Why should you know the Black Painting, the darkest series in the history of painting by Francisco Goya

Why should you know the Black Painting, the darkest series in the history of painting by Francisco Goya


Photo: Art Ranked Discovery Engine

Francisco Goya, the most important Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, was dubbed by many as a great painter (the last “Old Master” – the title given to guild masters. painting from 13th to 18th centuries) and father of modern art. His dark and mysterious paintings reflect his way of thinking. The chaotic political period as well as the series of personal tragedies and illness shaped Goya’s thinking and marked the culmination of his illustrious artistic career.

So what makes Goya draw such creepy, gloomy images?

Are they the voice of a madman on the verge of insanity?

Or is it a mirror reflecting human nature, capturing the overwhelming horror and despair?

By exploring Goya’s evolution from an ambitious commercial painter of Spain’s royal family to a hermit who possesses bizarre works, typically a set of solemnly hung Black Painting In the house, you will get to know Goya’s painting and thinking about how human nature changed art.

Rags to Riches: From humble beginnings to royal painter

Raised in Fuentedos, a small village in rural Spain, Goya initially learned to draw by copying. Then the ambitious young artist came to Madrid with the desire to improve his skills. There, Francisco Bayeu, a royal painter, guided him and paved the way for Goya to join the Madrid Royal Family.


Self-portrait of Francisco Gayo. Photo: Museo del Prado.

At first, Goya drew pictures for decorative rugs to adorn the walls of the royal palaces. As a designer of tapestries, his works are inspired mainly by everyday life, alluding to his humble origins and his observant human eye. Goya’s early-stage works have been filled with street fairs, bar brawls, majos – working-class men next to the sexy majas of her. me, etc.

Since gaining the royal favor, Goya’s career and social status have increased dramatically. He was tasked with drawing portraits of princes, wealthy merchants, and the aristocracy. Some notable works include: ‘The Nude Maja’, ‘The Clothed Maja’ and ‘The Family Of Charles IV Of Spain’.


La vendimia’s work, (1786-87). Photo: Pinterest

In 1786, he was appointed Artist of the King, the most prestigious position for a Spanish artist. In this role, Goya is at the forefront of the chaotic political era that will leave an indelible mark on his work.

In 1792, at the peak of his career, Goya unfortunately contracted a mysterious illness, causing him to be permanently deaf. Confined in a grave of silence, Goya Assembly, extremely bitter and increasingly immersed in his own worries and fantasies. Many believe that Black Painting is the escape route to the pent-up disappointment of his deafness and a turning point in his thinking and artistic style.

More than personal misfortune, Goya’s change of view of the artistic and social world was influenced by the political upheaval of that time.

Early 19th century, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Spain. During the bloody period of Spanish history, Goya, who continued to serve as a royal painter for French colonialism, captured the horrors of war in his series ‘Disaster of War’ includes 82 prints made between 1810 and 1820 by Goya. These prints document the brutality and bloody violence of humanity in times of conflict. After witnessing human atrocities, Goya lost faith in humanity and moved further away from society.

In 1819, at the age of 73, Goya bought a farm on the outskirts of Madrid and has lived in seclusion ever since. The house is called “Quinta del Sordo”, “House of the Deaf”, named after the former owner of the deaf. It was on the walls of this house that Goya painted a series of 14 haunting works – Black Paintings.

Black Paintings: The narrative of a soul is hurt

It can be said that Black Paintings is the culmination of Goya’s career. Through images that are somewhat gruesome and melancholy, the artist expresses the fear that is approaching.

The nightmares or demonic characters that appear in Black Paintings, with their gaping mouths and gazes, are stark contrast to the brilliantly colored paintings of Goya’s earlier period, that some historians Art academics even question whether Goya is really the author of the series.

It can be said that compared to Black Paintings, his earlier works on terrorism and violence are somewhat blurred. Not only is Goya delving deeply into the human psychology in the series, but also because he has no intention of making those works public.

Goya freely explores and explores topics like sadness, sickness, and fear. This makes him the first modernist of his time. He did not give titles to his works, nor give any explanation for them.

After his death in 1828, the paintings were transferred to the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain. Even in the halls of Prado, Black Paintings made viewers fearless.

Here are 14 works in the Black Paintings collection of painter Francisco Goya:

Fate (Átropos / Las Parcas)


Photo: Wikipedia

Three mythical figures (the gods) hold a pair of scissors, a demon, and a mirror. The gods surround a fourth character, who is bound and represents the notion that humans cannot escape destiny.

Old men (Dos viejos / Un viejo y un fraile)


Photo: The Artist

Two elderly men dressed in papal uniforms stood in the dark. The devilish character, whispering into the ear of the second bearded man, who is on his cane. His demonic form may refer to Goya being deaf or insane.

Old men eating soup (Dos viejos comiendo sopa)


Photo: Let Me See You Writhe – WordPress.com

Because it is painted in dark colors like the works in the Black Paintings collection, although the theme of the work is not in the direction of violence, it still arouses feelings of suffering and despair. Appearing in the painting are two elderly characters, one grimaced, without teeth, sitting down to dine in a dark robe.

Fight with Cudgels (Duelo a garrotazos / La riña)


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Two men swinging sticks, fighting each other. They seem to fall into a quagmire while fighting.

Aquelarre / El Gran Cabrón


Photo: cult to our darkest past – blogger

Satan, with the head of a male goat, lingered in a crowd of horrified female ghosts. A young girl curled up in a corner, separated from the mass of trembling bodies. Renowned art historian Licht believes that this painting reflects Goya’s anxiety about human incompetence and self-doubt.

Men reading books (Hombres leyendo)


Photo: The Artist

Appearing in the picture is a group of men wrapped in darkness, gathered in a book. One of the men looked up with a desperate expression.

Judith and Holofernes (Judith y Holofernes)


Photo: museodelprado

The painting is a narration of the story from “The Book of Judith”. In the story, Judith saves her people by seducing and decapitating General Holofernes.

Pilgrimage to San Isidro (La romería de San Isidro)


Photo: Wikipedia

The painting depicts the pilgrimage of poor villagers together with nuns and men in conical hats. The pilgrims seem drunk or desperate, singing with distorted expressions. Goya explores the theme of pilgrimage to convey the popular superstitions and ignorance of a contemporary part.

The man who was ridiculed by two women (Mujeres riendo)


Photo: The Artist

Two women, probably prostitutes, mock a man sitting and masturbating. The picture is closely linked to another work in the Black Paintings series, ‘Men Reading Books’.

The heresy procession (Peregrinación a la fuente de San Isidro / Procesión del Santo Oficio)


Photo: Wikipedia

A procession consisting mainly of women wearing white scarf, circling the mountain road. The sky was brightly lit, and people were surrounded by brown, black, and gray colors.

Dog (Perro semihundido / El perro)


Photo: The Artist

A ferocious black dog poked its head out on a mound. The dog was lost in nothingness except for the obscure of the steep mounds. There are many interpretations of Goya’s intentions, one of which is, the work represents the trivial struggle of man against malicious forces; the dog continued to fight but the inclined rock was burying her in the sand

Saturn eats a son (Saturno devorando a un hijo)


Photo: The Artist

Inspired by Greek mythology, Saturn eats one of his children for fear of being usurped in the future. An ancient god with protruding eyes that ripped through the flesh of a bloody little body.

Sexy woman (La Leocadia)


Photo: Wikipedia

The painting depicts Leocadia Weiss, Goya’s maid and possibly his lover leaning against a fireplace or a grave. Dressed in black funeral clothes, she looked depressed, however, this work had a more peaceful color.

Great vision (Visión fantástica / Asmodea)


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Two characters, one covered in a red mantle, were suspended over a group of people and horses gathered underneath a large mountain. At the bottom of the frame, an armed soldier raises his gun at the main characters as they appear to be flying towards a fortress on top of a mountain. Goya’s versatility in applying various techniques on canvas is demonstrated in this piece.

Goya’s Black Paintings collection: Inspiration for future generations

Black Paintings are considered the foundation of the school of expression and surrealism, having a great influence on major artists such as Picasso, Manet and other great masters during the 20th century.

Today, although we are still exposed to works of bloody, grief and grief, most of them are severely censored. Goya, on the other hand, does not hesitate to document human grief and sadness in the painting.

Deeply scarred by time and by individuals, the Black Painting faithfully reflects Francisco Goya’s view of human nature. It is very inspiring to see the transformation of a painter from an artist seeking to satisfy clients to an artist who is not obligated, completely free in artistic creation, who uses art as a purest form of self-expression.

His writings and their naked depictions of human nature are still new to this day.

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