Earlier, I wrote about my 4th and 5th favorite artists. Today, I want to give credit to my 6th and 7th favorite artists.

As I’ve said before, I love to steal. But I’ll always give credit. My favorite artist series gives credit to which piece of my art technique I stole.

Luis Ricardo Falero

The 1800s seemed like such a long time ago. But was it?

You look at some of the artists from back then and they look like they could have contributed to modern fantasy RPGs.

Falero is one of the best examples. You see how much he influenced modern fantasy fans.

Luis Ricardo Falero Witches Sabbath
Luis Ricardo Falero’s Witches Sabbath (1880)

Like the above Witches Sabbath from 1880. If he painted that in the early 1980s and approached Gary Gygax, there’s no way Gygax wouldn’t have put that in one of his Dungeons and Dragons books.

Yet, this was the 1800s.

It’s so weird to me how much modern fantasy came from a century before. It’s weird because I grew up with Dungeons and Dragons. First the Basic and Expert sets. Then the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons books (v1).

Same with the movies. I’m a sucker for 1980s fantasy movies, including the real low budget ones like Deathstalker and that one with David Carradine (from Kung Fu). Especially Ladyhawke, Legend, and Dragonslayer. In fact, I just saw Dragonslayer again only a few months back.

Falero more than likely influenced the folks who influenced the creators of modern fantasy. Or his peers.

But if it’s his peers, I’ll take Falero over any of them.

Quick background on Falero – he was a Spanish mythological/fantasy painter (1851-1896) with a love for astronomy. He painted most of his artwork with oils but he did paint some watercolor as well.

I don’t have too much other information on him but I can tell you that some of his paintings occasionally do go up for auction. I signed up from one auction house and I’ll try to track down some of the other auction houses that they go up for sale. I’d love to own one of his pieces.

Luis Ricardo Falero - Moon Nymph
Luis Ricardo Falero – Moon Nymph (1883)

This piece is especially intoxicating. Falero definitely had a good taste for models.

I probably got my taste for black astronomical backgrounds from Falero. Although when you have a ton of influences, it’s hard to tell who you got what from. You do get a lot of subconscious influences from things you’re exposed to.

Francisco Goya

I first saw Goya in Saturn Devouring His Son. I won’t post that painting here as it’s graphically violent. It scared the you know what out of me when I was a kid and I was afraid to look at Goya for years.

Decades later, I find myself as a tourist in El Prado. As you probably already know, Goya is pretty much the main painter there. He also lived long enough to see a lot of his artwork end up there.

Francisco Goya was a Spanish Romantic painter. Unfortunately, the 20th century warped the definition of romantic. We only think about romantic love nowadays and most folks have no idea whatsoever that Romanticism was an art movement (including music and literature of course).

But rather than give you a detailed background on Goya, I’m going to tell you a story. Yes, everything here is indeed true. This is a story about Flamenco guitars, mistresses, and the Spanish Inquisition and I’ll manage to tie all three of them together.


It’s pretty sad that most Westerners know nothing about Western civilization. Schools nowadays are so much more into indoctrination than actually teaching kids anything useful.

Culture is everything. Well, not quite everything. You gotta know some math and science and other shit.

But as an artist, when people talk about culture, I’m happy.

So, let me tell you a personal story and a dangerous historical story and I’m going to combine the two where we meet.

First, the mistress and the danger

Back in the old days, artists often relied on patrons. Goya had several. One of whom doubled as a close personal friend of his – Manual Godoy, who later became Secretary of State, then the Prime Minister of the Spanish Empire.

Funny background – Godoy was a regular guy. But he was a damn good guitarist, fighter, and bullshitter. Those abilities got him far in life, and he eventually impressed the Royal Family. They liked him so much that he eventually rose to Secretary of State.

But, he had a problem. He was madly in love with Pepita Tudó. Which was fine, but for political reasons, he had to marry another woman.

He ended up having Pepita as his mistress and the affair lasted until his wife died, whereupon he married Pepita.

So decades before he finally married Pepita, he hired his dear friend, Francisco Goya (who I argue is Spain’s greatest ever artist) to paint Pepita nude.

The public saw the clothed version of that painting. The Spanish Inquisition however also came across the nude version of the painting and threw a fit.

La Maja Desnuda by Francisco Goya (1797-1800, now in Museo del Prado in Madrid)

Both Goya and Godoy were called before the Spanish Inquisition for some explaining to do. This could have been the end of Goya’s career.

Luckily, Goya was super smart. He pointed out the painting’s similarities to other works of art by other artists that weren’t so controversial. And he made the Spanish Inquisition look like a bunch of philistines.

To save face, the Spanish Inquisition called it off. Thankfully, that painting remains to this day and is now side by side with its sister painting in El Prado in Madrid. So yes, I’ve seen them both in real life. Pictures don’t do them justice. At all. You need to see them in real life.


After visiting El Prado in 2015, my wife and I went to the Gothic District in Barcelona. We saw a Flamenco group perform. 8 musicians. 3 dancers. A performance I’ll vividly remember until the day I die.

I stumbled across a luthier in the Gothic District in Barcelona and just happened to have a lot of money on me at the time. I got lucky. He had a bunch of violins, some cellos, and two Flamenco guitars in stock. I walked away with a Flamenco guitar and brought it back to the States.

Opium Tales flamenco guitar Pepita
Pepita – my Spanish guitar

What did I name her? Pepita. Of course.

The story didn’t end there

You probably already know the story of Goya. If not, here’s the summary. Goya went on to be the greatest artist of his day and lived so long that he got to see a lot of his paintings make it into the Prado. Imagine that!

As for Godoy and Pepita, happily ever after?

Not quite.

Pepita was more his fuck buddy. Yes, he was in love with her in the beginning.

But, he really fell in love with Queen Maria Luisa, the Queen of Spain, the wife of Charles IV, and the granddaughter of Louis XV. You may know Louis XV as the father of Louis XVI, the King who got his head chopped off along with his wife Marie Antoinette.

Godoy and the Queen had a secret affair. Godoy died almost two decades before Pepita did and before she died, she painfully told a reporter that the Queen was the only woman he truly loved.

Categories: Artists


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