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Francisco de Goya (1746-1828)  Charles IV and his Family  Oil on canvas, 1800  110 1/8 x 132 1/4 inches (280 x 336 cm)  Museo del Prado, Madrid
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Title: Charles IV
Francisco de Goya (1746-1828)
Charles IV and his Family
Oil on canvas, 1800
110 1/8 x 132 1/4 inches (280 x 336 cm)
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Charles IV (November 11, 1748 - January 20, 1819) was King of Spain from December 14, 1788 until his abdication on March 19, 1808.
Charles was the second son of Charles III and his wife Maria Amalia of Saxony. He was born at Portici, while his father was king of the Two Sicilies. His elder brother Don Felipe was passed over for the two thrones as mentally retarded and epileptic.

Charles had inherited a great frame and immense physical strength from the Saxon line of his mother, granddaughter of August the Strong. When young he was fond of wrestling with the strongest countrymen he could find. He was considered by many to be intellectually sluggish and quite credulous.
Charles IV married his first cousin Maria Louisa, the daughter of Philip, Duke of Parma, in 1765. The couple had fourteen children, six of which survived into adulthood:
Charles Clement (Carlos Clemente) (September 19, 1771 - March 7, 1774)
Charlotte Joaquina (Carlota Joaquina) (April 25, 1775 - January 7, 1830), married the Prince John of Portugal, later King John VI
Maria Louisa (Maria Luisa) (September 11, 1777 - July 2, 1782)
Maria Amalia (January 9, 1779 - July 22, 1798)
Charles Dominic (Carlos Domingo) (March 5, 1780 - June 11, 1783)
Maria Louisa (Maria Luisa) (July 6, 1782 - March 13, 1824), married Louis, heir of Bourbon-Parma and became Queen consort of Etruria and Duchess of Lucca
Charles Francis (Carlos Francisco) (September 5, 1783 - November 11, 1784)
Philip Francis (Felipe Francisco) (September 5, 1783 - October 18, 1784)
Ferdinand (Fernando) (October 14, 1784 - September 29, 1833), succeeded his father as King of Spain
Charles (Carlos), Count of Molina (March 29, 1788 - March 10, 1855), later the first Carlist pretender
Maria Isabella (June 6, 1789 - September 13, 1848), married Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies
Maria Teresa (February 16, 1791 - November 2, 1794)
Felipe Maria (March 28, 1792 - March 1, 1794)
Francisco Antonio de Paula, Duke of Cadiz (March 10, 1794 - August 13, 1865)

Maria Luisa was widely considered a vicious and coarse woman who thoroughly dominated the king. During the lifetime of Charles III, she led her husband into court intrigues against the prime minister, the Count of Floridablanca.
In 1788, Charles III died and Charles IV succeeded to the throne. Even though he had a profound belief in the sanctity of his office and kept up the appearance of an absolute, powerful monarch, he never took more than a passive part in the direction of his own government, occupying himself with hunting. The affairs of government he left to his wife and his prime minister. In 1792, Maria Louis finally succeeded in ousting the Count of Floridablanca from office and had him replaced with Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, Count of Aranda, the chief of the Aragonese party. However, in the wake of the war against Republican France, the liberal-leaning Count of Aranda was replaced by Manuel de Godoy, a favourite of the Queen and allegedly her lover, who would henceforth enjoy the lasting favour of the King.
Godoy continued Aranda's policy of neutrality towards France but after Spain protested against the ution of the deposed king in 1793, France declared war on Spain and in 1795 forced Godoy to conclude an alliance and declared war on Great Britain.

In 1803, after smallpox had affected his daughter María Luísa, the king commissioned his doctor Francisco Javier de Balmis to bring the vaccine to the Spanish colonies on state expenses.

Spain remained an ally of France and supported the Continental Blockade until the the British naval victory at Trafalgar. However, After Napoleon's victory over Prussia in 1807, Godoy again steared Spain back onto the French side. This switching back and forth devalued Charles' position as a trustworthy ally while the return to the French alliance increased Godoy's unpopularity and strenghtened partido fernandista, the supporters of Crown Prince Ferdinand, who favored a close relationship with Great Britain.
When King Charles was told that his son Ferdinand was appealing to Napoleon against Godoy, he took the side of the minister. When the populace rose at Aranjuez in 1808 he abdicated on March 19, in favour of his son, to save the minister who had been taken prisoner. Ferdinand took the throne as Ferdinand VII, but was distrusted by Napoleon who had 100,000 soldiers in Spain by that time.

Charles IV found refuge in France, and became a prisoner of Napoleon: the latter, posing as arbiter, summoned both Charles IV and his son to Bayonne in April and coaxed Charles (who had a difficult time restraining himself from assaulting his son) to retract his earlier abdication and abdicate, on May 5, 1808, in favour of Napoleon.Charles was then interned in Talleyrand's castle in Valençay. He accepted a pension from the French Emperor and spent the rest of his life between his wife and Godoy, staying briefly in Compiègne and more durably in Marseille.

In 1812, he finally settled in Rome in the Palazzo Barberini., where he died on January 20, 1819.

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Francisco de Goya (1746-1828)  Nude Maja  Oil on canvas, c.1800  Museo del Prado, Madrid, SpainFrancisco de Goya (1746-1828)  Charles IV and his Family  Oil on canvas, 1800  110 1/8 x 132 1/4 inches (280 x 336 cm)  Museo del Prado, MadridFrancisco de Goya (1746-1828)  Señora Sabasa Garcia  Oil on canvas, c.1806-1811  National Gallery of Art, Washington
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