Masters of Art: Goya

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9780810909922: Masters of Art: Goya

The plates are accompanied by a scholarly commentary on Goya's development as man and artist

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Review:

This paperback edition of the award-winning study of the life and work of Goya is filled with the same fine reproductions as the original 1994 hardcover. Goya was one of Spain's greatest and most controversial painters, famous for incisive portraits and the "black" paintings of his later years. Scholars have often attributed Goya's progression from producing light-hearted court paintings to creating somber images of the Napoleonic wars to the artist's serious illness of 1792, which left him deaf. Writer Janis Tomlinson's aim here is to show a continuity in his work before and after the illness. She sees in Goya's vast output--at least 1,800 works--a vital drive to explore and exploit his personal creativity, which was strengthened by the deafness that cut him off from all but visual communication with the world. With detail supported by formidable research, Tomlinson presents Goya's life chronologically, analyzing his work from icons like the Naked Maya to his Los Caprichos series of etchings with their biting social satire and supernatural imaginings of a world turned upside down. The demonic intensity of Saturn Devouring His Son and Witches Sabbath, painted on the walls of his "Country House of a Deaf Man" at the end of his life, suggest to some the work of an embittered madman. Rather, these disturbing paintings reflect Goya's profound empathy for the victims of a predatory and unjust society--empathy that a modern audience readily shares. --John Stevenson

From the Publisher:

Goya is sometimes called the last of the Old Masters and the first of the Moderns, and his work has left a lasting impression on avant garde artists from Manet to Picasso. This paperback volume offers an introduction to Goya and covers all aspects of his work: oil, fresco, etching, lithography, chalk and pen. In his lifetime, Goya worked for some of the most prestigious Spanish patrons. For most of his career he was court painter, and yet he also produced some of the most compelling images of social unrest of the last century. The book opens with an introduction to the artistic milieu in Saragossa, where Goya received his earliest training. It moves on to explain the growth of his career in Madrid where he eventually became the most prominent painter at court before and after the French occupation of his country. Throughout the text, Goya's work is set in its political and social context. The work ends with a discussion of his influence on such artists as Manet, Ensor and Picasso.

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