tarín, buildings where Goya painted some of his works, such as Saint Joseph’s Dream and several portraits of Ferdinand VII. These paintings, together with dozens more, are on display at the Museum of ZaragozaContinuing your tour of the Aragonese capital, the Goya - Colección Ibercaja Camón Aznar Museum will surprise you with the most complete collection of etchings by Goya in the world. Nearby you’ll also find portraits of all the archbishops of Zaragoza, some painted by Goya, in the Mueso Diocesano. And at the Alma Mater Museum there’s a portrait of Archbishop Joaquin Company.Just a few kilometres outside the city of Zaragoza stands the Cartuja de Aula-Dei, a beautiful monastery and one of the best preserved monumental complexes in Aragón, where Goya also left his mark in frescoes.

Views of the interior of the Goya Museum in Zaragoza, Aragón

Touring Aragón

If you decide to hire a car and take a tour around the rest of Aragón, you’ll see that many towns and villages still have some of Goya’s work.Your first stopping point should without a doubt be Fuendetodos, located around 50 kilometres form Zaragoza, where you can visit the house where the artist was born (decorated with period furniture), the Etchings Museum (Museo del Grabado) and the Sala Zuluaga. His four magnificent series of etchings are on display at the museum, and the Sala Zuluaga specialises in contemporary graphic art. Looking for more places to explore? In Muel he decorated the pendentives at the Ermita de la Virgen de la Fuente; in Alagón he painted the fresco on the cupola of theCasa de la Cultura; the church of San Bautista en Remolinos houses four of his canvases; another three of his works are to be found at the Palace of the Duques de Villahermosa in Pedrola; and in Calatayud he created the mural The Four Fathers of the Church in the church of San Juan el Real. 

Façade of the house where Francisco de Goya was born, in Fuendetodos in Zaragoza, Aragón

Some of his work is even to be found in the Museum of Huesca, for example the portrait of Antonio Veyán y Monteagudo, and The Bulls of Bordeaux, a series of lithographs.  This is a journey that will give you an in-depth look at Goya’s oeuvre. And at the Aragón Tourist Office we also have some other options for you, such as the driving tour The Ebro River, Goya and the Memories of the Spanish Civil War Route. The Goya en Aragón Foundation has a tool called El viaje de Goya [Goya’s travels]. When you enter the part of the world you’re travelling from, it generates a list of all the stops you might like to make in Spain and in other countries to find out more about Goya’s work, including the distances between them in kilometres. 

Façade of the Museum of Huesca, Aragón

If you decide to stay in Aragón, do remember that as well as Goya there’s a lot more to enjoy: incredible natural spaces such as Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, castles, Mudejar style monasteries and churches, and excellent designation of origin wines, such as those from the Somontano area.

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