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Goya Paperback – November 7, 2006
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Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The late Robert Hughes was a great critic and a wonderful writer. By far the best book I have read on Goya!!Published 12 months ago by Frank Cummins
An excellent lively account which flows quickly. Provides a good overview of Spain at the end of the 18thC, a country of contrasts and great inequality. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Dordogne
I used this book for a paper on Goya in my college level art history class and it is INCREDIBLE. Hughes does an amazing job of analyzing pieces and really highlighting pieces I... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Faith Capalia
an art historical approach to the great painter's oeuvre with great reproductionsPublished 17 months ago by anna koos
And after Tiepolo, the satire, the horned sexuality, the nightmares and terrors of that pained and contrary Spaniard, Francisco Goya y Lucientes. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Glenn J. Shea
Fabulous intriguing book on a great artist , not only a traditional painter but also a printmaker printmaker protesting the horrors of war of the kind that still continues to... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Elizabeth Barron