Quinta del Sordo  

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In 1819 Goya purchased a house on the banks of Manzanares near Madrid called Quinta del sordo (Villa of the deaf man). It was a small two-story house which was named after a previous occupant who had been deaf, although the name was fitting for Goya too, who had been left deaf after contracting a fever in 1792. Between 1819 and 1823, when he left the house to move to Bordeaux, Goya produced a series of 14 works, which he painted with oils directly onto the walls of the house. At the age of 73, and having survived two life-threatening illnesses, Goya was likely to have been concerned with his own mortality, and was increasingly embittered by the civil strife occurring in Spain. Although he initially decorated the rooms of the house with more inspiring images, in time he overpainted them all with the intense haunting pictures known today as the Black Paintings. Uncommissioned and never meant for public display, these pictures reflect his darkening mood with some intense scenes of malevolence and conflict.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Quinta del Sordo ("Deaf Man's Villa"), or Quinta de Goya, was the name of an extensive estate and country house situated on a hill in the old municipality of Carabanchel on the outskirts of Madrid. The house is best known as the home where Francisco de Goya lived in the years leading up to his exile and where he painted the Black Paintings. Contrary to popular belief, the estate was give its name due to the deafness of a prior owner, having nothing to do with Goya himself. In 1819, at the age of 72, Goya moved into the two-story house. Although the house had been named after the previous owner, who was deaf, Goya was himself nearly totally deaf at the time as a result of an illness he suffered when 46.

The Black Paintings were painted on the walls of the Quinta.

The house was demolished in 1909.

Goya's ownership

Goya purchased the home on February 27, 1819 from a prior owner who was deaf. Goya lived in the home until his exile to Bordeaux in 1824, whereupon he left his grandson Mariano in charge of the estate . During the brief periods when he would return to Madrid, Goya would stay at the home. Several reasons have been suggested as reasons for Goya's purchase of the estate. Given Goya's liberal ideology, it would have been somewhat important for him to distance himself from the totalitarian court of Fernando VII. After the fall of Rafael del Riego in 1823, Goya felt it necessary to leave the country and moved to Bordeaux.

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