GOYA Y LUCIENTES, Francisco de
(b. 1746, Fuendetodos, d. 1828, Bordeaux)
St Gregoryc. 1797
Oil on canvas, 188 x 113 cm
Museo Romántico, Madrid
This belongs to a series of representations of the four Doctors of the Church, of which the St Augustine and St Ambrose are also extant. They are not documented but are reasonably assumed to have been painted after Goya's visit to Andalusia in 1796-97 both on stylistic grounds and because of their resemblance to Murillo's seated figures of St Isidore and St Leander in Seville Cathedral. In style and colour they also reflect Goya's earlier studies of Tiepolo.
Goya's St Gregory, seated on a platform like Murillo's saints, is a monumental figure in an undefined space, without decor or attributes other than the large book and papal tiara to identify him as the pope said to have left the greatest number of writings.