Inventory number
P00762
Author
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
Title
Two Old Men Eating
Chronology
1820 - 1823
Technique
Mixed technique
Support
Wall (transferred to canvas)
Dimensions
49,3 cm x 83,4 cm
School
Spanish
Theme
Genre and Society
On display
Yes
Provenance
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.

Despite being smaller than the other paintings in this series, the present work is intensely expressive. It is also one of the best-preserved of the whole group. The person on the right appears to have a skull for a head, which led the scene to be associated with the subject of death. But other authors think it is an allegory of gluttony.

This is one of the most problematical of the Black Paintings from the standpoint of its location in “la Quinta del Sordo,” although Brugada described it as being on the ground floor.

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.

 
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