Goya highlights on show in Barcelona exhibition

‘The Clothed Maja’, ‘the Quitasol’, ‘the Puppet’ or the ‘Witches Flight’ are some of the canvases included in the largest retrospective exhibition on Goya organised in Barcelona in the last 35 years. Held at the Catalan capital’s CaixaForum, the exhibition ‘Goya. Lights and Shadows’ is organised by the social work foundation of the Catalan bank La Caixa and the Prado Museum. 96 pieces of the Aragon master’s work, including oil paintings, drawings and picture cards, will be on display for free until May 24th.


March 15, 2012 11:20 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- Most of Goya’s master pieces are in Barcelona in the largest exhibition of the Aragon’s master work organised in the Catalan capital in the last 35 years. The Clothed Maja’, ‘the Quitasol’, ‘the Puppet’ or the ‘Witches Flight’ are some of the Goya highlights that are included in the exhibition held in Barcelona’s CaixaForum, running from this Thursday until May 24th. ‘Goya. Lights and shadows’ is organised by the Catalan savings bank ‘La Caixa’ and Madrid’s Prado Museum, where these works are normally kept. 96 Goya works will be on show in Barcelona: 27 oil paintings, 44 drawings, 23 picture cards, and 2 letters. They are displayed in chronological order and explain Francisco Goya’s main periods of work.   

The exhibition is divided into 15 different spaces, which present different visual speeches that analyse the main themes the Spanish artist explored throughout his life, in the late 18th and early 19th century. The first space is called ‘I am like this’ and analyses his self-portrait. Another space is ‘Invention and execution’, which is formed by 7 picture cards, the cardboard work for tapestries that focused on popular themes and the lifestyle of the time; the famous ‘the Quitasol’ is among the works on display. A third area is ‘Lies and inconstancy’, which analyses the image of women in Goya’s painting. ‘The Clothed Maja’, ‘the Puppet’ or ‘Youngster Sweeping’ are part of this area. A fourth room focuses on the master’s ‘Caprichos’, called ‘Caricatures, dreams and caprices’, which displays 4 drawings and 3 picture cards from this famous series.

Another space with ‘Caprichos’ is ‘Hell gang’, which shows 3 picture cards and one drawing, including the ‘Witches Flight’. In ‘Kings and below’, Goya’s effort to grasp the character’s psychology is explored, with a series of portraits, such, ‘Carlos IV, in red’ and ‘Don Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos’. Another room is devoted to ‘Fatal Consequences’, and it shows drawings from the series ‘War Disasters’. It is followed by ‘Disgraces Fair’, in which the ‘Veal Race’ is shown. Some of the other spaces are ‘Bad dreams’, with drawings from the C Album; ‘Condemn and Devotion’ with examples of a religious Goya; ‘Lucidity in the darkness’ with drawings from the ‘Nonsense’ series; ‘Grotesque Fables’ with 5 drawings from his Bordeaux G Album; and, ‘Fun and Violence’ with 5 drawings from the H Album. Finally, the exhibition ends with ‘I’m still learning’, showing one of his self-portraits (from 1815) and the drawing ‘I’m still learning’.

The exhibition has been created by two of the world’s main experts on Goya, who are also the curators: Manuela B. Mena, Conservation Head of Goya and 18th century painting at the Prado Museum, and José Manuel Matilla, Head of the Drawings and Picture Cards Department, also at the Prado. Matilla explained that ‘Goya. Lights and Shadows’ “is not an anthological exhibition”. He added that it includes not only oil canvas but also drawings, picture cards and letters.

Mena emphasised that Goya’s technique reaches a top level in its execution; clarifying that Goya was not a technique virtuoso, but he was absolutely singular. She said that Goya has been declared “the father of almost everything”, such as impressionism, surrealism, expressionism, and romanticism. However, she disagrees about Goya’s influence on impressionism, but not about the other artistic movements, as “Goya’s style is very wide”. For instance, she pointed out that there are many similarities between Goya and Delacroix. Precisely Barcelona’s CaixaForum is also organising an exhibition on Delacroix at the same time.