The Miracle of St Anthony

Francisco Goya
Keywords: MiracleAnthony

Work Overview

The Miracle of St. Anthony
Francisco Goya
Original Title: El milagro de San Antonio
Date: 1798
Style: Romanticism
Genre: quadratura
Media: fresco
diameter c. 550 cm
Location: Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida, Madrid, Spain

The Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida (Spanish: Real Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida) is a Neoclassical chapel in central Madrid. The chapel is best known for its ceiling and dome frescoes by Goya. It is also his burial place.

The chapel was built in the general location of two prior chapels built in the 1730s, which were on the land of a farm called La Florida. The present structure was built by Felipe Fontana from 1792 to 1798 on the orders of King Carlos IV, who also commissioned the frescoes by Goya and his assistant Asensio Juliá.[1]

The structure was declared a national monument in 1905.[1] In 1919 Goya's remains were transferred here from Bordeaux, where he had died in 1828.[1] In 1928 an identical chapel was built alongside the original, in order to allow the original to be converted into a museum.[1][2]

On every June 13, the chapel becomes the site of a lively pilgrimage in which young unwed women come to pray to Saint Anthony and to ask for a partner.

The frescoes by Goya were completed over a six-month period in 1798. The frescoes portray miracles by Saint Anthony of Padua. On the main cupola of the chapel Goya depicted Saint Anthony raising a dead man; instead of portraying the scene as occurring in thirteenth-century Lisbon, Goya relocated the miracle to contemporary Madrid.

The picture shows the view of the whole cupola with Goya's fresco.

Charles IV and Maria Luisa granted Goya a free hand in designing and executing the decorative scheme for the chapel of St Anthony. The artist gave the cupola a heaven entirely devoid of celestial beings. The figures we see instead are pious, happy and boisterous human beings. Not all of them are watching the miracle being performed by St Anthony, who is bringing a dead man back to life so that the latter can reveal who murdered him.