Exhibition | Goya’s Graphic Imagination

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on January 23, 2021

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Giant Seated in a Landscape (detail), by 1818, burnished aquatint with scraping and strokes of ‘lavis’ added along the top of the landscape and within the landscape; plate: 28.4 × 20.8 cm (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 35.42).

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Opening next month at The Met:

Goya’s Graphic Imagination
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 12 February — 2 May 2021

Regarded as one of the most remarkable artists from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Francisco Goya (1746–1828) is renowned for his prolific activity as a draftsman and printmaker, producing about nine hundred drawings and three hundred prints during his long career. Through his drawings and prints, he expressed his political liberalism, criticism of superstition, and distaste for intellectual oppression in unique and compelling ways. This exhibition will explore Goya’s graphic imagination and how his drawings and prints allowed him to share his complex ideas and respond to the turbulent social and political changes occurring in the world around him. The broadly chronological presentation will follow Goya’s evolution and different phases as a graphic artist as well as his approaches to his subjects. Around one hundred works on display will come mainly from The Met collection—one of the most outstanding collections of Goya’s drawings and prints outside Spain—with other works coming from New York, Boston, and Madrid’s Museo Nacional del Prado and the Biblioteca Nacional.

The catalogue is distributed by Yale University Press:

Mark McDonald, with contributions by Mercedes Ceron-Pena, Francisco J. R. Chaparro, and Jesusa Vega, Goya’s Graphic Imagination (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art , 2021), 320 pages, ISBN: 978-1588397140, $50.

This book presents the first focused investigation of Francisco Goya’s (1746–1828) graphic output. Spanning six decades, Goya’s works on paper reflect the transformation and turmoil of the Enlightenment, the Inquisition, and Spain’s years of constitutional government. Two essays, a detailed chronology, and more than 100 featured artworks illuminate the remarkable breadth and power of Goya’s drawings and prints, situating the artist within his historical moment. The selected pieces document the various phases and qualities of Goya’s graphic work—from his early etchings after Velázquez through print series such as the Caprichos and The Disasters of War to his late lithographs, The Bulls of Bordeaux, and including albums of drawings that reveal the artist’s nightmares, dreams, and visions.

Mark McDonald is curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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