Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar

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In 1772, Goya was entrusted with painting the dome of the dome over the small choir of the Basílica del Pilar opposite the Santa Capilla de la Virgen. The theme chosen was the Adoración del Nombre de Dios (Adoration of the Name of God).

In 1780, he was chosen to be a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. When he returned to Zaragoza, his grand mural work in Aragon was awaiting him. This was the Regina Martyrum (Queen of Martyrs), the decoration of a dome of the north nave of the Basílica del Pilar. It as the first time that Goya addressed a semi-spherical surface and, again his solution was masterly.

It is also possible to see the sketches Goya made for the dome, Regina Martyrum (sketch of the main half) and Regina Martyrum (sketch of the secondary half).


This is a fresco panting by Francisco de Goya which decorates the dome of the Coreto de la Virgen, in the Basílica del Pilar de Zaragoza. This fresco painting would be the first important work which Goya would carry out in Zaragoza shortly after returning from Italy. With this, the painter from Aragon showed that he knew and dominated the fresco painting technique although his fees were less than those of other artists who were adjudicated artistic decoration work with fresco paintings on the domes of the Basílica del Pilar. Thus, Goya received 15,000 as compared with the 25,000 charged by Antonio González Velázquez.

Several preparatory sketches and drawings of the work have been conserved and these are more daring than the painting of the dome as it can be seen at the present time. However, it is necessary to take into account that the painting underwent four restorations in 1887, 1947, 1967 and 1991. In these paintings, Goya intended a composition with grand contrasts in the colouring and light, together with strong dynamism, which in principle were greater than what can be seen in the definitive result.

In this painting he fused late Roman Baroque scenography with rococo. He placed angel musicians and singers on masses of clouds, praising the Glory of God. The magnificent sensation of spatial depth can be appreciated and this was achieved by Goya through contrasting light and subtle chiaroscuro effects. The youthful angels at the outer parts of the composition attract the attention of the spectator and lead him to the luminous triangle in the background which represents God in the three persons of the Trinity.


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