Judith in Blue Velvet

06 Aug

Not really Blue Velvet.  I just could not think of another title and I wanted to see it there were any David Lynch fans out there.

Francisco de Goya, “Judith,” 1824-1825, private collection

Compared to all the Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces, this seems very crude.  Would you believe the same artist was responsible for this painting as well?

Francisco de Goya, “Don Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuniga,” 1788, oil on canvas, 127 x 101.6 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA

I would not have guessed it.   But the vastly differing styles reveals what can happen over a lifetime.

Francisco de Goya was a Spanish court painter for Charles III and Charles IV, but his best work was done apart from his official duties.   He painted charming portraits — as shown here — but he is known for scenes of violence prompted by the horrors of the Napoleonic invasion of Spain.

Francisco de Goya,”The Third of May,” 1814, oil on canvas, 266 × 345 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

Goya was neutral during the fighting although he did accept commissions for French patrons and sympathizers.  When Ferdinand VII returned to Spain in 1814, Goya returned to painting portraits of the court but he was shunned by the king himself.    At an earlier time, a serious illness caused Goya to go deaf, became withdrawn and introspective — and his lowered position at court did not help.   To isolate himself, in 1819 he bought a country house just outside of Madrid, known as the Quinta del Sordo (roughly, “House of the Deaf Man” for the previous owner).

It was during this time that de Goya chose Judith as his subject twice.  This is the lesser known of his portrayals.   As crude and harsh as this appears — with the characters roughly drawn and absence of physical or emotional detail — it is lighter and less disturbing than Goya’s other works at in this time.

And THAT is another post.

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Posted by on August 6, 2011 in Gory


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