Duchess of Alba: Spain’s Richest Aristocrat Dies Aged 88 Reply

Duchess of Alba

Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart had more titles than any other aristocrat and owned palaces and an extensive property portfolio as well as paintings by Goya and Velazquez. She died at home on Thursday after a short illness. The duchess is survived by her husband of three years, Alfonso Diez, who is 25 years her junior. The Duchess of Alba was the head of one of Spain’s oldest noble families.

BBC.com–Spain’s ‘rebel noble’, by Fiona Govan, Madrid–The frizzy-haired eccentric aristocrat was one of Spain’s most-loved figures whose antics filled the nation’s gossip magazines and gripped the audiences of TV chat shows even during the final months of her long life. Described as the “rebel noble”, she spurned convention to forge her own path in life, following her passion for flamenco and, as a patron of the arts, amassing a private collection of masterpieces said to rival any in Europe. Her exuberant character, complete with squeaky voice and flamboyant dress-sense, enraptured Spaniards who followed the vicissitudes of her 88 years.



The Morgan Museum Displays Its Elusive Collection of Spanish Drawings Reply

contra bien general

(ArtfixDaily.com), January 7, 2014–It was traditionally assumed that Spanish artists rarely drew, but recent research has demonstrated that drawing was, in fact, central to artistic practice in Spain. Visions and Nightmares: Four Centuries of Spanish Drawings explores the shifting roles and attitudes toward the art of drawing in Spain, as well as the impact of the Catholic Church and the nightmare of the Inquisition on Spanish artists and their work.


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.


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.


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.


Juliet Wilson-Bareau Comments on Goya Self Portrait in Prado Reply

Juliet Wilson-BareauYouTube.com–London-based art historian and curator, Juliet Wilson-Bareau finds important qualities and insights in a small self portrait by Goya in the current exhibit in the Prado Museum, “La belleza encerrada. De Fra Angelico a Fortuny”, “Beauty Enclosed. From Fra Angelico to Fortuny”  in the Prado from May 21-November 10, 2013. The painting is “Autorretrato” (1796 – 1797),” “Self Portrait” de Francisco de Goya y Lucientes. According to Wilson-Bareau the painting was done during a visit to the Duchess of Alba on her estates in San Lucar de Barrameda in Andalucía, and he gave it to her as a gift. At that same time he might have been preparing the preliminary drawings for his first series of prints, “Los Caprichos.” 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? – 2/3 2

Goya modo volarby Bart Sedgebear

.First Prints: Los Caprichos

Goya began making prints in 1792 after his illness and the onset of total deafness, and it is in this medium that his art–and Spanish visual culture– reached its highest expression. His  first series of etchings, Los Caprichos (“The Follies”), dates from early 1789.  It consists of 80 plates in which the artist, working with complete freedom, expresses, in his own words, “the censure of human errors and vices.”  The series was offered for sale in the Gaceta de Madrid newspaper but, after the Santa Inquisición “inquired” into this scandalous new form of expression, Los Caprichos were quickly and quietly withdrawn from the marketplace. 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…

The Summit of Spanish Culture: Introduction to the Prado Museum 1

Prado Museum facadeMadrid’s Prado Museum, housing one of the world’s great art collections, is particularly rich in the work of European masters–“…paintings loved by painters,” someone has said. It includes works by Velázquez, El Greco, Goya, Titian, Rubens and many more. Traditionally the building was capable of displaying some 900 works but, after the enlargement directed by Spanish architect, Rafael Moneo, in 2007 that number has risen to 1,150 paintings, out of a total of some 8,600 in the museum’s vaults. More…