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There is no one to help them. Tragic subjects in the graphic art of Francisco Goya

6 November, 2012 г.

In the General Staff Building (Palace square, 6-10) a new exhibition dedicated to the great 18th-19th century Spanish artist Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes was opened. 40 plates of graphic art from the collection of the State Hermitage Museum are presented at the exhibit; engraving from four different series and several drawings made with a lithographic pencil.

A significant number of these pieces belong to Goya’s first graphic series, Los Caprichos (Caprices). This is a cycle of engravings on political, social and religious subjects, in which many of the troubling problems of Spain at that time were reflected: poverty, the power of the inquisition, the darkness of superstition of the people, human vices. All of the plates in this series have subscripts and commentaries, which generally come from Spanish folk sayings, proverbs and songs. In the engravings of this series, tragedy is interwoven with farce, beauty with deformity, the real world with an imaginary one, populated with fantastic images of devils, witches, sorcerers, goats, bats, giant cats, apes, and donkeys and camisoles. This exhibit includes ones of the most famous engravings from the Caprices series, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.

In addition to the engravings, the exhibit includes several of Goya’s drawings. Despite the fact that they do not belong to a particular series, they are united by a common theme, human suffering.

The tragic events which predominate in the work of Francisco Goya in the last period of his life reflected the entire essence of what happened in his homeland. Often approaching exaggeration, allegory and the grotesque, the artist developed his own expressive and emotional language, which helped him to convey the events he witnessed.

The museum works Tuesday- Saturday:
Sunday: 10.30-17.00

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