Thursday, 9 June 2016

Gothic Art in Spotlight: The Black Paintings of Goya and a trip to Madrid

I spent the last full week of May in Madrid, as a sort of a summer holiday because I am going to be working the whole summer (of which I am glad!). In my previous blog post I already mentioned that this spring would be very busy for me and I was not wrong. I have finished my studies and before I traveled to Madrid, the capital of Spain, I had emptied and cleaned my apartment in Tampere, the city where my (soon to be ex-)University is. I returned from Madrid  two days before my new work began and for the past week I've been still very busy, learning the new job.
The view from the hotel room in Madrid
In Madrid I visited many amazing art museums and saw many great paintings and statues by famous and not so famous artists. The works were beautiful or thought-provoking but not something that was hitting that "goth spot", if you know what I mean. :) The most goth paintings I saw on my trip would be Francisco de Goya's "Black Paintings". I saw most of them at the Museo del Prado, the distinguished art museum with the largest collections in Madrid. They had a whole room full of Goya's grim and ominous paintings.

The Black Paintings are paintings Goya (1746–1828) made between 1819 and 1823. He used much darker colors and shades compared to his earlier works and most importantly, the paintings depicted sinister and horrifying things. This is a painting called "Saturn eating his son" and the name is quite explicit. Saturn, the father of Zeus and other gods of Ancient Greece, is devouring his own son because there was a prophecy that one of Saturn's own children would kill him. So he would eat them all. This is a striking and obscene painting.
Source
I must admit that I've never been a fan of Goya and the Black Paintings do not make my heart shiver nor do they put me into awe. The subjects of the Black Paintings are interesting but something in Goya's style just isn't suitable for me. Goya also made some paintings of witches and their grim rites in the end of the 18th century. Their colors are lighter but subjects are not. In this painting a group of witches are having a feast with the incarnation of the devil or another demon and they are offering dead or ghoulish children to him. Or at least that is how I interpret this scene.
Source
These paintings could easily delight and interest goths. The macabre and twisted elements are fairly visible and they have a sort of a timeless vibe in them, with the mythical themes and folklore-ish subjects.

As a side note: Museo del Prado is now having an exhibition of Hieronymous Bosch and his works and it looks like it is amazing. Alas, I could not see it because I had to return to Finland before the exhibition opened. The exhibition is the biggest exhibition of Bosch this year. If you happen to be in Madrid in near future, that Bosch exhibition is definitely worth checking out!

10 comments:

  1. COngrats on finding a new job and traveling to Madrid! I always thought of Goya as an romantisist painter, thanks for showing me his dark side... The Goat demon looks creepely realistic!

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    1. It does! And the witches are made more sketch-like (almost like impressionist a bit later) so they highlight the life-likeness of the goat. :D

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  2. The first painting makes me laugh. It's the expression on his face. I like the second painting much more. Too bad about the Bosch exhibit! That would have been amazing to see!

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    1. He is a bit ridiculous, isn't he! :'D

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  3. Goya is amazing. His black paintings are one of the things I always joke about having in the guest wing of my imaginary future mansion, along with other scary art and artefacts!

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    1. That sounds like a delightfully creepy guestroom! :D

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  4. How exciting. Sounds like a wonderful time.
    That first picture is pretty creepy.

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    1. Saturn is very disturbed indeed! :)

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  5. Hummm... I'm not sure about those paintings either... But definitely will google a few more, maybe there is something catching me then ^^ But in the end it is amazing to see some exhibition anyways! Hope you will have enough time for this kind of things with your new job!

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