The dark side of Goya

The author Aldous Huxley wrote of Goya’s later works and his Caprichos series of etching in particular: “These creatures who haunt Goya’s Later Works are inexpressibly horrible, with the horror of mindlessness and animality and spiritual darkness. And above the lower depths where they obscenely pullulate is a world of bad priests and lustful friars, of fascinating women whose love is a ‘dream of lies and inconstancy,’ of fatuous nobles and, at the top of the social pyramid, a royal family of half-wits, sadists, Messalinas and perjurers”.
Francisco Goya self portrait

Self portrait

“The moral of it all is summed up in the central plate of the Caprichos in which we see Goya himself, his head on his arms, sprawled across his desk and fitfully sleeping, while the air above is peopled with bats and owls of necromancy and just behind his chair lies an enormous witch’s cat, malevolent as only Goya’s cats can be, staring at the sleeper with baleful eyes. On the side of the desk are traced the words, ‘The dream [or ‘sleep’] of reason produces monsters.'” 

Goya 'The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters' 1797

'The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters' 1797

One of Goya’s most disturbing works of all was never intended for a public audience – ‘Saturn Devouring His Children’ was painted directly onto the walls of Goya’s house where he had retreated to after bouts of illness that left him deaf and approaching mental illness. 

'Saturn Devouring His Children' 1819 - 1823

'Saturn Devouring His Children' 1819 - 1823

 These later works are testament to an artist haunted by illness and the world around him. They are both extremely powerful and disturbing – so much so that most of them were not published until decades after his death.

'And there is no remedy' Goya from the Disasters of War

'And there is no remedy' from the Disasters of War

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s