Main | Art magazine | Evocative, scary, but insanely talented paintings by Francisco Goya that were way ahead of their time.
Evocative, scary, but insanely talented paintings by Francisco Goya that were way ahead of their time.

Evocative, scary, but insanely talented paintings by Francisco Goya that were way ahead of their time.

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The Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746-1828) left a rich and very diverse creative legacy. Some of his paintings are beautiful and decorative - one would want to hang them in one's home if one had the opportunity, although only the very rich have the opportunity. Others are defiantly frank and even provocative, and are more suited to the frivolous French than to the strict and pious Spaniards of the time. And some are scary, reminiscent of a dark phantasmagoria.

Sardinka's funeral

And there was also a magnificent satirical series of Caprichos, which even now impresses with its boldness and has not lost its relevance.

We will talk about the most impressive paintings of Goya in this article.

At the beginning of his career, Francisco Goya worked for a long time in a factory with a cute for all those who remember the television series of the 90s called ‘Santa Barbara’. Like this series, the main task of the factory was to ‘make people beautiful’, to distract from real worries and problems. However, at that time they hadn't learned to make simple films yet, but they mass produced tapestries with eye-pleasing drawings. And they were popular among all Spaniards - small and cheap ones decorated the homes of people of modest wealth, and luxurious, full-wall tapestries went to the royal chambers.


Goya got a job at this factory by ‘big blat’, because at that time no one knew him, and as a theme for paintings, on which will weave tapestries, chose scenes from the life of Spanish commoners - maho. But the idealistic shepherds real maho did not resemble at all - passionate, self-loving, cheerful, never refuse a drink and snacks, ready to immediately grab a knife if they decide that the interlocutor thought they somehow offended, maho were representatives of the urban grassroots in Spain and not always friends with the law.

Fighting in Venta Nueva

But at the same time they firmly observed old traditions and customs, dressed in national clothes and had relationships with mahi - girls of easy behaviour and temperament, who, unlike ‘decent’ ladies ‘manolas’ from noble families, did not always strictly follow all the rigid religious rules and decency.

Goya painted a picture of such a mahi a little later, when he was already a famous artist, and this picture is a real challenge to social decency.

Maha nude

By and large - this is the first image of a real girl, with beautiful but not flawless forms. She boldly and calmly looks at the audience with her large eyes, and does not seem at all embarrassed by her nakedness.

Moreover, unlike the paintings of academists, her nudity is completely natural, and there are no attempts by the artist to distract the viewer's attention from it in any way, to try to disguise the most ‘unseemly places’ with smoke, cupid, maid, shell, etc. She does not look at all like a revived ancient Greek statue: the body is of natural colour, not satin or marble, even hair is visible where it should be. And this in strict Catholic Spain, where the Inquisition was still raging.

Witches in the air

However, it is believed that Goya painted this picture for the First Minister of Spain, Manuel Godoy, a man with unlimited power and influence: so the artist hardly had to fear any persecution. The painting depicts Josefa Tudo, Godoy's mistress and unofficial wife. Godoy was a man of loose morals and a great admirer of painting, and he was happy to show his paintings to his guests.

Maha clothed

There was another ‘decent’ version of the painting where the maha was clothed, but this painting was painted later and was intended to cover the naked maha. Godoy first brought his guests to the painting with the maha clothed, and then, if he could trust the guest, or wished to impress him more, he removed the ‘censored version’, showing the maha in all its glory.

And what variant of the picture you like better - write in the comments.

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