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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Goya Paperback – November 7, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A long life and vast works make fitting subjects for the epic-minded Hughes (The Shock of the New, etc.). Born in Aragon in 1746, Goya weathered the Peninsular Wars (1808-1814) in Spain and lived to the age of 82, when he died in self-imposed exile in France. Hughes denies the popular image of the artist as a die-hard iconoclast, painting court portraits while winking behind his patrons' backs. Staying close to the visual evidence, Hughes shows Goya was not above flattering his royal subjects (aggrandizing midget count Altamira), waxing patriotic (as in the famous Third of May) and taking commissions from the Bonapartes under the French occupation. In middle age he was struck deaf by an unidentifiable illness, at which point his pictures turned darker-a bullfighter gored before eager spectators, the inmates of a madhouse clamoring for respite. His Desastres de la guerra rendered the mute, gaping horror of guerrilla combat. Under a picture of refugees fleeing the French, he inscribed, "I saw it." Whether or not this much debated act of witness really happened, for Hughes it is Goya's urgent visual economy that "invented... the illusion of being there when dreadful things happen." Given his intimate understanding of the painter, one regrets that Hughes's diligent catalogues of the Caprichos and Pinturas Negras (among the 115 color and 100 b&w illustrations) often forgo in-depth analysis for textbook thoroughness. But he compellingly insists on Goya's prophetic genius, arguing that, for an age that has produced few great paintings in response to modern terrors, Goya's pictures anticipate disasters unheard of but yet to arrive.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Australian-born Hughes, art critic for Time and the author of 10 acclaimed books, begins his expert and passionate interpretation of the life and work of the seminal artist Goya with a dramatic account of how, during his recovery from a nearly fatal car crash, he was visited by the great painter in the twilight zone of his pain. This empathic connection with Goya, who suffered his own isolating and debilitating crisis in his mid-forties when a fierce illness left him deaf, enabled Hughes to write a remarkably vital, delectably discursive, and deeply affecting study of an artist whose unique and powerful work grows more significant with each passing year. Goya, Hughes writes, "truly was a realist, one of the first and greatest," but he was also a sly and courageous social critic, creating indelible images of both earthy satire and epic tragedy. Declaring the prolific, "sanguine and ironic" Goya "the last Old Master and the first Modernist," Hughes brings eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Madrid to dynamic life and insightfully dissects every aspect of Goya's ever-evolving paintings and etchings, indelible works that grew steadily darker, more disturbing, and increasingly radical in their indictment of injustice and violence. Hughes' profound appreciation for Goya's genius and "immense humanity" will inspire readers to look to Goya's magnificent, shocking, and clarifying works as to a polestar as we grapple with the inhumanity of our times. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (November 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375711287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375711282
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #404,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Throughout history we have examples of biographers so committed to the works of their artist subject that the reporting of the writer seems like the visual becoming oral. Such is the case of James Lord and Giacometti, David Sylvester and Francis Bacon, and now Robert Hughes and Jose de Goya y Lucientes. Hughes new publication entitled simply GOYA is the zenith work in the line of brilliant art history writing, books that include 'The Shock of the New' and 'American Visions' as well as definitive books on artists Frank Auerbach and Lucian Freud. His knowledge is both technically sophisticated and psychologically sound and he is a gifted writer in about any métier.

But there is something more to this book than biography. Goya has been important to Hughes throughout his life: his first art purchase as student in Australia was one of the etchings of Goya's `Capricho' series. It wasn't until 1999, when Hughes came close to meeting death from an accident, was in a coma, then gradually recovered through a long series of debilitating therapies, that Hughes was able to overcome his writer's block and actually set about to write the biography of the artist who had become his obsession for years. Hughes admits that it was probably this experience coupled with a vision of Goya himself that made him truly comprehend and incorporate Goya's life of reactionary to the Church, to the absurdity and viciousness of War, to the Inquisition, and to the social injustices he observed. And the interesting parallel of course is that Goya suffered physically not only due to complete deafness, but also to undiagnosed maladies that made his life a trial but did not stop his painting.
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Format: Hardcover
Anyone searching for a book of Goya reproductions should look elsewhere; nearly all the reproductions here are half-postcard size. But that's not a problem because the book's intent is to describe the artist's life within the context of his time. Unfortunately, it is in that area where the problems lie.

Simply put, the book is poorly written. It is rife with factual inaccuracies and contradictory conclusions. A few of the many examples are:

1) On page 120, in speaking about Goya's group royal portrait of "The Family of Carlos IV," Hughes says: "In 1787-88, when the picture was painted, family groups were distinctly uncommon in Spanish art: Velazquez, for instance, was never once called upon to paint one." In fact, group portraits of the Bourbon royalty were indeed common, such as Louis-Michel Van Loo's portrait "The Family of Philip V" in the Prado. Bourbon family portraits were an intentional departure from the traditional Habsburg royal portraits painted during Velazquez's time. In addition, the reference to Velazquez is confusing and unjustified because Velazquez painted around 150 years before Goya and nowhere near "1787-88, when the picture was painted."

2) On page 131, when conjecturing on whether or not Goya actually fought a bull in his youth, the possibility is dismissed as "a masculine boast easily made in Spain." But by page 351, Hughes has changed his mind and says that Goya "claimed, probably truthfully, that he had fought bulls in his youth."

3) On page 16, the name of Goya's house--the Quinta del Sordo or Deaf Man's Farmhouse--"drew its nickname...from the previous owner, a deaf farmer." But on page 372, he states "the property next door had been owned by a farmer who was deaf" and the name passed to Goya's house when he moved in.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Goya is one of the greatest artists who ever lived: a court artist for kings, he also observed not only the common people, but the state of his mind, in the process creating a series of masterpieces that entered completely new territories. I have been fascinated by his work for my entire life, and only now have I found a book that explores and interprets what he did in a way that really speaks to me. Perhaps only Hughes could have done it - he was obsessed with Goya as well.

He started off as a pretty conventional artist, as an apprentice, married correctly for court connections, and worked. This was in the late Baroque period, and Goya became a popular artist for "cartoons" to be displayed in parlors of the rich - images of robberies, idyllic scenes, and popular stories. Spain at the time was an extremely backward country, mired in feudal traditions that were blocking the modernization of its economy and society. It didn't help that a reformist king, Carlos 3, had allowed his do-nothing son Carlos 4 to succeed him.

At the time, Velasquez and others were experimenting with realistic character portraiture, which Goya mastered better than just about anyone. He quickly found aristocratic patrons, particularly acolytes of the Spanish Enlightenment, or Ilustración. They saw his talent and engaged him so that he could paint for them rather than for the cash-strapped church or the cartoons that bored him after 10 years of work. The result are portraits of such exceptional discernment and intensity that they alone would have won him a place in art history. He earned a place as the artist of the Royal Court of the last Bourbons; both Carloses loved his work.

At the same time, he experimented with a number of media, particularly lithography.
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