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Goya’s black paintings

Francisco de Goya Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) is one of the greatest Spanish artists of all times. His work includes portraits, history (especially war) scenes, religious subjects, and cartoons. Goya has been the official court portrait painter and painted the portraits of Spanish royalty and nobility, but at the same time painted scenes from daily...

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Goya’s black paintings: Half-submerged dog

Artist Francisco Goya Title Half-submerged dog Year 1819-1823 Technique Mural (later converted to canvas) Current location Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain This is the most enigmatic of all the black paintings. A dog, half submerged (quicksand? or is the dog just standing behind a rim?), gazing into emptiness, and nothing else. The whole painting emanates emptiness, a...

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Goya’s black paintings: Two women and a man

Artist Francisco Goya Title Two women and a man Year 1819-1823 Technique Mural (later converted to canvas) Current location Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain Two women and a man, also known as Two women or Two women laughing, seems to have formed a pair with The reading. Research has shown that in an earlier version of the painting the three people in this painting were...

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Goya’s black paintings: The fates

Artist Francisco Goya Title The fates Year 1819-1823 Technique Mural (later converted to canvas) Current location Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain In classical mythology, the fates are three goddesses that control the thread of life. They are the personifications of destiny (or fate). The first, Clotho, spins the thread of life, the second, Lachesis, controls its length,...

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Goya’s black paintings: Asmodea

Artist Francisco Goya Title Asmodea Year 1819-1823 Technique Mural (later converted to canvas) Current location Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain Asmodea is also known as Asmodeus, Sabbath, or Fantastic vision. It is a strange painting of two people flying through the air. It is unclear who they are, or why they are flying. They have been identified as witches on their way...

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Goya’s black paintings: Pilgrimage to St. Isidore’s well

Artist Francisco Goya Title Pilgrimage to St. Isidore’s well Year 1819-1823 Technique Mural (later converted to canvas) Current location Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain Pilgrimage to St. Isidore’s well is also known as The holy office. The holy office is another name for the inquisition, an institution that had been abolished in 1820, and re-instated in 1823....

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Goya’s black paintings: Heads in a landscape

Artist Francisco Goya Title Heads in a landscape Year 1819-1823 Technique Mural (later converted to canvas) Current location Private collection Fourteen of Goya’s black paintings are on display in the Prado Museum. Many descriptions of the black paintings only include these fourteen paintings. They were painted on the walls of two large rooms of Goya’s house....

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Goya’s black paintings: The reading

Artist Francisco Goya Title The reading Year 1819-1823 Technique Mural (later converted to canvas) Current location Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain The reading, also known as Politicians or Men reading, shows a group of men reading a book, or maybe a newspaper or magazine, that the man in the middle has on his lap. One of them is probably reading aloud, some of the men...

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Goya’s black paintings: Two men fighting with clubs

Artist Francisco Goya Title Two men fighting with clubs Year 1819-1823 Technique Mural (later converted to canvas) Current location Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain Two men fighting with clubs is far brighter than any of the downstairs paintings. The scenery is attractive and peaceful. The blackness of this painting is not in the colours but in the subject matter. That is...

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Goya’s black paintings: Two old people eating

Artist Francisco Goya Title Two old people eating Year 1819-1823 Technique Mural (later converted to canvas) Current location Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain The exact location of Two old people eating in Goya’s house is uncertain. Because of its size (50cm high, 80cm wide) most experts assume it was painted above one of the doors. Whether it was upstairs or...

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Goya’s black paintings: A manola, doña Leocadia Zorilla

Artist Francisco Goya Title A manola, doña Leocadia Zorilla Year 1819-1823 Technique Mural (later converted to canvas) Current location Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain A manola, doña Leocadia Zorilla is also known as A manola or The Leocadia. Manolo (female form manola) is a nickname for an inhabitant of the low quarters of Madrid. The woman on the painting is probably...

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Goya’s black paintings: Pilgrimage to St. Isidore’s hermitage

Artist Francisco Goya Title Pilgrimage to St. Isidore’s hermitage Year 1819-1823 Technique Mural (later converted to canvas) Current location Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain The room downstairs was dominated by two huge paintings (about 4.30 metres wide and 1.40 metres high): The witches’ sabbath or the great he-goat and Pilgrimage to St. Isidore’s...

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