Sketch for The Death of Saint Joseph (c.1787) by Francisco Goya

Sketch for The Death of Saint Joseph - Francisco Goya - c.1787

Artwork Information

TitleSketch for The Death of Saint Joseph
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Dimensions54.9 x 46.4 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationFlint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI, US

About Sketch for The Death of Saint Joseph

The artwork titled “Sketch for The Death of Saint Joseph” is a creation by Francisco Goya, dating from around 1787. This oil on canvas piece is affiliated with the Romanticism art movement, reflecting the emotional intensity characteristic of the period. The painting depicts a religious scene and measures 54.9 x 46.4 cm. It is housed in the collection of the Flint Institute of Arts, located in Flint, Michigan, United States.

The artwork portrays a deeply emotive religious event, the death of Saint Joseph. In the composition, the figure of Saint Joseph is reclined and appears to be on his deathbed. His head is raised slightly, supported by a figure who is likely to be Jesus Christ, denoted by the compassionate and sorrowful expression. Beside them, a female figure, possibly the Virgin Mary, is shown with a gesture indicative of distress or supplication. Above, a group of cherubs or angels hovers, seemingly awaiting to escort Saint Joseph’s soul to the heavens.

The palette of the painting consists of soft, ethereal tones that aid in creating an atmosphere filled with spiritual solemnity. The play of light and shadow enhances the dramatic effect, directing the viewer’s attention to the central figures and setting an otherworldly ambiance that aligns with Romanticist tendencies to emphasize emotion and sublime themes. Goya’s skillful use of light imbues the scene with a palpable tenderness and serenity, further contributing to the narrative of peaceful transcendence. The brushwork, while detailed in areas, also allows for a sense of immediacy, as if the viewer catches a glimpse of this sacred moment in its unfolding.

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