Goya is My Muse

I love Goya.  I’ve loved him since I saw “Saturn Devouring His Son.” It was morbid and beautiful at the same time.  It’s blatant grotesque nature was fascinating for me and also surprising for the 1800’s.  This time is usually associated with lovely paintings of the Madonna and her son.  I was fascinated with how he was the first to ever create political cartoons and continuously just offend the royal court while simultaneously being employed by them.


The Prado is to the Met as the Sofia Reine is to the MOMA. There are incredible classical pieces of work in The Prado.  Greco, Raphael and Valezquez are all housed in the Prado alongside other ingenious artists.

The Prado in Madrid has the largest Goya collection in the world.  Goya is present on every floor from chronological order from top to bottom.  You can see his artistic development develop from each floor.  His genius flourishes before your eyes.

I went in an hour before close to quickly see every piece of Goya.  You really should put aside three hours to go through the Prado with an audio tour. I don’t often recommend this for museums but the audio tour is beautifully done here.

Anyway I went on a Goya binge for that hour.  I used a map to locate every Goya in the museum and listened to the audio for each painting.  It was possible with quick reflexes and a strong motivation to see fine art for free.

I learned a lot on that tour that made me fall more in love with Goya.  He was truly a radical for his time.  He was a feminist often depicting women as stronger than their husbands.  His political cartoons were gruesome but poignant.


I wrote a poem about El Tercero de Mayo 1808.  It is set in the Franco-Spanish War.  Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Spain.  The painting is a protest of war depicting men being executed in the dead of night.

El Tercero de Mayo

A man illuminated

In the evening

Soles of shoes soaked in a

Friends’ blood

Men awaiting bullets

For last breaths to be exhaled

Piercing noises cut through the evening.

Gazes avoiding the inevitable

Faces turning to guns with patriotism

In their hearts

Faceless men carry out orders

Gunpowder thickens the air

A wife widowed

A child is left fatherless

Sons called to their creator

In the name of patriotism

Goya’s oil paints them as martyrs

Their story illuminated

On The Prado’s wall

El tercero de mayo


If you get a chance to see the Prado it will change your life.  I’m not a fine arts person.  I can’t name facts about art history like a cultured young woman but Goya definitely influenced me.





5 thoughts on “Goya is My Muse

  1. The first modern! I got to visit a special exhibit of his in Madrid. Don’t ask how. A Spanish guy I knew who thought I knew everything about computers because I was ‘from America’ talked to his wife who worked at the Prado as some sort of assistant.
    They let me see some interesting work and some plaster from his Goya’s home during his black paintings and later years. I played the ‘approving diplomat’ and art aficionado pretty well, I thought.
    Nice post.


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