A lecture I gave on 17 Jan 2022 which was
A live , ONLINE lecture For Morbid Anatomy
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If you feel that we live in troubled times, that the truth has died, that the Gods devour their own children, that giants stamp across a darkening landscape, that misguided superstitions lead pilgrimages to nowhere, that dark powers gather at dusk, that militarism brutalizes the people, that cruelty goes unopposed as innocence is sold and victimized - if you feel sad forebodings of what is about to happen - fear not! The Spanish master of dark art Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746- 1828) has trodden this path before you and given pictorial form to your worst fears, while proving that an unflinching gaze at the truth of the situation is the first step to improving things.
During the Pandemic, recent political upheavals and rapidly escalating climate crisis I and many others have been mindful of Goya's saturnine and bracing works which addressed the Disasters of War and political and military scandals of his day in a universally recognizable series of paintings and etchings. In this talk, I will discuss how his art can be both documentary and visionary of its time, and utterly relevant today, simultaneously terrifying and comforting, personal and accessible to us all. Even those unfamiliar with 18th and 19th-century Spanish history and politics will recognize in his work the errors, outrages, and situations that repeat in history as we have failed to learn from them.
I also offer an appreciation of his emotional range—from official and respectable royal portraiture through polemic etching and ending with the real genius of his most morbid oeuvre, the Black Paintings created late in life in his private home under some isolation, nightmare visions materialized in pitchy black tones on his house walls (thankfully rescued for posterity) which plumb the depths of the human condition with a power of expression rarely equaled in visual art. The vector of his career is a mountain range of highs and lows. Few artists offer such range and are able to articulate extreme experience so vividly.
As the lecture is an artist's appreciation, there will also be discussion of Goya's materials and techniques, and an invitation to create your own Black Painting or print to share in a Cluster gallery after the event.
Images: Francisco Goya y Lucientes, The Madhouse 1814
Atropos ( The Fates) from the Black Paintings, c. 1819 - 23