black paintings

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10

Francisco Goya’s Black Paintings

1. Saturn Devouring his Son, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 143 x 81 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

2. The Dog, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 131.5 x 79.3 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

3. Two Old Men Eating Soup, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 49.3 x 83.4 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

4. Judith and Holofernes, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 143.5 x 81.4 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

5. Two Old Men, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 146 x 66 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

6. The Fates, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 123 x 266 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

7. Fight with Cudgels, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 123 x 266 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

8. Witches’ Sabbath, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 140 x 438 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

9. Fantastic Vision, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 125.4 x 65.4 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

10. Man Mocked by Two Women, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 125.4 x 65.4 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Source

Here is a selection of works from Goya’s famous ‘Black Paintings’ series, which consists of fourteen murals that were painted directly onto the walls of the Quinta del Sordo house in Madrid, where the artist lived between 1819 and 1823. They have since been removed, transferred to canvases, and become part of the Museo del Prado’s collection.

The series is pretty dark, to say the least. It is rife with themes of witchcraft, insanity, violence and death’s inevitability. My personal favourite is Saturn Devouring his Son, which is based on the story of Saturn’s Greek counterpart, Cronus, and how he ate his sons after hearing that they would eventually overthrow him. However, Saturn/Cronus was tricked by Rhea into swallowing a stone instead of one of his children. This son, of whom Rhea was the mother, was Zeus, and he would eventually have Cronus and the other titans imprisoned. Goya’s depiction is deliciously gory and terrifying. Saturn’s face is enough to give you nightmares!