30 de junho de 2011

Francisco Goya y Lucientes - Saturn

                                                              Saturn - 1821-23
                                                 Prado Museum - Madrid, Spain

In 1819, Francisco Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) bought a house west of Madrid called the “Quinta del Sordo” (“Villa of the Deaf Man”). A previous owner of the house was deaf, and the name remained apt as Goya himself had lost his hearing in his mid-forties. The artist painted directly on to the plaster walls of the Quinta the series of phychologically brooding images popularly known as the Black Paintings (1819-23). They were not intended to be shown to the public, and only later were the pictures lifted from the walls, transferred to canvas, and deposited in the Prado Museum. The haunting Saturn illustrates the myth of the Roman god Saturn who, fearing that his children would overthrow him, ate them. Taking the myth as a starting point, the painting may be about God’s wrath, the conflit between old age and youth, or Saturn as Time devouring all things. Goya, by then in his seventies and having survived two life-threatening illness, is likely to have been anxious about his own mortality. The artist may have been inspired by Peter Paul Rubens ’s Baroque portrayal of the myth, Saturn Devouring His Son (1636). Rubens' painting, also held at the Museo del Prado, is a brighter, more conventional treatment of the myth: his Saturn exhibits less of the cannibalistic ferocity portrayed in Goya's rendition. Goya’s version, with its restricted palette and looser style, is much darker in all senses. The god’s wide-eyed stare suggests madness and paranoia, and disturbingly he seems unselfcounscious in carrying out his horrific act. However, some critics have suggested that Rubens' portrayal is the more horrific: the god is portrayed as a calculating remorseless killer, who – fearing for his own position of power – murders his innocent child. Goya's vision, on the other hand, shows a man driven mad by the act of killing his own son. In addition, the body of the son in Goya's picture is that of an adult, not the helpless baby depicted by Rubens. There is also evidence to show that in the original image Saturn had a partially erect phallus. In 1823 Goya moved to Bordeaux. After a brief return to Spain, he went back to France, where he died in 1828.
Source: Wikipedia, Karen Morden, Steven Polimood, net

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