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The Self-Portraits of Francisco Goya Hardcover – October 2, 2000

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Book Description

With his numerous self-portraits, Francisco Goya was alone among visual artists of the Romantic period in responding to the genre of autobiography. In this interdisciplinary study, John J. Ciofalo examines much of Goya's oeuvre through the lens of self-portraiture, offering new interpretations of some of his most famous works.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (October 2, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521771366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521771368
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,191,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John J. Ciofalo is the award winning author of "The Self-Portraits of Francisco Goya." He is currently teaching high school in New Mexico.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By naturae22@aol.com on January 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I could not put it down. The interpretations of Goya's great works are riveting and convincing. It has taken 200 years to discover the true content of that shadowy painting behind the bizarre portrait of "The Family of Charles IV." It has taken 200 years to realize that Goya's "Caprichos" should be read as a kind of dark revision of the beloved Spanish classic, "Don Quixote." It has taken 200 years to finally examine, as a body of works, Goya's alarming, pervasive, and private interest in images of sexual violence. How this plays out in the "Disasters of War" is uncanny. It has taken 200 years to place the "Majas" in historical context, dating back to Titian's "Venus" as well as forward to Manet's "Olympia": sacred and profane, nude and clothed. Finally, the author serves as our guide into and through the macabre "House of the Deafman." He brings out of the shadows all of the latest findings on the "black paintings" and then some. After reading his account, you will not view these enigmatically haunting paintings in the same light. After reading this book, you will not view Goya in the same light.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen Godwin on December 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Literally, from the front to the back cover, The Self-Portraits of Francisco Goya, by John J. Ciofalo is a book to savor, to ponder, and to read. In five chapters, the author takes us on a fascinating journey from the 1770's through the courts and royalty of Spain, the French Revolution and Napoleon, past the dreams of reason, visions of death and destruction, to the realms of sex and violence, dark mythology and haunting memories. Goya is a book to savor- to enjoy its stunning color plates and black and white figures and to delight in its clarity of word and phrase. It is a book to ponder- to muse at its view of nobility and the Church and to consider its landscape of war and human cruelty. It is foremost a book to read- to wonder at the artist's scope of interests and subjects and to marvel at his aspirations, "no less than to...replace the prevailing status of artist as copyist, as craftsperson, as royal servant, with a status more hallowed, more elite, more reflective of his own beliefs on the nature of creativity and genius. A status, that is, something like nobility. This was an extremely radical idea for a Spaniard of that time. It was an agenda, as it turned out, for revolution." With penetrating insight and a sprinkling of humor, John J. Ciofalo has made the life and times of Goya, one of the most enigmatic, controversial, and misunderstood artists of any era, accessible to all readers, regardless of art or historical background knowledge. This is a book that speaks intelligently and frankly to our humanity. It is simultaneously shocking and delightful as it weaves a tapestry of human savagery and nobility from the common thread of self-portraiture. I enthusiastically recommend The Self-Portraits of Francisco Goya by John J. Ciofalo. It is well worth the journey.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William Fanning on December 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Very few books are able to penetrate into an artist's motives for creating works of art. This one does. Beyond the fact that the author offers convincing new interpretations of Goya's great works, he does so with a style that is utterly captivating, with language that is stunningly clear, with art historical acumen that is brilliantly insightful. The book has the look and feel as if Goya had written it himself. We enter into the mind of one the most troubled and versatile geniuses the art world has ever produced. Quite an accomplishment in itself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Slater on June 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Thanks goodness that libraries have copies of this book. Most academic books are written is such a dull style that form obtuse points; this is exemplary in that it is quite the opposite. Dr. Ciofalo's book is one of the finest books to explore modern conceptions of the self. Moreover and most importantly, the journal Tactile Mind, a journal whose emphasis is on the hearing impaired, singles out this book as one of the most truthful about the cultural ramifications of being a creative artist who cannot hear. I would certainly recommend to Cambridge University Press that they issue this book in paperback!
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