Blog sobre Francisco de Goya. Espacio de amistad que aglutine a todos aquellos amigos de Goya o de lo que representa Goya, a la manera de un club on line.

Real Goya

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Copy and invention

There are countless artists who express how important and influential Goya is, or has been, in his career; the inspiration that comes from him; how much they owe and how are identified with his legacy. This inevitably happens with all those artists who come to Fuendetodos; a small village located 44 kilometres from Zaragoza, in which for family economy reasons came to be born Francisco de Goya, but a month later the whole family resided again in Zaragoza.

Thus, Goya is very influential. There is no doubt of it. If an actor says considered heir, others are not those to doubt even his intentions or the effects on anyone. Is there any chance where we can believe more in others than each one in particular of himself and his works?

Another different matter, however, is to analyse with greater or less depth the artistic work of everyone and verify that indeed there is -let’s say- a father-son relationship not only in intention, but also in the final result.




That Picasso considers heir to Velázquez is physically and mentally tested with his study of Las Meninas. It does not doubt that the Picasso’s black time is, among others, in that wave. Therefore, as stated by David Silvester, analytic Cubism developed Picasso in a searcher, not a discoverer. That the result to the large audience likes more or less is a separate topic; but influence there is and in addition is manifest and analytically evident, also from the creative point of view.

There are however a good number of artists showing heirs of Goya but of whom we cannot remember in their careers any creative interest moment. We can warn so works “inspired” by Goya and his work, but naturally cannot be honestly described but simple imitation of Goya’s style or way, or mere copies made with luck or misfortune. It depends on.

And it is curious that the tremendous power of Goya has not conquered after-effects that mostly non-verbal manifestations, but not a noteworthy art. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. For example, I see Goya’s influence by origin theme, -The Disasters of War- on a Picasso painting his Guernica which also Goya’s ‘Black Paintings’ may be found inside…




To copy is good and interesting for learning… If it is done right. It is better a good copy than a bad original. And this in drawing, architecture, painting, sculpture and other arts. In fact, since the creation of the Academy, the copy is regarded as important in the formation of different artistic specialties, being useful complement in the academic program because it is not so easy to copy well. At the end and after a good copy, make mannerism of the orthodox and finish with the originality of those who are gifted and show it. We are all heirs to someone. The positive side of the issue is that “someone” be effective educator and certainly worthwhile as a useful reference. And, of course, his teaching “fall” on fertile ground.

And without wanting to be exhaustive even there is another interesting consideration, says Adrian Stokes: I would say -he says- that modern art, traditional art of our time is, let’s say it this way, the jargon of the art as a whole: its relationship with the old masters is analogous to what slang is having with ordinary language.

So is seen by the clear majority of artists who come to Goya and thus understand it before admitting the influence of the great master. Thing that to the citizen means strange, difficult to appreciate and away from their reality. But even in the case of many artists then that knowledge take them to produce anything worthy to be qualified as significant. There are always exceptions, of course.


Gonzalo de Diego

A visit not to be missed

In the large cities of art are precisely the major museums that characterize them, like the Marmotan, the Gustave Moreau and many others in Paris, or the Philips Collection in Washington, the Van Gogh in Amsterdam, the Vasamuseet in Stockholm, the Frick Collection in New York, the Mauritshuis in The Hague, the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, the Sagrada Familia and Gaudí’s works in Barcelona or the emblematic Wallace Collection in London. That kind of museums and places where to spend between one and three hours to visit nothing tiring, to get to know their particularism art funds with calm and affability. Amazing museums that are rara avis for being small in dimension, but very large in nobility, as well as amazing and admirable for other reasons.



In Madrid, there is one of the most comprehensive, unique and select from Spain: Museum and Foundation Lázaro Galdiano. Mr. José Lázaro Galdiano was born in Beire (a humble small-town in the Middle Navarre, in the lands of Olite) in 1862 and died in Madrid in 1947. Financial, businessman and intellectual, art collector, bibliophile, publisher and owner together with his spouse of an immense fortune.

The Museum and the Foundation are all a hard to avoid admiring remembrance towards Mr. José Lázaro Galdiano, whose rich art collections can be seen in what was his private house. The Foundation was established one year after his death and in the Palace of Parque Florido (Flowery Park), named like that in honour of his spouse, Mrs. Paula Florido y Toledo (1856-1932) was settled after a deep reform, establishing which is possibly the best private collection of Spain. Display only a part of twelve thousand and five hundred pieces that compose it, in new museology, with refurbished last generation exhibition media and LED lighting.




This way is the Museum conceived nowadays as a true docent establishment in which be delighted in its vast repertoire. For the potential visitor is recommended to review in advance the Museum website:

European art (Italian, Flemish, German, Dutch, English and French schools), Spanish art (15th-19th centuries) and Cabinet of the Collector (weapons, enamels, ivories, bronze, silver, ceramics, textile, etc.)


Aguafuerte y Aguatinta




And as it could not be less in an Spanish collection so numerous and located in Madrid, Goya is very well represented, with eight paintings (Magdalena Penitent, The Flagellants, Unequal Marriage, The Burial Of Christ, The Coven, The Sorcery, The Era, etc.) and with nothing less than 976 stamped works on paper, among which there is to be marked all his graphic work and a more than remarkable representation of lithographed prints, as the known as ‘The Reading’ edited in the Lithographic Establishment of the Hydrographic Deposit of Madrid and four lithographs known as ‘The Bulls of Bordeaux’, as well as the most remarkable portrait of the printer Gaulon, and also the named ‘Maja on Dark Background’, which is part of the series “latest caprichos” made all of them by Goya on Gaulon’s lithographic site during his stay in Bordeaux.



A visit not to be missed, highly didactic and more than pleasant that the specialist and the attentive visitor should not forget in his artistic journey through the capital city of Spain.

Gonzalo de Diego

Light in shadow (from Rembrandt to Goya)

I share with Goya my double admiration by Velázquez and Rembrandt (“I haven’t had other masters than Nature, Velázquez and Rembrandt”).

Nature, as source, inspiration and guide, and as the best teacher in the infinite variety of the world of perceptions. Full of light, shadow, colour, volume, shape and space; something suitable for good look at Goya.

In regard with Velázquez, even died a hundred years before the birth of Goya, was overwhelmingly present in the Royal Collections and was easily accessible for a painter of the Court like Goya. Consequently, his magisterium is obvious and there are remarkable traces of it, from the first drawings and goyesco prints, to painting pieces such as the importance of the family of Carlos IV (1800).

On the other hand, it is considered to Rembrandt as the best engraver of all time. And so could note it who had the success of visit a superb exhibition, ‘Rembrandt, Light of Shadow’ made in collaboration with the National Library of France and the Spanish National Library, at Gaudi’s building of La Pedrera in Barcelona, under the sponsorship of then bright patron Foundation Caixa Catalonia, today disappeared.

Thanks to my good friend Silvia Pagliano -an exceptional engraver, usual contributor of this blog- I discovered to Michel Pastoureau and his book ‘Black (History of a Colour)’ of which here I valgus for venture between their lights and shadows. Colour for darkness, for death and hell, black has not been always a negative colour. Throughout its long history, has also state associated to fertility, temperance, dignity, authority. And since a few decades ago, embodies above all elegance and modernity.

The polygraph Jesuit François d’Aguilon, friend of Rubens, differentiates ‘extreme’ colours (white and black), ‘medium’ colours (red, blue, yellow) and ‘mixed’ colours (green, violet and orange) and shows how colours unite to engender others new. However, for him white and the black are complete colours; have the status of ‘extreme colours’. So, in that world of colours, the relationship with light precedence over others. By this, although black is the colour of darkness, there is a ‘luminous’ black, it means black colours that glow before darken, black that are bright before be black. Seeing Rembrandt’s blacks and his very brief illuminations, which are just a rumour of light…


248 X 359 MM

For Michel Pastoureau “the word black, from latin niger in a time given becomes extraordinarily rich and takes to its charge all the symbolic range (sad, fatal, ugly, horrible, cruel, harmful, fearsome, diabolical, etc.) of the colour. But to express nuances of intensity or quality colour (matt, glossy, dense, saturated, etc.) will be necessary to resort to comparisons: black as pitch, black as a mulberry, black as the raven, black as ink.”

In Romanticism returns the black in all its splendour, if I am allowed to say so. Is the triumph of night and death, of witches and cemeteries, of strange and fantastic. Reins the melancholy, the evil of the century (the black sun of melancholy), that at the gates of the 19th will be an obliged state, almost a virtue. In certain mode we are also at the world of symbols, the world of perceptions… And there is Goya. Obviously. From prints to the black paints. Because in the century of lights these are not only those of the spirit, wit and sharpness, but also of the common life, and in Goya black is more near to death and its colour, opposite or different than in Rembrandt. Besides there is the fear at the end of inspiration: that terrible fright that, tormented, we were described by Unamuno.

On the other hand, Isadora Rose-De Viejo says that “it is out of doubt that Goya knew well several prints of Tiepolo, Piranesi, Callot, Hogarth and Flaxman” as we have discussed in this blog throughout our four years of existence. And that while Goya in his youth artistic circles of Zaragoza had by more next teachers in his admiration to the French Simon Vouet and the Italian Corrado Giaquinto, will come a time in which the work of the Dutch will make present in an interest place of his admiration. But that will be later as by “the traditional political and religious hostility between Spain and the Netherlands”, add Isadora Rose that “Dutch painting of the 17th century has always had a presence in the Spanish historical collections,”. And it will finally be in the form of his engravings.

“El Descendimiento a la luz de la antorcha” (REMBRANDT)
Aguafuerte y punta seca
210 x 161 mm.
“El amor y la muerte” (GOYA)
Aguafuerte, aguatinta bruñida y buril
219 x 152 m.

It is why this super taste similarities, mutual admirations, bows and training elements on such notable artists. Breathing under the same dome… And is at the same time exciting to believe it, observe it, like it and admire it closely. A great luck the Art! So close, so exciting, so own, friendly and satisfactory…


Blacks of Rembrandt, the dim lighting, lights just discerned, game of life and death, seen and unseen, technique and sentiment. As so many disasters of the goyesca war, both dark caprice and as much crazy image lived or dreamed from inside… to finish being paint and black. Without leave aside, sharing it with Goya, in his admiration for light and shadow. Under a greater or lower Rembrandtianan influence that, for Michel Pastoureau, the vibrating character of colour in Rembrandt painting, next to the omnipotence of light, gives to the most of his works, including the more profane, a religious dimension. Giving a liaison, linking light and shadow, light and dark for so better perceive reality, past of time, the permanence.


“La Adoración de los pastores con una linterna”
Aguafuerte, punta seca y buril
148 x 198 mm.
Tercer estado

Look for example at the picture of ‘The Adoration of the Shepherds with a flashlight” in which, as well describes Gisèle Lambert: “…the atmosphere suggested by Rembrandt is so intensely mystical that exudes a supernatural silence, the adaptation of the eyes to the darkness, the reconstruction of shadows by the vision, the perception of the oscillations of the more or less open flame of the candle and the strange aura of rays of shadow that wrap Mary and Jesus are other many effects…”… “lighting effects, gold or pearled, with a soft and silky shadows that modulate the glare…”

Goya came to have half a dozen prints by Rembrandt and knew of different collectors and friends (Ceán, Izquierdo, Carderera, perhaps Godoy and likely the Royal Cabinet of Natural History and those of Sebastián Martínez) and “came to see up to 150, that is more than half of the artist accepted graphic production and an exceptionally high proportion for a Spanish of his time” (sic).

We could go calmly on this brilliant relationship. Or analyse also the magisterium about the engraver Goya by Piranesi and his outstanding quality, the only artist that according to Nodier until then had left influence his art with his nightly dreams. His influence will make him expand a view especially endowed, superior and feature artists far above others. The contrasts of lights and shadows, of black and white, of impressions and techniques. It will certainly be interesting to try to raise it at another time. Why not?


Gonzalo de Diego

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