Goya: The Origins of the Modern Temper in Art

By Fred Licht | Go to book overview

10
Occasional
Paintings

he main body of Goya's work is composed of portraits and of large cycles such as the tapestry cartoons, The Second of May and The Third of May, the Black Paintings, and, at the end of his life, a small series of paintings on proletarian themes. These cycles of paintings are accompanied by equally ambitious series of prints: the Caprichos, the Disasters, the Disparates, the Tauromaquia, and the Bulls of Bordeaux. The essential substance of Goya's art and of his life can be found in these works.

There also exist, however, many paintings that can only be described as "occasional." Some of these are among the dullest work the artist ever executed. Others are among his most astonishing creations. From both categories there is much to be learned.

The chief works in the former group are a number of allegories that are traceable to public commissions. Though they are fairly uninteresting in themselves, they constitute clear proof of Goya's inability to keep alive the time-honored genre of allegory. Goya has an uncanny gift for convincing us of the visions of his fantasy. Without hesitation, he can go far beyond the realities of normal experience and introduce us into a convulsive universe of terror. But when it comes to revealing the world of ideals that his contemporaries and his predecessors believed existed behind the material concretions of the tangible world, Goya fails as few other great artists have ever failed before or after.

Paintings such as Allegory of the Third of May, Allegory on History, Allegory on Philosophy, and the series of allegories dedicated to Commerce, Science, Industry, and Agriculture either can be considered signs of Goya's scornful indifference to commissioned themes that did not touch him personally or—if one wants to put a positive construction on Goya's

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Goya: The Origins of the Modern Temper in Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Goya - The Origins of the Modern Temper in Art *
  • Contents *
  • List of Illustrations 6
  • Preface 9
  • Goya's Life in Brief 10
  • 1 - The Background 14
  • 2 - Tapestry Cartoons 22
  • 3 - Religious Paintings 46
  • 4 - The Family of Charles IV 67
  • 5 - The Maias 83
  • 6 - The Caprichos 92
  • 7 - The Second and Third of Way 104
  • 8 - The Disasters of War 128
  • 9 - The Black Paintings 159
  • 10 - Occasional Paintings 196
  • 11 - Portraits 218
  • 12 - Proletarian Paintings 257
  • Epilogue 274
  • Index 282
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