By Victor I. Stoichita
This fascinating booklet on Goya concentrates at the final years of the eighteenth century as a overlooked milestone in his life.Goya waited till 1799 to submit his celebrated sequence of drawings, the Caprichos, which provided a private imaginative and prescient of the "world grew to become upside down". Victor I. Stoichita and Anna Maria Coderch think about how subject matters of Revolution and Carnival (both visible as inversions of the status quo) have been obsessions in Spanish tradition during this interval, and make provocative connections among the shut of the 1700s and the tip of the Millennium. specific emphasis is put on the artist's hyperlinks to the underground culture of the ugly, the grotesque and the violent. Goya's drawings, regarded as a private and mystery laboratory, are foregrounded in a learn that still reinterprets his work and engravings within the cultural context of his time.
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Extra info for Goya: The Last Carnival (Reaktion Books - Essays in Art and Culture)
Several elements draw attention to the grotesque nature of the distended stomach - first the woman's expression and then the man's gesture. Other signs, less obvious but no less important, can be added: the woman's slender waist creates a counter-curve that accentuates the protuberance of the male stomach. In the absence of further information and especially for want of any explicit or implicit inscription, our interpretation must stop here. Nevertheless, we can quite legitimately say that this drawing illustrates a situation of reversal (the man has a stomach that the woman does not have).
If we wish to go into this subject in greater depth and examine its sources, we shall need to consider the alternative modes of expression used by the artist rather than the 'great paintings' he worked on for most of his life. It is the etcher, the author of the small, quick sketches, who will make his beliefs known more readily. An examination of such sketches reveals that the carnivalesque theme of reversals was constant and that it accompanied Coya throughout his long and turbulent career. The later formalization of the relationship of reversal can only be understood once a thematically structured study 37 of his work has been undertaken.
The 'bearded mother' has something of the 'paternal saint' about her as well as something of the comedy of the fair. This duality shows that transgression creates complex iconography at the heart of which the sacred and profane can communicate. ON GOYA'S BESTIARY In Dialektik der Aufkliirung, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno emphasize the central role played by the man/beast 59 26 Coya, Woman and Serpent, 1797--9, pen and sepia wash with reddish scumble over entire sheet. 48 No artist has been able to define the fluctuating nature of this relationship better than Goya; to study it in all its complexity is a task that goes far beyond the limits of this book.