"We cannot send 'The Dog' to the museum basement because it was on the apparently nonexisting second floor of the Quinta."
November 8, 2012 7:26 PM   Subscribe

The Black Paintings is the title given to a series of works by Spanish artist Francisco Goya painted directly on the walls of his house from 1819-23. Their provenance has been doubted much like that of The Colossus, which has recently been attributed to Goya's assistant. Either way, the Black Paintings are masterpieces and have pride of place in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, which has put them all online in high resolution (you can save images to your computer in high resolution). [Goya previously]
posted by Kattullus (9 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I studied Spanish in Madrid two years ago. Seeing The Dog in person was practically a religious experience. It hangs directly opposite the door into the Black Paintings' gallery. After I saw it, I went to the Prado as much as I could, and it still didn't feel like enough.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:36 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I greedily stuffed Goya and El Greco in my eye-holes at the Prado and I know exactly what you mean about it being a religious experience. I felt high as a fucking kite, like it wasn't really happening.

Thanks for this post, K, it's awesome.
posted by fleetmouse at 7:43 PM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it was odd that the one you seem to see most often just in general art discussion is Saturn, but man, The Dog. The black mass one is pretty freaky too.
posted by LionIndex at 8:13 PM on November 8, 2012

I knew next to nothing about Goya when I visited the Prada a few years ago. I had just received crushing news from home in the States and was near despair. When I stumbled into the the Goya room it was, as Rustic Etruscan but it, practically religious. And yes, it was The Dog that caught me; that is what I was feeling. I could have gazed on it all day. Such comfort in knowing someone had felt what I was felt, and shared it with the world.
posted by wanderingstan at 9:15 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

The "has been doubted" link tells an excellent story.

But I don't understand why I keep seeing "The Dog" described with the dog staring into space. There clearly is a man there (who isn't clearly there). But definitely not (empty) space. That said, The Dog is beautiful, and stands out from the rest in a way that hints at a longing, a softening and a wont that is, to me, quite unlike the rest of The Black Paintings.

"The Black Paintings decorated the walls of the Quinta del Sordo, or ''House of the Deaf Man,'' which Goya purchased in February 1819. (Although Goya was deafened by a near-fatal malady that struck in 1792, the house already bore this name when he bought it.)"

Chills at the thought of purchasing a house with a name that would later become your fate.

And here's a list of The Black Paintings, for posterity (reformatted, from Wikipedia):
  1. Saturno devorando a su hijo, Saturn Devouring His Son, 1819-1823
  2. Átropos/Las Parcas, Atropos (The Fates), 1819-1823
  3. El Gran Cabrón/Aquelarre, Witches' Sabbath, 1819-1823
  4. Duelo a garrotazos, Fight with Cudgels, 1819-1823
  5. Dos viejos comiendo sopa, Two Old Men Eating Soup, 1819-1823
  6. Vision fantástica/Asmodea, Fantastic Vision, 1819-1823
  7. La romería de San Isidro, A Pilgrimage to San Isidro, 1819-1823
  8. El perro, The Dog, 1819-1823
  9. Dos viejos/Un viejo y un fraile, Two Old Men, 1819-1823
  10. Hombres leyendo, Men Reading, 1819-1823
  11. Judith y Holofernes, Judith and Holofernes, 1819-1823
  12. Mujeres riendo, Women Laughing, 1819-1823
  13. Peregrinación a la fuente de San Isidro/Procesión del Santo Oficio, Procession of the Holy Office, 1819-1823
  14. Una manola/La Leocadia, Leocadia, 1819-1823
  15. Cabezas en un paisaje, (Possibly the fifteenth Black Painting)
Out of curiosity, who named these paintings?
posted by iamkimiam at 1:54 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

"There is not a single contemporary painter in the world that does not pray in front of The Dog". - Manuel Mena

I can think of a few who haven't paid the homage that they should to Goya's Dog. But for my money, it's one of the most heartbreakingingly poignant and fearless works of art ever made.
posted by Hickeystudio at 4:02 AM on November 9, 2012

I ran into an exhibition of Goya prints a few years ago, maybe at the museum at SMU or maybe at the Blanton, and have been fascinated by him ever since. I went to the Prado as a teenager, but I think I was too young to appreciate him.

On the subject of modern artists influenced by Goya, I give you Yinka Shonibare, some of whose work specifically engages Goya. I saw one of the paintings mentioned in the link along with the Goya print that inspired it and it blew my mind.
posted by immlass at 7:48 AM on November 9, 2012

I kind of wonder if "El Gran Cabron" isn't some wicked Spanish pun. One of the English titles is "The Goat" in translation, but "cabron" also translates to "bastard", while "cabra" is the typical word for goat (see: chupacabra, "sucks goat").
posted by LionIndex at 8:50 AM on November 9, 2012

> (you can save images to your computer in high resolution)

Judit y Holofernes.jpg came down as 1629 x 2952. That's not quite google-artproj hi res but is still very very good. There's lots of other Goya stuff there, also saveable in hi res. Such as the Cuaderno italiano sketchbook and other drawings, which excites me a wholebigbunch. It's generally harder to find best-quality digital copies of drawings online, compared to the availability of paintings.

Saludamos, Prado. Really nice to see some major institutions coming over from the dark side on the digital reproduction issue. Oh, and thanks v. much to Katullus for the link!
posted by jfuller at 10:50 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

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