Francisco Goya, Saturn Devouring his Son, 1819-1823
Goya did his haunting series of “Black Paintings” on the walls of his home, after he was partially deaf and after the Napoleonic wars had imbibed in Goya a bleak outlook on humanity. They reflect his fear of insanity and the terror, fear and hysteria that became evident in his twisted paintings. They are painted on black backgrounds, with scary motifs and a lot of mythological references. He was in his seventies when he painted them, having already achieved recognition for his art.
5:31 pm • 3 December 2011 • 163 notes
Francisco Goya, The Third of May 1808, 1814
This dramatic and well known painting documenting the horrors of war and violence is really an affecting composition. Goya sought to commemorate the Spanish resistance to Napoleon’s armies during the occupation of 1808. It was commissioned by the provisional government of Spain, at Goya’s request.
The dramatic lighting, the the emotional content and the presentation of the two sides really have cemented this image as an archetypal painting of the horrors of war. The firing squad faces the victims, a regulated mass full of straight lines against a crumbling, desperate irregularity. The victims are full of emotion, while we cannot see the shooter’s faces.
Kenneth Clark spoke on the painting’s departure from traditional history painting, and the intensity of the work.
With Goya we do not think of the studio or even of the artist at work. We think only of the event. Does this imply that The Third of May is a kind of superior journalism, the record of an incident in which depth of focus is sacrificed to an immediate effect? I am ashamed to say that I once thought so; but the longer I look at this extraordinary picture and at Goya’s other works, the more clearly I recognise that I was mistaken.
5:12 pm • 3 December 2011 • 26 notes
Francisco Goya, La Maja Vestida, 1800
This is the clothed version of La Maja Desnuda, and was exhibited next to it in the same room. It was first owned by Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy, who had it rigged to hang in from of the naked version, such that with the help of a pulley system, could be moved aside to reveal the more voluptuous, tantalizing version beneath.
4:57 pm • 3 December 2011 • 19 notes
Francisco Goya, La Maja Desnuda, 1797
This depiction of a naked woman reclining, thought sometimes to be the first clear image of female pubic hair in a large Western painting, was the subject of a lot of controversy. Part of a series of two paintings, featuring the same woman, with the second painting a clothed image. In 1815, the Spanish Inquisition summoned Goya to reveal the patron, but if Goya ever revealed who it was, the account has never been published.
4:51 pm • 3 December 2011 • 13 notes
Francisco Goya, Charles IV of Spain and His Family, 1800
Done after Goya became the court painter for Charles IV, this ostentatious painting is partially based off of Velazquez’s Las Meninas. As in that composition, it depicts the royal family in a naturalistic and plausible setting, and the painter, Goya, can be seen to the left, looking at the viewer while working on a canvas. This painting however, lacks the warmth of Velazquez’s, and instead projects a more uncomfortable atmosphere. Goya seems to be inviting judgement unto the family with his grim smile.
4:37 pm • 3 December 2011 • 58 notes
Francisco Goya, Adoration of the Name of God, 1772
This church ceiling fresco, painted in the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Zaragoza, was one of the earliest large scale compositions done by Goya. He received the commission after his trip to Italy to pick up the techniques of fresco painting, and he utilized all of his new skills in this stunning mural. A lot of the hallmarks of the Late Baroque Catholic painting style are evident as well, such as the high contrast between light and dark.
The symbol of God the Father, a triangle inscribed with the divine name, dominates the scene. To either side are groups of arranged angels, whose eyes are on the central scene. The scene is so carefully arranged, with various groups spread out over different levels, that the final impression of the scene is rather static, unmoving. This is contrasting to his later, more fluid work.
I have always thought this painting was vaguely dystopian, with the dark color scheme, the emotions and the freaky symbol in the barren, dreamy, landscape.
4:26 pm • 3 December 2011 • 18 notes
Francisco Goya, El Baile de San Antonio de la Florida, 1777
Goya made a series of 63 large tapestry “cartoons” painted for Charles III of Spain and then, after his death, Charles IV. These were made in canvas and then woven into a wool tapestry. Mostly done in a Rococo style and commissioned before Goya was famous, or even known for that matter, they gained popularity due to their prominent placement in the El Pardo palace.
This particular tapestry is very light and happy, of a cute little country scene, a dance. It is very cool to see paintings like this, done very early in Goya’s career, and trace his shift into darker material.
3:32 pm • 3 December 2011 • 14 notes