Goya, the portraits

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Above: María Antonia Gonzaga, Marchioness widow of Villafranca 1795 by Francisco Goya (1746-1828). An example of the character and intensity Goya got into his work. Not to mention the fashionably frizzed hair style of the time. This is a woman to be reckoned with.

This exhibition, in London’s National Gallery till 10th January 2016, far exceeded my expectations, and is a must-see.  As a demonstration of Goya’s ability to bring individuality and depth to each portrait it was fantastic. I loved browsing around the panoply of characters from punchable windbags, fiery independent noblewomen to thuggish royalty all rendered almost palpably alive. He reserved his most unflinching eye for his closest friends and even his much-loved son.

His several self-portraits pull no punches. I loved this crabby faced Self Portrait (1795-7) which must be the glowering sight of the people who sat for him.

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I think the pack of cards on the table of The family of the Infante Don Luis (1783) below was a tarot pack. One of the cards showing was The World (the exhibition notes did not notice this) which made sense for me of varying emotions of the people drawn into the magnetic field created by Don Luis and his wife. Goya painted himself into the lower left in the shadows.

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An excellent exhibition, that helps us see Goya afresh.

About Peter Kenny

I lead a double life. Identity #1. A writer of poems, plays, libretti, prose, journalism and so on. Identity #2: A marketing outlier, working with London creative agencies and my own clients as a copywriter and creative consultant.
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