War and peace

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December 30, 2016 12:21

Goya and his legacy come to the Israel Museum, celebrating 30 years of Spanish-Israeli diplomatic ties.




Francisco Goya Israel

‘Francisco Goya: Daydreams and Nightmares’ on show at the Israel Museum. (photo credit: ELIE POSNER / ISRAEL MUSEUM)

In October 1994, Russell Vallance of Farnham in the UK wrote to The Independent. “Goya’s original work shows atrocity feeding on atrocity and is a powerful indictment of the brutalities of war, as relevant to Bosnia today as to Spain in the last century.” What was true in 1994 is just as true today in the wake of the battle of Aleppo in Syria.

Biographer Robert Hughes credits Goya as the first modern artist and the last old master. What’s interesting about Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes was that in his teen years in the mid-18th century there would have been no question that he belonged to the tradition before his time, rooted in the past and perfection of the Spanish masters. Five of the works that form the centerpiece of the epic and historic exhibition at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on view until April 18 were commissioned for the Spanish Royal Court in Goya’s early years. We can see the color and frolicking that the artist witnessed around him exhibited against a blunt red background in masterpieces such as The Straw Manikin (1792), with children playing with a stuffed mannequin, and in The Parasol (1777) showing a man and woman with a green parasol.

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