Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Let's Yak About Art-- Goya continued

Goya's work has always captivated to me. How could this guy paint such light, delicate works like Don Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zunica, and have something as horrific as Saturn Devouring One of His Children flow from the same brain and hand?

Despite the risk, he called his contemporary society to task, lifting the Spanish rock to reveal the squirming slugs and larva underneath it. He produced Los Caprichos and Disasters of War to reveal the weirdness and cruelity of the time period. He tried to publish Los Caprichos, even though he almost was summoned by the Spanish Inquisition. Later, he went ahead and produced Disasters of War, even after the canning of Los Caprichos before it's publishing debut. He wasn't afraid to use his craft to stimulate outrage at the social and political climate of his time. Look at Charity from Disasters of War. That couldn't have been easy to create and make public.

Another point from Goya's history is the quandary of the Black Paintings. Goya painted this 14 work series in his private residence, when he was elderly. He worked directly on the wall, and each work was for his own reasons, rather than commissioned. The theme of each work is dark, often violent. Obviously, he was grappling with some personal demons, whether they sprouted from his revulsion of the current climate within Spain, as art historians speculate, or if they came from deep within.

I firmly believe Goya didn't intend for these paintings to be made public. These were strictly for him. Was it right for the Black Paintings to be transferred to canvas, to preserve them, and be donated to the Spanish state by their owner (this was decades after Goya's death)? How much should be done to preserve art for arts' sake, even if it might go against the deceased artist's wishes? Since the works were left to someone after Goya's death, and that person chose to donate the paintings to the Spanish state, the recipient of Goya's major love, hate attention, does that ownership supersede what Goya may have intended? It seems to me that the donation of the Black Paintings to Spain's government is kind of a kick in the teeth to Goya and his life.


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