A Fight at the Venta Nueva

In 1787 Villanueva presented to the King for his approval a mahogany, lemon wood, walnut and pine model for the building to house the Natural Sciences Cabinet, later the Museo del Prado. Ten years later, in 1795, Gaetano Merchi, an exile from the French Revolution, sculpted the fi nest known portrait of Goya, its simplicity and directness refl ecting the artist’s own nature. In contrast, the painter's Self-portrait has the analytical gaze and tousled hair of the proto-Romantic artist-genius. Preliminary sketches, cabinet paintings and small portraits are shown under natural light from the lantern, symbolising the Enlightenment and paying tribute to this force of nature that makes reality visible and which Goya perfectly controlled. Fight at the Cock Inn, a study for the tapestry cartoon of 1777, is the earliest work in a project for the royal residences that would occupy twenty years of his life. The memorable Pradera de San Isidro and the innovative scene of a mason of 1786-87 conclude these unique series of designs for tapestries, which Goya used to refl ect on human nature. They were also the starting point for his non-commissioned works such as the series of paintings on tin plates of 1793 that includes The Travelling Players, an amusing satire on the Ancien Régime. The playful scene of the Duchess of Alba and the allegories of witches are of a similar type. Goya’s religious paintings range from exquisite devotional compositions to the preliminary study for Saint Justa and Saint Rufina. An outstanding portraitist, he conveys the eff ects of large-scale works pared down to their essential expression in two tiny, round portraits on copper depicting the mother and elder daughter of the Goicoechea family, his in-laws.

Ministerio de Cultura. Gobierno de España; abre en ventana nueva
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