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
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From Publishers Weekly
Modern interpretations of Goya as a political artist, proto-Romantic rebel, fantasist or realist capture partial truths about the protean Spanish painter, suggests Columbia University art history professor Tomlinson in this meticulous, sumptuously illustrated study featuring 210 color and 70 black-and-white plates. By viewing Goya's career as a lifelong experiment with image-making, she shows how his art became a self-perpetuating process as his works fed off one another. Tomlinson argues unpersuasively that Goya's royal portraits, usually seen as savage satires, actually evince sympathy for his often homely or awkward subjects. She is more successful in elucidating his kaleidoscopic view of evil in the Los Caprichos etchings, his innovative small-scale oils and his investigations of irrationality and destructiveness in scenes of madhouses, war, the Inquisition and popular spectacles.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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