Thursday, March 1, 2012

Francisco de Goya

Fracisco de Goya was born on March 30, 1746, in Fuendetodos, Spain. After studying painting in Madrid and Rome, he worked for the King. During his lifetime Goya’s views of the world and general sentiments changed and were reflected in his art. After Napoleon’s invasion of Spain, he maintained his seat. He made a series of etchings, The Disasters of War, which recorded the invasion in detail. In his youth, Goya was very accepting of his life and enjoyed it. However, as h

e grew older, Goya began to severely criticize his life and he became disillusioned and embittered with society and mankind. The death of his wife Josefa in1812 and the Peninsula War from 1808-1814 led Goya to a darker world where he abhorred everything and everyone surrounding him.

During the Peninsula War, Goya made The Disasters of War, which were a variety of prints created between 1810-1820. These plates were a form of visual protest against the violence demonstrated in the war. The etching Here Neither illustrates the many massacres, violence, profanities, and crimes committed by both the French and Spanish armies during the Napoleonic occupation. The etching depicts how innocent civilians were brutally hung by the Frenchdue to the unjust war and occupation.

This etching of Saturn Devouring His Own Son (1821-23) was one of the most powerful images in The Disasters of War. The image served as an allegory of Spain destroying her own people in the Peninsula War instead of providing love and protection for them.

Goya questioned the excesses of his imagination in Capricho No. 43, a self-portrait. In the portrait his head lies against a solid base, which serves as a metaphor for order within the world, while he is in the middle of a nightmare. He entitled the portrait "The sleep of reason produces monsters,” and described it as a depiction of how “imagination abandoned by reason generates monstrosity; together they form the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels.” This clearly illustrates Goya’s descent into Romanticism from where art does not redeem the hardships of life but rather illustrate and portray them.

I specifically chose Francisco de Goya as my artist because I became entranced with his etchings and paintings from The Disasters of War. The pain and horror depicted in them really intrigued me. I love the darkness and revolutionary matters that overwhelm the disturbing images that he created. I also particularly liked his style of etchings on plates and the shadows presented in them which allow for a darker setting for his images.

Works Cited:

"Goya." Image One, Inc. Web. 01 Mar. 2012. .

Hughes, Robert. Goya. New York, Alfred A. Knopf: 2003. Print.

Hull, Anthony. Goya: Man Among Kings. London, Hamilton Press: 1987. Print.

"Trivium Art History." Francisco De Goya Y Lucientes. Web. 01 Mar. 2012. .

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