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Category: Goya en la Literatura Page 2 of 3

The Audacity of Looking. ANTONIO MUÑOZ MOLINA. • G&L3

The Audacity of Looking. ANTONIO MUÑOZ MOLINA.



In the catalogue of the exhibition Goya and The Modern World, Antonio Muñoz Molina writes an article entitled The audacity of Looking. The same title is published by GalaxIa Gutenberg which includes also others devoted to artists such as Hopper, Picasso, Schad, Genovés… writes carried out over 20 years.


I must confess a peculiar sympathy for the author of Beatus ille, the first novel I read. But also, my admiration for the moral courage of this writer who has denounced as many times and in various ways the impoverished and numb culture of this country. I also enjoyed his great articles on art, artists and exhibitions published in El País newspaper, in a passionate and deep tone; the tone of a spectator in love, I would say, to denote not only a lover of art but a man who knows how to look, that has learned to look. In that “job” his training teachers have been Pierre Francastel, G. C. Argan, Gombrich, Panofsky.

Muñoz Molina speaks loud and clear, with the dignity that entails taking party, therefore, CAN write about Goya as he did so.


Molina tells us about the act of looking, how to look without wanting to see, to look denying what you see, look and hide the look… The ferocious events of each day makes people get used to the horror when is “far”, but also denying its reality, a show that happens on TV…

Molina says: “Goya is not domestic or nobody trivializes him. The anaesthetic of “familiarity” does not act on him and “Disasters” shall not be understood as an assertion of authenticity in the testimony of something that would have happened as it is rendered, but as a statement of principles”.

Much later the photography bore witness to an undeniable truth: this was, this happened, here it is the proof.


“The look implies political and moral consequences… The explicit function of an immense amount of stories and images, nowadays as in the time of Goya, is hiding and lying”.

“It’s not that Goya looks without taking part. Testifies what men do to each other”, …”or you look or not. If you only tells a part of the truth you are lying”.


These texts, which have perhaps gone somewhat unnoticed given the magnitude of the Exhibition in number and quality of the works, deserve our attention, especially today, when barbarism is news of each day.


S. Pagliano.

Seamus Heaney • G&L2

Goya in Literature.2
January 2015

In our section dedicated to Goya in Literature we present this second episode, devoted to a great Irish poet, perhaps not too widespread in Spain, with a difficult reading by its erudition and its complexity alike but of a high poetic flight. Heir of the great poets like Ted Hughes, Patrick Kavanagh and Robert Frost. Goya now brings us to his figure and his work.

SEAMUS HEANEY was born in Derry County, Northern Ireland, in 1939. He was a professor at Harvard and Oxford. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. He died in Dublin on August 30th 2013.

Vast is the poetic work of Heaney, but here we will only refer to his book North, a landmark in the whole of his work book. And more precisely to the poem ‘Summer of 1969’.

In the foreword of the book, Margarita Ardanaz, to who is due the translation, says: “…Be Irish and Ulster conditions, without a doubt, any artist’s career. Be proud of one of the oldest and most successful of the Indo-European world literary traditions and, at the same time, joining England from the point of view of the political administration, education and language is one of the conflicts which, in a recurrent way, appear in his work. ”

“…North is the emblem, summarized in a unique and unambiguous word, of at least three fundamental aspects in the history of Great Britain: the North always indomitable, brave, industrial and working-class where both the religious radicalism and trade unionists and labour movements have settled; the Danish North of the British Islands, influenced by the culture of the Nordic-German people and colonised by the relentless Vikings warriors; the North, i.e., Ulster, of an Ireland divided against the will and the heart of many”.

Violence, love and death are always present. Poetics and politics, past and present constitute the plot of his language. About an extraordinary lyricism are his poems dedicated to his mother, his friends, his beloved, to the land, the Nature highlighted. The marshes, the peat, the marsh, the swamp, the traditions (the betrothal of Cavehill). Heaney kneads his poems with the material of childhood, of rural areas, in the poem ‘The Seed Cutters, he says…

“They seem hundreds of years away. Brueghel,

You’ll know them if I can get them true…”

Margarita Ardanaz continues: “…”Highlights in this book text inspired in archaeological finds, especially persons mummified in mobs of slough, in which the poet update the past and links centuries and the flow with his own life, both sentimental and intellectually”.

The bloodshed, The Violent Deaths without Revenge, The Archaeologies in Belderg, Funeral Rites, Bone Dreams, Bog Queen, The Grauballe men, Strange Fruit, Punishment, belonging to the first part of the book.


In the second part gets fully in politics and the conflict in Ulster.


The Unacknowledged Legislator´s Dream

“…My wronged people cheer from their cages”.


Whatever You Say, Say Nothing

“…The “voice of sanity” is getting hoarse…”

IV “…This morning from a dewy motorway

I saw the new camp for the interness:

A bomb had left a crater of fresh clay

In the roadside, and over in the trees

Machine-gun posts defined a real stockade….”



Under the heading ‘School of Singing’, threre are in this second part of the book memorable poems where Heaney put naked the violence, police repression and fear.


  1. The Ministry Of Fear

“…Ulster was British, but with no rights on

The English lyric: all around us, though

We haden´t named it, the ministery of fear.”


And we arrived in Summer of 1969

The Spanish translation is by Vicente Forés and Jenaro Talens, posted in ‘Opened ground. Poetic Anthology (1966-1996)’, by Seamus Heaney, Visor Libros, Madrid, 2004



While the Constabulary covered the mob

Firing into the Falls, I was suffering

Only the bullying sun of Madrid.

Each afternoon, in the casserole heat

Of the flat, as I sweated my way throug

The life of Joyce, stinks from the fishmarket

Rose like the reek off a flux-dam.

At night on the balcony, gules of wine,

A sense of children in their dark corners,

Old women in black shawls near open windows,

The air a canyon rivering in Spanish.

We talked our way home over starlit plains

Where patent leather of the Guardia Civil

Gleamed like fish-bellies in flax-poisoned waters.


‘Go back;’ one said, ‘try to touch the people.’

Another conjured Lorca from his hill.

We sat through death-counts and bullfight reports

On the television, celebrities

Arrived from where the real thing still happened.


I retreated to the cool of the Prado.

Goya’s ‘Shootings of the Third of May’

Covered a wall – the thrown-up arms

And spasm of the rebel, the helmeted

And knapsacked military, the efficient

Rake of the fusillade. In the next room,

His nightmares, grafted to the palace wall

Dark cyclones, hosting, breaking; Saturn

Jewelled in the blond of his own children,


Gigantic Chaos turning his brute hips

Over the world. Also, that holmgang

Where two berserks club each other to death

For honour’s sake, greaved in a bog, and sinking.


He painted with his fists and elbows, flourished

The stained cape of his heart as history charged.


*Falls Road: it is a Belfast Street famous for its status as dividing line between the Protestant and the Catholic area. (Notes to the translation)

With this poem we approach to the figure of Goya and his painting through the voice of a poet for whom the word was a campaign (the voice that reverberates and expanded), a poet committed to his country and its people, with the man’s struggle for freedom.


Silvia Pagliano

Goya in Literature

We inaugurate a section dedicated to Goya in Literature. It is not to list or quote here all the books about Goya that critics, historians of art, psychiatrists, sociologists, writers and various specialists have dedicated themselves to the work of the artist.

Fiction and poetry literature have also dealt with it. In 2003 the Anagrama Publishing House and the writer Pierre Michon agreed to publish in a single volume of the stories inspired by painters, Watteau, Piero della Francesca, Van Gogh, Claudio de Lorena and Don Francisco de Goya, this under the title ‘God no ends’.

They are stories of a lover of painting and painters, a poet in love with art that recreates, imagine and fly through real and also fictional character. It is a dazzling, rich, exciting book above all. All the superlatives have already been applied to the prose of Michon, today considered as the greatest French writer. The experience of its reading is necessary and unforgettable.

Silvia Pagliano

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