A.E. Reiff's Reviews > Goya

Goya by Robert Hughes
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The Colosi (286), however nebulous the atmosphere swims, cannot see feet – he that is washed needs not save to wash his feet. Hands are ideas coming and going, to translate paint into words, but to no known purpose, as if one were to hear what should be banned as inappropriate nonsense, a message any writer wants to hear because it validates the kick to provoke piety from the unrighteous, no high purpose, yet if piety provokes without sensibility, it is no high order they cannot hear. Scientists say torturing a rabbit for the good of mankind is the same as making Jesus a king by force (Jn 6.15), which leads to the inherent disproportion of Goya’s hand. In his portraits the later figures strike out of darkness, not just Saturn Colosi but the Pilgrimage of San Isidro. Hughes calls it a cobra slithering into the face of the paint, its eye is the foreground guitarist, conte jondo, (18), an assault on all hearing in the silence of this ocher, umber, black background, not the insipid green trees, white clouds, blue sky of the Assault of Thieves and other portraits, the repeated ritual positions of death, face down with scrabbling hands (124), those insipid pastel unblemished faces of the Family of the Duke of Osuna. The disproportion of the long faces and noses (54, 119) prepares for the assault of the distortion war of Neptune such as in Frank Gehry’s buildings, where idea wages in misconceit against its opposite. Now that sounds like earth, except Neptune has rammed its morals down everywhere. War does not contain peace the way a villain’s smile contains goodness. War contains war. Transparent, it becomes neither deceit nor itself. Do not listen to the words.

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A.E. Reiff Observations. Goya did all the Disasters of War and never revealed a one. The confidence! “Seated maja and majo” 1824-5, carbon black and watercolor might be his coda. All the bats, owls, blackbirds flying at heads psych boys say are externalized fears, so why not all the impaled corpses, thieves and torturers. He visited the asylum at Bordeaux as at Zaragoza. Hughes thinks to find images, like a photographer, but a deeper motive of human suffering impells so that his images are real, Hughes has never been, of course now they do not exist, county homes, being destroyed, medicated, what you see here is what he saw there, Fuego, Old man on a swing, too cute to say himself. Living in the Quinta del sordo among the 14 paintings is like Van Gogh laid out in his house among his paints hung all over the walls. Goya’s mistress was 30 when he was 70 and 80. The sambenito each prisoner wears, the blessed bag, is a reverse chasuble painted with their supposed heresies with red flames for their burning. Later each sambenito was displayed on the wall. This. Goya was accused of being a Judaizer by his jealous rivals, that is, a descendent of conversos. Must be from all the Old Testament. A visionary was called an ilusa, then burned at the stake.

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