Goya: Turmoils of a Patriot

Goya lived from 1746 to 1828; Douglas Hilt describes how the artist's vigorous work ranges in subject from Court-paintings to the misfortunes of Unreason and War.

‘We are mad, not only individually, but nationally. We check manslaughter and isolated murders; but what of war and the much vaunted crime of slaughtering whole peoples?’

Thus wrote Seneca, the Roman statesman and philosopher, born in Cordoba in southern Spain, and one of the most perceptive writers of the first century AD.

Eighteen centuries later his observations assumed prophetic force during the internecine war provoked by the Napoleonic invasion of Spain in 1808 and, again, during the destructive tragedy of the Civil War of 1936-39.

Seneca knew his people well; but no Spaniard has portrayed the emotions and character of his fellow citizens with such graphic power and penetration as Francisco Goya, court painter and chronicler of man’s darkest recesses.

It is said that his servant once asked him why he recorded the barbarities that men committed. Goya’s reply was: ‘To tell men forever that they should not be barbarians.’

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