The Death Of Saint Joseph

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes

Spanish, 1746 - 1828

The Death of Saint Joseph, 1787

  • On View

Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 21 7/16 × 16 3/16 in. (54.5 × 41.1 cm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William L. Richards through the Viola E. Bray Charitable Trust, 1967.19

Religious subjects occupy a fairly large proportion of Goya’s work and they were as integral to his production as his many portraits and prints. They remain, however, the most overlooked and misunderstood aspect of his oeuvre.With this piece, Goya brought religious painting in Spain to a new level of intensity. The subject of this painting, Jesus at the deathbed of his father Joseph, is rarely shown in the history of art, but the death of a father in the presence of his wife and son is a tremendously affecting subject. Goya seems to have given great thought to the staging of this painting. During its production, he bought large swaths of cloth and draped them over things in his studio in order to explore the simple, heavy folds that give this image such sculptural force. He also drew inspiration from earlier Spanish painters, looking to El Greco for the lighting technique and to Murillo for the overall suave texture of the canvas.

Image Permissions