The Haunting Paintings of Francisco Goya: A Deep Dive into His Dark, Late Works

Back in Octo­ber, we fea­tured the first of a planned series of videos on the “Black Paint­ings” cre­at­ed at the end of Fran­cis­co Goy­a’s life. Last week, the YouTube chan­nel Great Art Explained com­plet­ed the series and rolled them up into a 51-minute doc­u­men­tary, which you can watch above. It comes with this pref­ace from cura­tor James Payne:

In this full-length film, I look at Fran­cis­co Goy­a’s lat­er works. At the age of 46, Goya suf­fered from a severe ill­ness that caused loss of vision and hear­ing, tin­ni­tus, dizzi­ness, right-sides paral­y­sis, weak­ness and gen­er­al malaise. Although he recov­ered from a cere­bral stroke which accom­pa­nied it, he went com­plete­ly deaf. From this point on his work took a dark­er tone.

To under­stand Fran­cis­co Goy­a’s Black Paint­ings, we need to under­stand how he went from a pop­u­lar well-loved roy­al por­trait artist to paint­ing deeply dis­turb­ing imagery on the bare walls of his house in total iso­la­tion.

His dark­er work was nev­er real­ly seen in his life­time. His series of etch­ings known as Los Capri­chos was with­drawn from pub­lic sale for fear of attack by the Inqui­si­tion, and his deeply pes­simistic ‘Dis­as­ters of War’ was so grue­some and rad­i­cal it had to wait until his death to be pub­lished. Even his mas­ter­piece, The Third of May 1808, was cen­sored by the king and hid­den away.

His wife and most of his friends were dead and he had become iso­lat­ed. He was 73-years old, sick, and com­plete­ly deaf. His long life was com­ing to a close… BUT he wasn’t fin­ished yet. The man who had once paint­ed cru­ci­fix­ions, mir­a­cles, saints, and priests, now paint­ed ter­ri­fy­ing, demon­ic, raw and bru­tal works – works with­out even a hint of God.

His last years were spent in iso­la­tion secret­ly cre­at­ing some of the most hor­rif­ic images in West­ern art, The Black Paint­ings.

Using footage from my ear­li­er short films, Goya Part 1 and Goya Part 2, I have added about 25 min­utes of new footage to make this full-length film.

For more videos from Great Art Explained, vis­it their chan­nel here.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent

The Most Dis­turb­ing Paint­ing: A Close Look at Fran­cis­co Goya’s Sat­urn Devour­ing His Son

Euro­pean Paint­ings: From Leonar­do to Rem­brandt to Goya — A Free Online Course from the Uni­ver­si­dad Car­los III de Madrid (UC3M)

Art Lovers Rejoice! New Goya and Rem­brandt Data­bas­es Now Online

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.