Detail, 1774
Zaragoza, Charterhouse of Aula Dei, Spain

Image One, Inc.

Goya's early biographers add all kinds of adventures to these and following years. He is said to have fled from Zaragoza to Madrid and to have gone as a toreador to Italy. Soon a legend grew up around the artist; he was regarded as a striking personality, independent and free from prejudice, and sometimes a fearless adventurer and amateur toreador. It could be that at one time, he really did stand in the arena, and that he was involved in several adventures as well as duels and most probably countless love affairs.

He also knew how to do fresco painting and on his return from Italy at the end of 1771 he was given the task of preparing several sketches for a mural in the choir vault of the Templo de la Virgin del Pilar (Church of the Holy Virgin of the Pilar) in Zaragoza. In July 1772, he was also asked to produce a picture based upon the theme "The Veneration of God." Other works of his are found in the Palace of Sobradiel in Zaragoza and the Carthusian Monastery Aula Dei which contains other large paintings. Magnificently thought up and constructed, we encounter new characteristics which point in the direction in which he was gradually developing. These were dated from 1773-1774 and probably were the last he did while he was in Zaragoza.