We’re at a very exciting time in Art History now, right on the edge of a major paradigm shift into Modernism! Because Francisco Goya, a brilliant Spanish artist, is considered by many to be one of the pioneers of the modern period, we are going to focus on him this week and do a deep dive into his work.
Please bear in mind that some of Goya’s work is deeply unsettling and controversial, as he dealt with themes of war and injustice. In addition to the bold and often violent nature of Goya’s work, we will also be exploring a politically sensitive practice of artistic manipulation, appropriation, or quotation, in which one or more artists acquires and alters the work of another artist in order to make a point. Some go so far as to call it “Art theft.” The practice often elicits strong reactions, whether one approves of or denounces such a process.
For this week’s assignment, you’ll start by completing the following readings (don’t worry, it looks like a lot but most of these are short):
Then you will watch the following video, the story of the Chapman brothers, two British artists who used Goya’s works as the springboard for their own political commentary:
While art is almost always political, it becomes even more so when the roles and rights of the artists themselves are called into question. This week, you’ll have a chance to analyze some intensely political art, and express your own political views as well!
– For first part of this assignment, you will write a 2 paragraphs (at least 5 sentences for each paragraph) summary of the life and art of Goya, and then write 1 paragraph(at least 5 sentences) on the work of the Chapman Brothers. For your summary on Goya, please focus on how his art transformed throughout his life. What caused the dramatic changes in style and subject matter? How did it fit in to the incredibly combative climate in which he lived and worked? How did his deteriorating physical and mental health affect his work? Make sure you reference at least two specific works in order to illustrate points you’re trying to make about why things changed for him when they did.
In your discussion of the Chapman brothers, you may take a more casual tone if you wish. Describe what they are doing with their take on Goya’s work and give your opinion on it. Is this theft? Is it an homage? Is it respectful or disrespectful to Goya? How do you feel about the artists drawing or painting directly onto original prints? Why are they appropriating his work in modern times? What does this say about whether or not things have changed for the better since that time? Is it still relevant now? Why or why not?
– For Part Two of your assignment, write 1 paragraph (at least 5 sentences) in response to one of your classmates’ posts. Do you agree or disagree with what they have said? Why? Make sure you give at least one specific example of how Goya’s work, and/or the Chapman Brothers’ work, illustrates your point. You are free to disagree, but only if you do it respectfully. The point of scholarship is to build knowledge–not tear it down–through thoughtful engagement.
– Two of the classmates’ posts:(just choose one to response)
1. Goya was born in a small village near Saragossa, the capital of the Aragon Autonomous Region in northeastern Spain. His father was a farmer. His family was poor and he had no formal education. At the age of 14, a priest discovered his painting talent and encouraged his father to include him. He was sent to Zaragoza and studied with Jose Luzáni Martínez for 4 years. In 1763, he went to Madrid to join his fellow palace painter Francisco Baéy, and went to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in San Fernando twice. No one has been admitted. Later, as deaf students resigned from the Academy of Fine Arts, they began to create color etchings and satirized the church and the country with genre paintings. In 1803, he completed the creation of the print group Rhapsody and used various bizarre characters to perform irony. Goya’s artistic style is bizarre and varied. From the early Baroque paintings to the later expressions of expressionism, he has always changed his life. Although he never established his own school, he has a realistic style and romanticism for later generations. Both the Impressionists and the Impressionists have a great influence. It is a transitional figure who inherited the past. Maybe because of deafness, Goya is particularly sensitive to her mouth. The mouths of characters in his paintings are not similar. The mouth in a painting is such a mysterious silent cave, slightly sly, ridiculous, sly, questioning, barking, and the content is unknowable. Instead, it presents a new interpretation of the character’s expression. Goya called his house a “house of the deaf,” and gradually retired. He painted more than 20 frescoes on the wall, known as the “black painting.”
The Chapman brothers refer to Jack Chapman and the Dinos Chapman brothers. They were born in 1966 and 1962 in Cheltenham and London. In 1990, both graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts with a master’s degree in aesthetics and began co-creating thereafter. Live and work in London today. In 1993, through the exhibition “The Disasters of War,” the Chapman brothers entered the public eye. The Chapman brothers were inspired by the famous series of prints by the Spanish artist Goya in the seventeenth century and the Napoleon War of Fass. They used plastic film to reproduce this historical picture. The Chapman brothers tampered with celebrity’s works and performed some spoofs on them. Their purpose was also obvious. They ridiculed and revealed reality through artistic methods. To some extent, each time the Chapman brother spoofs has a certain deep-seated purpose, to address real problems. In the tradition of art, artists often use trickery to ridicule things. Although the Chapman brothers are often unpleasant, this kind of art is also a kind of black humor.
2. Considered to be one of the most important Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th century is Francisco Goya. Born March 30th 1746, becoming a romantic painter and printmaker, chronicling and commenting through art until his death on april 16th1828 and becoming refferred to as the last old master and the first of the Moderns.
His art career started at age 14 under Jose Luzan y Martinez and then under Anton Raphael Mengs. Him and his wife had multiple miscarriages with only one surviving child to grow into an adult. Becoming a court painter to the Spanish crown, then appointed director of the royal academy, then becoming the highest rank for a Spanish court painter at that time Primer Pintor de Camara.
Even tho letters and writings have survived by Goya, he was guarded. Having an undiagnosed illness in 1793 leaving him deaf and disillusioned it led him to having a pessimistic and dark outlook.
Goya stayed in Madrid during Napoleans Peninsular War in 1807. In which Goya didn’t verbalize the influence, but it was told throughout his artworks. Too me La maja desnuda 1797 (a painting of a nude women) was his last remnant and replication of romantic purity. Later works such as Los desatres de la guerra “The disasters of War” prints and the “Saturn Devouring His Son” piece shows how the affects of the war had on him, and how dark his inner monologue grew. From brutal beheadings, to others standing infront of people about to be fired apon by military personnel (The third of may). To the subconscious dissolution of humanitarian outcomes and the horridness of society with the dark and bloody “Saturn Devouring His Son”. His dark paintings were painted on his walls, not even canvases. To me which is a sign of insanity
As for the Chapman brothers and what they are doing is a sticky and slipper situation. I do enjoy their recreations of some of Goyas works with Ronald Mcdonald. I do think it is clever and I do think that making original artwork is nearly impossible, since artwork is a reflection of someones perspective on reality. All artwork is influenced by other artworks. But if you do make huge amounts of money off of a piece of artwork were all you did was paint a clown face onto someone elses piece, is like giving lady liberty a lantern instead of a torch and trying to resale that. But a rendering of Goyas prints into physical miniature statues with different subjects is in that grey area of my personal acceptance. In that case, it is fine. History repeats and I think it is still relevant now. Might be more relevant since the characters are modernized and familiarized.