Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Goya's Dark Painting

Two days ago we were watching a program on BBC channel, in which the anchor travelled to Spain, Barcelona. Among the facts about this beautiful city, he was also telling about Spanish artist Francisco Goya and his Dark paintings. I used to see these paintings before but never knew the story behind them. It's a dark story of person's mental and physical suffering, as Goya became deaf due to some serious illness, and it lead to change in his art. This narrative disturbed me that much that I was trying to find more information about it since then.
Obviously that our creations reflect our inner self, our emotions, or their absence, our feelings. Goya's late paintings is a mixture of apocalyptic vision and despair. I would like to pay attention on one of them which is called Witches' Sabbath or The Great He-Goat which was created. The figures in this painting look like a solid piece of clay, they fear and their faces express horror. There is a girl sitting separately from others who seems to be calm, as she is observing the happening. It's said that she is likely to be initiated into coven.
(El Gran Cabrón/AquelarreWitches' Sabbath 
Certainly you don't need to be a visual arts specialist  to notice that the colors Goya chose for his painting are dark, light is dim, and the figure of Devil in goat's disguise/costume is more like a shadow than a real entity. What was the condition of a man who created such scary, disturbing picture? What did he see what other couldn't or were afraid of? The Peninsula war and other political causes of 19th century Europe serve as an explanation of Goya's dark images and scenes incarnated in his works.
But I feel it might be something like games which artist's mind played with him dragging out the darkest fantasies and making him to create on the walls of his house... and live among them, those fantasies. This Witches' Sabbath painting is just one of the examples of the artist's mental breakdown, which actually increased over ages, as he had painted another Witches' Sabbath before, but the colors in that picture were brighter and figures - more clear.
You can read more about Goya's art, the story of his isolated life and a search for some way out of the turmoil in his mind and chaos in the world. I found this painter's works actual for our modern time, when the world is distorted by wars, conflicts which sparkles even more violence, hatred, wish not to preserve but ruin.
I hope my post wasn't too gloomy, I just wanted to share some interesting subject with you, dear friends :) Hope you found some thoughts close to what you reflect on or, at least, worth reading once. I haven't started to discover my dear witches in other folk tales or any fiction, but I intend to start searching again :)


  1. Is the girl sitting apart playing an accordion?

  2. good point, Debra!but i think it's some hand warmer... couldn't find any info about this detail though...

  3. I loved this post! Although i always loved literature and music the world of painting and sculpting is a bit of a mystery to me. It always fascinates me to learn about that stuff and to listen people that connect deeply with those forms of art. It is like i get a peek into a hidden world.

  4. Yes, Greekwitch, art is very close to person's private we never know what artists meant, we can only guess...
    thanks for your nice comment:)

  5. That is very sad about Goya. I have to say, however, that the goat in the painting is more than likely an Alpine. I know I feel dark despair living with one. :)

  6. Hi, Marigold!
    Remembering your previous disappointed comment that there were no goats mentioned in my post..this one was especially for you.
    Yea..sad life story...sad paintings...

  7. The post wasn't gloomy; it was real. Goya was always amazing at showing the inner uglies of the human mind and the darkness bits of the human condition. When I was very young, his work used to make me cry and I didn't know why. I wasn't scared of it, his expressions were just painful and evoked sadness.

  8. I really don't know anything about this but still after reading its nice...sad though but yeah that art been showed is unique!