Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Goya: Truth and Fantasy: The Small Paintings

This is the catalogue of a major exhibition of Goya's small-scale paintings, at the Museo del Prado in Madrid in November 1993 and moving then to the Royal Academy in London in March 1994. Consisting of about a hundred works, the exhibition will survey Goya's oeuvre throughout his career. It will include all the surviving sketches for his tapestry cartoons - enchanting decorative works still in an 18th-century idiom, yet also the first paintings in which Goya began to explore a genuinely Spanish vein of realism. Sketches for his major altarpieces, dating from the 1770s to 1820, provide evidence of his ability to work out large-scale compositions on a miniature scale, yet with the same intensity of expression as the final works. The little cabinet pictures of 1793-4, painted after his recovery from a near-fatal illness, are among his most intense and personal creations. Illustrating scenes of fire and shipwreck, brigands, madmen, bull-fights and fairgrounds, they contain the kernal of the artistic language that he was to develop throughout the rest of his career. Also included will be his tragi-comic scenes of witchcraft, and more sombre scenes of violence and resistance painted as Spain came under Napoleon's domination, as well as most of his celebrated small portraits, and finally the miniature low life scenes painted in his last years while in exile in France. The title of the exhibition is taken from a letter in which Goya refers to the way in which small pictures allow him to give free reign to his "capricho [fantasy] and invention", and there is no doubt that the exhibition and accompanying catalogue will be both an important contribution to scholarship and a fascinating opportunity to see a broad selection of the work of one of the greatest and most original artists of all time. [Description provided by the publisher]

No comments: