News & Publications
Goya's "Los Caprichos" Exhibition at St. John's Mitchell Gallery
FOR RELEASE: September 12, 2008
CONTACT: Patricia Dempsey 410-626-2539
Francisco Goya (1746-1818) is considered to be one of the first masters of modern art. His largest graphic work, "Los Caprichos," is a testimony to his artistic eye, technical capability, and understanding of man's physical and psychological demons. A new exhibition, "Los Caprichos by Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes" at the Mitchell Gallery features select aquatint prints. The exhibit, which is from Contemporary and Modern Print Exhibitions, will be on view from October 25-December 17. The Opening Reception and Family Program will be on November 2. Classical guitarist William Feasley will perform "Echoes of Goya," a multimedia presentation on Goya's life and his impact on generations of composers, in the Great Hall, at 3 p.m. A reception in Francis Scott Key lobby will follow.
The images for "Los Caprichos," which were published in 1799, first appeared to Goya as a dream when he was 51 as depicted in the print, "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters." These "fantasies" or "whims" as the word "caprichos" implies are masterful political, anti-clerical and allegorical prints that reflect Goya's life and milieu as a court painter in 18th-century Spain.
"The world is a masquerade. Looks, dress, voice, everything is only pretension. Everyone wants to appear to be what he is not. Everyone is deceiving, and no one ever knows himself," Goya wrote in the "Prado Manuscript" text to plate 6 of "Los Caprichos" (1799).
Although the etchings deal with themes related to the Spanish Inquisition, the corruption of the church and the nobility, witchcraft, child rearing, avarice, and the frivolity of young women, they also convey the suppressed passions of a lifetime of rages, hatreds, and injustices Goya had sustained or observed over the years. There is no distinction between reality and fantasy in these works. In almost every plate monsters float in the air or crouch on the ground and the various grotesques are sometimes carried off, torn, or treated in sport. Surprisingly, publication of "Los Caprichos" did not affect Goya's standing at the court. By this time he had been given the title "First Painter to the King."
His subject matter serves as commentary of the tumultuous events of his times. Goya's Spain was a declining naval and colonial power, dominated by the Inquisition, a movement that suppressed economic, social, and political progress. Despite a brief period of rejuvenation brought on by the French Enlightenment, Spain's government collapsed upon the death of Charles III in 1788. Then came the French Revolution, followed by more unrest as France invaded Spain.
Exhibited Related Events for "Los Caprichos":
November 2 Opening Reception and Family Program. Classical guitarist William Feasley will perform "Echoes of Goya," a multimedia presentation on Goya's life and his impact on generations of composers, in the Great Hall, at 3 p.m. A reception in Francis Scott Key lobby will follow.
November 11 OR November 19 Local artist and poet Ebby Malmgren and St. John's College tutor Louis Petrich will lead an exhibit-related seminar, "Monsters in the Sleep of Reason," in the gallery, at 7 p.m. Space is limited; the reading may be purchased from the college bookstore. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Call 410-626-2556.
November 16 Gallery Talk. Art educator Lucinda Edinberg will give a gallery talk on "Los Caprichos" exhibition, at 3 p.m.
November 18 Lecture. Dr. Janis Tomlinson, director of University Museums at the University of Delaware and an eminent Goya scholar, will lecture on "Los Caprichos" exhibition, at 5:30 p.m.