Goya Portraits

We went to Goya: The Portraits.   It was a strange sensation seeing portraits so apparently lacking in artifice, so direct and humane, showing sitters in ways which are ostensibly unflattering, which they not only tolerated but admired, beginning with his great group portrait of The Family of the Infante Don Luis de Borbón, where Don Lois is old and grumpy while his wife is having her hair done.   Goya painted for a relatively small group of inter-related liberal aristocrats.   He painted their face first, then dashed in their clothes at speed back in the studio.   Great group portraits.   We liked the Self Portrait with the hat which he put candles in to finish off the highlights. And the last Self Portrait, which shows him with his doctor, Eugenio Arrieta, who was responsible for his survival.

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2 thoughts on “Goya Portraits

  1. edward chaney says:

    The portraits show prompted me to wonder how great Goya really was, though he improves with age (and suffering); the fine self-portrait with his doctor inspired Kitaj’s equivalent sketch of himself being nursed by his beloved Sandra (The Green Blanket, 1978). Is Kitaj that inferior to Goya? Certainly the late-lamented Dame Brian R. Sewell (as Kitaj called him) was rudely wrong to dismiss him in the way he did: http://emajartjournal.com/2013/11/30/edward-chaney-r-b-kitaj-1932-2007-warburgian-artist/.

  2. Dear Edward, I hadn’t seen your article and enjoyed it very much. Not least, I hadn’t known that Michael Podro’s father was himself a Judaic scholar, Joshua Podroznic. It occurs to me in reading the article that perhaps the reason why Gombrich so disliked his portrait by Kitaj was precisely because it showed him as the Jewish scholar he was. It’s hard to beat Goya’s drawing of Wellington fresh from the battlefield.

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