St. Bernardino of Siena preaching to Alfonso V of Aragon (1782 – 1783) by Francisco Goya

St. Bernardino of Siena preaching to Alfonso V of Aragon - Francisco Goya - 1782 - 1783

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Artwork Information

TitleSt. Bernardino of Siena preaching to Alfonso V of Aragon
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Date1782 - 1783
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationBasilica of San Francisco el Grande, Madrid, Spain

About St. Bernardino of Siena preaching to Alfonso V of Aragon

The artwork “St. Bernardino of Siena preaching to Alfonso V of Aragon” is a notable exemplar of Romanticism, created by the esteemed artist Francisco Goya between 1782 and 1783. This genre painting can be found adorning the walls of the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande in Madrid, Spain. As a piece from the Romantic period, it likely embodies the movement’s characteristic emphasis on emotion and individualism rather than the classical emphasis on restraint and order.

The artwork captures a moment of religious fervor, portraying St. Bernardino of Siena as he delivers a sermon to King Alfonso V of Aragon and his assembled court. The cleric stands centrally in the composition, gesticulating with one arm outstretched, while his other hand grasps a crucifix. The intensity of his expression and the radiance around his head suggest his divine inspiration.

Around him, the audience reacts with varied expressions and postures that suggest engagement, contemplation, and admiration. Prominent among them is Alfonso V, whose presence is signaled by his regal attire and the focused attention he pays to St. Bernardino. The richly dressed nobles and attentive commoners alike are rendered with Goya’s meticulous attention to detail and dynamic use of light, which imbues the scene with a sense of drama and immediacy typical of Romantic art.

The painting’s arched top and the illusion of an open sky contribute to a sense of openness and grandeur, beckoning the viewer to consider the scene’s spiritual significance. The natural backdrop, including the lush trees set against a clear sky, serves to further ennoble the depicted event. Goya’s skillful composition and his effective portrayal of emotional intensity within this historical narrative reflect his mastery and contribute to the work’s powerful impact.

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