In thinly fictionized form this is a segment of the biography of Goya, court painter to Spain of the troubled Napoleonic era --a superb piece of historical recreation rather than a definitive life of Goya. Already accepted as Spain's leading portrait painter, successor to the mantle of Velasquez, Goya, at the time of the story's opening, is at a turning point in his career. He is about to meet the dominant woman in his life, (a life checkered with amorous adventure), the beautiful and wicked Duchess of Alba. He is under consideration as official Court Painter, and a moot question for pressure politics in a sordid double-deal involving controversial figures of church and state. The story of a romance that was shattering in its implications- the story of an art that grew from portrait painting to interpretative realism, dangerous to the artist, and to savage satire that almost cost his life (and-outside the bounds of this novel, ended in exile) is understandingly traced by his biographer. And the turbulent period in Spain's history, the social, political, international ramifications, in which Goya was a controversial factor, comes alive. The market will be that of the student of the arts and history rather than the average reader of historical fiction, for Feuchtwanger has not overdramatized material for the sake of story. As in he has catered to a serious rather than a popular market....There has been relatively small use made of Goya's story since the publication in 1938 of two fictional biographies, Charles G. Poore's (Scribner) and Marion Chapman's (Egmont Press). A book for the long haul.