Sunday, October 25, 2015


"Whatever its sources, Goya's stocky little martyr-of-the-people* is one of the most vivid human "presences" in all art. In an age of unremitting war and cruelty, when the value of human life seems to be at the deepest discount in human history, when our culture is saturated with endless images of torment, brutality, and death, he continues to haunt us."

—page 314, Goya by Robert Hughes


"[W]ith this painting, the modern image of war as anonymous killing is born, and a long tradition of killing as ennobled spectacle comes to its overdue end."

—page 317, Goya by Robert Hughes


*referring to the central figure in Goya's 1814 oil painting, **El Tres de Mayo de 1808 en Madrid o Los fusilamentos en la montaña del Príncipe Pío (The Third of May, 1808, or The Executions on Príncipe Pío Hill). [detail above]


"The landscape of the Desastres* is perhaps the first realization, in graphic art, of the landscapes that would become so ominously familiar to Europeans a century later: the almost featureless deserts of mud, shell holes, and blasted trees into which trench warfare had turned the once bountiful fields of Flanders and the Somme Valley. This is no accident, since Goya's landscape is also the first representation in art of Mother Nature plowed up and dismembered by the fury of artillery bombardment against fixed positions."

—page 295, Goya by Robert Hughes


* Desastres de la guerra (The Disasters of War) is a series of etchings and aquatint prints that Goya made between 1810 and 1820.


"How much of the fighting Goya watched isn't known. He did see what was left behind: stripped torsos and bloody human limbs stuck on tree branches like fragments of marble sculpture, this and more, enough for his purpose. He kept no journal of his thoughts but he registered a prodigious flowering of rage, not hastily in a sketchbook; later, after he had time to absorb the meaning, hunched over copper plates."

—page 175, Francisco Goya: A Life by Evan S. Connell

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