|Best-known graphic work of Spanish artist Francisco Goya at Malmo Konsthall|
Francisco Goya, Unhappy mother!, From The Disasters of War, 1810-1820. Courtesy Norrköpings Konstmuseum. Photo: Helene Toresdotter.
MALMO.- The best-known graphic work of Spanish artist Francisco Goya (17461828) is Los Desastres de la Guerra, known in English as The Disasters of War. Its message remains just as relevant today. Goyas etchings depict for the first time war from the viewpoint of the civilian populations suffering, without any attempt to soften the impact. We are ruthlessly presented with the brutality of war and the inhumanity of mankind. The etchings are an intense visual report of a barbaric behaviour that has since been repeated and is still continuing around the world today.
Goya began working for the Spanish royal court painting cartoons* for tapestries, before gradually becoming the official court painter. Concurrently with his career as a portrait painter, he did a number of commissions for the Catholic Church in Spain. After suffering a severe illness that confined him to his bed and left him deaf, Goya changed his work method in about 1793. He continued to do commissions but also began working on his own choice of subject matter. In these latter works he expressed his own thoughts and ideas, and his style became freer and more expressive. In 1824 he moved to France for political reasons and died four years later at the age of 82.
These more personal works by Goya include the graphic series The Disasters of War, which consists of 80  etchings. Produced between 1810 and 1820, the series contains gruesome illustrations of the Spanish struggle for independence. The French army had invaded Spain in 1808 and Napoleon had placed his brother on the Spanish throne. This led to an uprising in Madrid and sparked off Spains war of liberation (part of the Peninsular War), during which guerrilla-like methods were used up until 1814.
The Disasters of War was first published in 1863, 35 years after Goyas death. This delay was probably because Goya himself did not dare to publish such images which would have been political dynamite at that time for fear of the consequences. The pictures can be divided into three main topics: events from the war (nos. 147), the famine in Madrid during Napoleons siege of the city (nos. 4864), and critical comments on the political situation in Spain (nos. 6580).
The wartime events are depicted with a powerful realism and a mercilessness that are hard to protect oneself against. The impact is reinforced by the short comments engraved beside the pictures, such as Its impossible to look at this or This is too much! It is thought that these comments are based directly on Goyas own notes. He presumably witnessed many of the horrendous scenes that he depicts or heard about them from friends and acquaintances.
The famine in Madrid from 1811 to 1812, which in Spanish is usually called Año del Hambre, the year of hunger, took more than 20,000 human lives. Madrids civilian population suffered terribly during Napoleons long siege of the city. Goyas strongly drawn moments in time give hunger a face. Their focal point is always on the individual rather than on the historical course of events. We encounter emaciated people, both alive and dead.
The last etchings in the series focus on the situation in Spain immediately after the war, and are a devastating criticism of the subsequent power struggle between the countrys new rulers and the Church. In his satire, Goya uses various allegorical scenes and addresses topics such as the Inquisition and the use of torture.
The black-and-white graphic style suited Goya and he was a master at building up an image by using sharp contour lines combined with the chiaroscuro technique used in painting. He is said to have stated: in art no colour is needed, I just see light and shadow. Goya always based his copper plates on drawings, and a number of the original drawings for The Disasters of War are extant. Often, as in The Disasters of War, he combined various graphic techniques such as line etching, aquatint and engraving.
Over the years many artists have been influenced and inspired by The Disasters of War. One of them is Gerhard Nordström, whose works can be experienced at the same time at Malmö Konsthall in a major retrospective.
December 18, 2011
"The Persistence of Geometry" works from la Caixa Foundation and MACBA collection
LACMA presents collection by designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte inspired by Florentine art
Current museum curator John Peter Nilsson appointed Director of Moderna Museet Malmö
Best-known graphic work of Spanish artist Francisco Goya at Malmo Konsthall
Miami Art Museum to present leading artist Dana Schutz' "If the Face Had Wheels"
Photos of conflicts and disasters by Stanley Greene in "Black Passport" at Foam
Socrates Sculpture Park appoints New Museum's John Hatfield as new Director
National Postal Museum opens "Systems at Work", exhibit recreates path of mail
Long-lost Victorian painting by William Powell Frith nets $782,680 at Christie's auction
Activist Collectors share their Contemporary Coast Salish Collection at the AGGV
David Hartt's latest work, Stray Light, inaugurates Museum of Contemporary Art's Screen
South Africa gallows at Pretoria Central Prison site becomes museum, memorial for executed
Hirshhorn's Black Box features the first U.S. exhibition of the work of Ali Kazma
Crocker Art Museum to celebrate 50th anniversary of Studio Glass Movement with new exhibition
PowerHouse Books announces Here We Are by Panos Kokkinias
Ennead Architects to design Penn State's Veterans Plaza
In Cuba property thaw, new hope for a decayed icon
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Neanderthals and humans were both living in Europe for between 2,600 and 5,400 years
2.- First major exhibition to explore the historical legacy of African cultural astronomy opens at LACMA
3.- Carlo Mollino's idealized vision of the female form in new book published by Damiani/Crump
4.- Tate Britain displays works by Frank Auerbach from the collection of Lucian Freud
5.- In grave robber territory, locals abuzz over Alexander-era tomb; Largest of its kind ever discovered in Greece
6.- Lambert Collection opens an ambitious project housed at the Sainte-Anne Prison
7.- Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore announces the first 18 artists in the CCA Residencies progamme
8.- Historic Kings Theatre is transformed into major New York Performing Arts venue
9.- Thirteen's American Masters Series co-produces new documentary about photographer Dorothea Lange
10.- Sotheby's New York to offer 548 Edward Weston photographs as a single lot this September
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|