Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Francisco Goya: an artist for the 21st Century

Living from 1746 until 1828, Goya had one foot in the 18th century, one foot in the 19th century, and one foot in the 21st century.  

The etching and aquatint above is called Bury Them and Keep Quiet.  By this time he wasn't giving any indication which side the bodies belonged to.  It didn't matter.  It was wonderful to see Witness: Reality and Imagination in the Prints of Francisco Goya at the Philadelphia Museum of Art today, as part of the group organized by Bill Brookover of Fleisher Art Memorial.  Bill is a printmaker and photographer, who teaches printmaking at Fleisher.  The curator of prints spoke to us, along with Bill's invaluable input.  

It was very special for me to see the actual prints from Goya's The Disasters of War series. I have had a small paperback book of the series, with good plates, since I was in high school. 

This one is called They've Already Got a Seat, (1797-98).  (Ya tienen asiento).  The label says "In the title, the word asiento can be translated as both seat and judgment, suggesting that the women are thinking with their bottoms."  I just like the surrealism of the upside down chairs.  (Sorry, I couldn't avoid my shadow on the glass.)

Ravages of War (Estragos de la Guerra, 1810-14), captures the precise moment of an explosion within a building.  It's amazing how something so horrible is portrayed with such beautiful composition - a cruciform shape. 

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (El sueno de la razon produce monstruos 1797-98) is one of Goya's most iconic etching and aquatints.  The label tells us that "His contemporaries would have recognized the watchful lynx and ominous bats and owls that swarm around the sleeping artist as symbols of ignorance and evil."  ..."this print epitomizes the prevailing message of the series, a warning of what happens in the world when reason is absent."  Surely a message for our time.

This photo was taken by Linda Dubin Garfield: Bill Brookover, me, Sandi Lovitz, and Edna Santiago, at the Goya prints exhibit.  I definitely plan to join in on any expeditions to print collections Bill has planned for the Fall. 

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