Goya: Folly and War


exhibition Details

The dark, mocking visions of Goya: Folly and War question all civilizations' ability to survive the terrors and madness of war. These cryptic, satirical etchings by Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746-1828) chillingly capture humanity's shortfalls.

During Francisco Goya's lifetime Spain was ruled by three different monarchs. For many years Goya served as Painter to the King, creating portraits of the Royal Family, but after he became deaf in 1792 his work became more introspective. He turned to etchings and aquatints to compile a scorching exposé of the oppression experienced by ordinary people in Spain.

A defining moment in his development as an artist was the Peninsula War (1807-1814), when France turned on its former ally and overran Spain. At first many people welcomed the French, hoping that aristocratic decadence as well as ancient traditions ridden with superstition, religious oppression and fear would be replaced with a fairer social order. This was not to be.

Goya was a man of his time, influenced by the Age of Enlightenment, and yet all too aware of humanity's ability to respond violently to prejudice and corruption rather than using reason to solve society's problems. Because of the chilling, psychological edge to many of Goya's prints he has often been described as the first modern artist. Many of his political and social barbs are still pertinent today.

Curated by
Mary Kisler
Level 1
Free entry

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