From the Wall Street Journal: Spanish Meadows Reply

Meadows Collection Dallas

Judith H. Dobrzynski writes from Dallas, January 6, 2014–‘See that green on his face? See how he uses his finger there?” Mark A. Roglán, the director of the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University here, is bubbling with enthusiasm for his latest acquisition. It’s a tender portrait of a youth painted by Francisco Goya just months before the artist died. Mr. Roglán is so overjoyed that he has placed the work in the middle of the museum’s central gallery, rather than against a wall, so viewers can read the affectionate dedication scrawled across the back: “Goya to his grandson in 1827 in his 81st year.” More…

Some News About You, Dear Readers 2

Weighing and measuring

When we first considered publishing an English-language online magazine about Spain we expected that most of our readers would be northern Europeans, people from cold climes who are familiar with Spain and might even have been here on holidays. We thought they would be British, Germans, Scandinavians, French, Belgians and Dutch, along with a few Americans, Russians, Japanese and Chinese. As a lot of these people already know Spain we thought we might be able to lure them gently to take a deeper look at the country and maybe even consider it as a place to set up housekeeping. We know that’s a good idea. We’ve done it ourselves.

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The Private Life Of A Masterpiece – Goya’s Third of May 1808 (4/4) Reply

Saturn_devouring_sonThe fourth and last part of the BBC’s Goya’s Third of May series brings the story up to our own time, citing examples of contemporary artists inspired by Goya to evoke the horrors of our own wars, beginning with Picasso, whose Spanish Civil War work, Guernika in 1937, was the most important historical painting of the 20th century. This chapter also discusses the Irish artist Robert Ballagh’s emulation of Goya with his Third of May,1970 painting that points up the parallels between the Napoleonic troops in Spain and the British in Northern Ireland.

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The Private Life Of A Masterpiece – Goya’s Third of May 1808 (3/4) Reply

Goyas universal victimThis third part of this series opens with the man in white, the victim and ultimate victor of Goya’s Third of May  painting. According to narrator, Samuel West, he is portrayed as super human. Even kneeling he’s larger than his executioners. West highlights the difference between Goya’s rendition of war and those of his contemporaries, whose paintings are tightly packed with figures, color, heroism and glory. Goya gains impact and realism by using few figures surrounded by the desolation of space. “The sky is not sky; it’s blackness,” comments West.

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The Private Life Of A Masterpiece – Goya’s Third of May 1808 2/4 Reply

Goya_self_profile

The facts behind Goya’s Third of May painting are incontrovertible. On May 2, 1808 French troops rounded up and detained in barracks all the Spaniards they found in Madrid carrying weapons. In the middle of that same night, at 4:00 a.m., they were taken in groups of 14 or 15 to a clearing at the edge of the city and executed by a firing squad.

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Prado Restores Goya Drawings Reply

A Peek Inside the Prado Museum’s Paper Restoration Workshop

Goya Aun AprendoJose Manuel Matilla, chief of the Prado’s department of drawings and prints, gives us some insight into the restoration of Francisco de Goya’s “Caprichos amarillos” (a reference used internally that you will not find published), fourteen preliminary drawings for his “Caprichos” etchings portfolio. These were unburdened of the layer of yellow starch varnish applied to them at the beginning of the 20th century, and the paper was reconditioned, rehumidified and flattened. A bonus is the explanation of the work done on one of the artist’s most iconic drawings, “Aún aprendo,” “I’m still learning,” one of Goya’s last drawings made during his final years of merciful exile in Bordeaux. The restoration was based on a photograph of the drawing in its original condition.

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Commented Works: “The Meadow of San Isidro”, Francisco de Goya, (1788) Reply

Pradera San Isidro

This six-minute video celebrates The Meadow of San Isidro (La Pradera de San Isidro, 1788) by Francisco Goya, another precious little painting from the Prado collection that they have brought together in a show denominated Enclosed Beauty. From Fra Angelico to Fortuny (La belleza encerrada. De Fra Angelico a Fortuny). The commentary (with English subtitles) is by Enrique Quintana, Chief Coordinator of Paintings in the Prado Museum. More…

Francisco Goya – The First Modern Artist? – 3/3 2

by Bart Sedgebear

A Four-Part Series

Goya self2The Disasters of War series is traditionally divided into four parts: one introductory print, forty six portraying the horrors of war, seventeen with scenes of hunger in Madrid (though the city is not clearly alluded to in the images), and sixteen prints at the end of the series called Los caprichos enfáticos, “The Emphatic Follies.”

Goya’s introductory print to this series succinctly sums up what is to follow, both in his series of etchings and in world history. It depicts an imploring kneeling figure of a defenseless man who finds himself caught in the crossroads of the paths of glory trampled by psychotic politicians, generals and businessmen. More…

Francisco Goya – The First Modern Artist? -1/3 3

by Bart Sedgebear

Goya maja vestida

The name of Francisco Goya is familiar to all of us.  He was, after all, one of the all-time great visual artists. We are  familiar with the court paintings he did for Spain’s first Bourbon king, Fernando III, with the designs he did for the Royal Tapestry Factory in Madrid, with his half-hearted religious paintings and his prodigious prints.  And let’s not forget his celebrated oil portraits of othe Duchess of Alba, “The Nude Maja” and “The Dressed Maja,” which turned out not to have been of the Duchess of Alba, after all.  Have we stopped to consider, however, that this 18th-century Spanish artist from a humble village in the Aragonese outback may have been the inventor of modern art as we know it? More…