Horror. The world one usually associates with the work of Goya. Even in his brilliant early years as a court painter, an air of evil hung suspiciously in the background of his rococo paintings. Then, after his illness, they lept from the shadows, bursting through in a swirling, screaming apocalypse of Black Painting. Goya hated authority in its many incarnations and disguises; the clergy, military, government; because he was aware that given the opportunity, they would exploit the helpless and needy, repressing them with the apparatus of force. It is this feeling of indignation which gives symbolic force to Goya’s work: there are always fresh batches of victims, like in the Third of May, who are being driven forward out of the darkness to satisfy some need for sacrifice…
–Our idea of him has been so much shaped by the Romantic sensibility that pervaded Europe after his death that we still like to see him as a death-haunted, irrational loner, pitted by his – temperament against his times — the first skeptic of art, the titanic ancestor of surrealism. “It is when Goya abandons himself to his capacity for fantasy that he is most admirable,” wrote Theophile Gautier in 1842. “No one can equal him in making black clouds, filled with vampires and demons, rolling in the warm atmosphere of a stormy night.” The effect of this has been to pluck Goya out of his own age and put him in our own.Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,956813,00.html#ixzz1DnVlmEdt a
Of all the great masters of the past to be claimed as THE ancestor of the modern, Goya is the odds-on winner. ROnatics seem nourished by his violence, and realists can correctly point out that in a time of synthetic, superficial, bourgeois painting, Goya founded a style not geared to formula but in the streets. Social rebels or painters of social consciousness feel that they are the descendants of Goya the liberal thinker, who drew and painted his indictments instead of writing them down. Fantasists recognize a kinship with a master of nightmare. Even non-figurative artists can pull upon parts of his late work claiming it as a prophesy of the abstract-expressionist aesthetic.
And yet Goya is also the antithesis of these plausible modernisms, convenient though they may be. He was a first rate rococo decorator; in many portraits he revealed himself as the natural follower of Velasquez’s baroque tradition. The lesson then is never to look at a Goya and exclaim over its beauties, its power, and its significance from any standard preconception of what his art is all about.
There is a case for Goya as the first great modern artist, because of his fascination with the irrational and his critical rage against church and class. Indeed, the inscriptions on two of his prints — Y no hai remedio (And there is no remedy), referring to the shooting of bound prisoners in the series titled Disasters of War, and El sueno de la razon produce monstruos (The sleep of reason brings forth monsters), the title page of his Caprichos — seem as fixed above the wars, pogroms and massacres of the 20th century as Dante’s words “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here” were on the adamantine gates of hell.Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,956813,00.html#ixzz1DnWfQXHs a
Kenneth Clark: CAN THE INSTANTANEOUS become permanent? Can a flash be prolonged without losing its intensity? Can the shock of a sudden revelation survive the mechanics by which a big picture is composed? Almost the only affirmative answer in painting is Goya’s picture of a firing squad, known as The Third of May. Coming on it in the Prado with one’s head full of Titian, Velasquez and Rubens, it deals a knock out blow. One suddenly realises how much rhetoric even the greatest painters have employed in their efforts to make us believe in their subjects. Delacroix’s Massacre at Chios, for example: it was painted ten years later than The Third of May, and it might have been painted two hundred years earlier. The figures are sincerely expressive of Delacroix’s feelings, both as a man and a painter. They are pathetic, but they are posed. We can imagine the admirable studies that preceded them. With Goya we do not think of the studio or even of the artist at work. We think only of the event. … Read More: http://www.artchive.com/artchive/G/goya/may_3rd.jpg.html a
/goya4.jpg" alt="" width="360" height="552" />