Academic journal article The Byron Journal

Letter to the Editor

Academic journal article The Byron Journal

Letter to the Editor

Article excerpt

Dear Editor,

I thought I might send a few thoughts on Byron and Goya with an eye to interesting members of the International Byron Societies in viewing some of Goya's paintings while at this year's International Byron Conference in Spain. Despite the fact that their backgrounds and lifestyles, as well as the countries they lived in, were so entirely different, studying the paintings of Goya alongside the poetry and prose of Byron reveals deep affinities.

According to Robert Hughes, Goya was a man 'free from humbug and cant, loyal to his friends, loving to his women, and deeply protective of his relatives and dependants, a natural señor with a great appetite for life' and 'an equal talent for living it'. What he hated most was 'hypocrisy'. All this sounds very like Byron, as do Goya's passionate expressions of strong opinions, his 'questioning, irreverent attitude to life' and 'persistent scepticism'.

Both present us with a gallery of beautiful women in their art: compare Byron's Haidee, for example, with Goya's Duchesses of Alba and Osuna and his enchanting young Condesa de Chinchón. Both were similarly critical of religious institutions yet could express genuine religious feeling: Byron claimed to 'abhor religion' but also said 'I revere and love my God'; Goya produced anticlerical prints (especially in the Caprichos series) but also sublimely moving pious works such as St Bernadino of Siena preaching before King Alonso of Aragon (Church of San Francisco el Grande, Madrid) and The Last Communion of St Joseph Calasanz (Prado, Madrid). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.