- Inventory number
- Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
- Judith and Holofernes
- Mixed technique
- Wall (transferred to canvas)
- 146 cm x 84 cm
- On display
- Quinta del Sordo, Madrid. Mariano Goya, 1823. Javier Goya, 1833. Mariano Goya, 1854. Segundo Colmenares, 1859. Louis Rodolphe Coumont, 1863. Baron Frédéric Emile d´Erlanger, 1873. Acquisiton for the Prado Museum, 1881/1889
The mural paintings that decorated the house known as “la Quinta del Sordo,” where Goya lived have come to be known as the Black Paintings, because he used so many dark pigments and blacks in them, and also because of their somber subject matter. The private and intimate character of that house allowed the artist to express himself with great liberty. He painted directly on the walls in what must have been mixed technique, as chemical analysis reveals the use of oils in these works.
The Baron Émile d'Erlanger acquired “la Quinta” in 1873 and had the paintings transferred to canvas. The works suffered enormously in the process, losing a large amount of paint. Finally, the Baron donated these paintings to the State, and they were sent to the Prado Museum, where they have been on view since 1889.
This work was located on the wall across from A Manola: Leocadia Zorrilla (P00754) on the ground floor, alongside Saturn devouring his Son (P00763). The subject of Judith was already associated with Saturn in the Renaissance, when biblical themes were coupled with mythological ones. In both cases, they may be related to the fear of losing power, which is what happened to the Assyrian General.
This circumstance, the parallel interpretations, seem to prove that Goya didn't paint the works in “la Quinta del Sordo” without any previous plan.
Despite the multiple explanations offered by art historians, these works continue to be mysterious and enigmatic, yet they present many of the esthetic problems and moral considerations appearing in Goya's works.
The mural paintings from “la Quinta del Sordo” (the Black Paintings), have been determinant in the modern-day consideration of this painter from Aragon. The German Expressionists and the Surrealist movement, as well as representative of other contemporary artistic movements, including literature and even cinema, have seen the origins of modern art in this series of compositions by an aged Goya, isolated in his own world and creating with absolute liberty.