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
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.