Essays on Art and Society

While the dramatic events in Spain new series of etchings by Goya called “Disasters of War” (1810-1820) appeared. In these graphic works there are no villains and evil forces as in the “Caprichos”. But there is a cruel realism that allows viewers to experience war along with the artist as a monstrous disaster. In the “Disasters of War” the hole new set of topics arrear, which make paintings especially realistic by their naturalistic scenes of violence. Even though the series is devoted to the tragic events in Spain, the war theme sounds generalized, on one of the sheets Goya wrote the inscription: “So is everywhere”. Shawn events occur in any era, in any country where there is war. Moreover, the artist draws the viewer’s attention to the fact that its victims are not soldiers, but defenseless people, peaceful citizens (Junquera, 75-90).

Among other paintings of the series Goya draws “What courage!”. It is romantic in spirit work that does not seem consistent with the main motive for the series but it shows another side of war. Composition of etching is simple and concise. Graceful young woman in a white dress stretches lit the fuse to the cannon fuses, which is much larger than herself. Under the feet of the heroine there is a pile of mutilated bodies. Around 1814 Francisco Goya again turned to the theme of war and violence, but this time he chose the technique of oil painting. In the historical picture of the “Rise of May 2, 1808 in Madrid” and “The shooting of the rebels on the night of May 3, 1808” the artist did everything possible to recreate the reality of what was happening. The impression of confusion is completed by the flash of light and free manner of painting.

Goya’s late works are associated with the work on the monumental cycle of paintings in the so-called “House of the deaf”, which he has bought in 1819 and where he lived until 1823. For a long time these paintings remained a mystery master and were not completed. This series was called “Black pictures”. «Saturn Devouring His Son», one of the paintings of this period is one of the cruelest works by Goya (Junquera, 20-57).

In 1823 – 1824 Goya had to hide from his friends, fearing the wrath of the Inquisition and King Ferdinand VII, who said that the artist deserved the punishment. In May 1824 Goya left Spain and went to France. First, in Paris and then in Bordeaux (in south-west), painter led a quiet, unobtrusive life. Here he died, being blind, deaf and forgotten by everybody.

Already in the middle of the XIX century Francisco Goya’s work has found many enthusiastic admirers. Most of them were romance – the artists, poets and writers. Cheerfulness and tragedy, realism and fantasy, the grotesque, merged into a single unit in the works of Spanish painter who anticipated the art of the second half of the XIX-XX centuries. In his work we can see reflection of the historic events of the country that were taken place for more than fifty years: reign of the weak-willed King Charles IV (1788-1808), invasion of Napoleon, the first Spanish revolution.

The very first painting by Delacroix brought him the glory to one of the most “unexpected” French artists. Each of his painting became the occasion of the Salon. Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863) is one of the greatest French romantic painter. In 1822 Delacroix exhibited at the Paris Salon the painting “The Rook Dante”, which was bought by the Government. That opened up the possibility of Delacroix’s dizzying career. Delacroix, as a rule, preferred to base his paintings on dramatic scenes. He used exotic motifs, especially after a trip to Morocco in 1832. He went into the history of painting portraits as the author, who showed special spirituality. After the 1830’s Delacroix was engaged in design of public buildings in Paris. Artistic manner of Delacroix is full of peculiar dynamism, deep emotions and good taste. Romantic artist rejected the canons that existed in the fine art of previous eras, willing to go to unusual subjects related to the madness, supernatural phenomena of violence or an exotic.

In France Delacroix was the leader of romanticism, though it annoyed many people. Thus, “Massacre at Chios”, for example was not liked by “traditional” audience because of the absence of acts of personal heroism and congestion, cruelty, violence and suffering. As for the exotic, it is clearly present in this work “The Death of Sardanapalus” (it is curious that these pictures look much more exotic than those written by Delacroix on the basis of his own impressions from the trip to North Africa). All the details in “Sardanapalus” scene are solved in the best traditions of Romanticism. Delacroix wrote darkness like a cave, a room with massive columns and seemingly disconnected with the outside walls.

In the painting “Death of Sardanapalus” he showed cruelty using features of sexuality. The plot of this painting Delacroix borrowed from Byron. Sardanapalus is the legendary name of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. He was famous for his effeminacy and debauchery. When the enemy besieged Nineveh he ordered to build a huge bonfire, and gave himself burned along with his treasures, wives and concubines (Kinney, 74-92).

Eugene Fuseli (1741-1825) was a Swiss and English painter, graphic artist, writer, historian and art theorist. He graduated from the Theological Faculty at the University of Zurich in 1765-1770 and from 1779 lived in the UK, in 1770-1778 he worked in Italy, where he became friends with many philosophers and art historians. He studied the works of ancient art and was influenced by Michelangelo.

Fuseli found inspiration in the works of William Shakespeare, Dante, Homer and the literature of German Romanticism. His works are full of the tragic conflict of his passions. He combines idealized images in the spirit of classicism with unbridled dark fantasy, sophisticated grotesque, and sometimes with sharp observations of life (series of paintings for “Shakespeare Gallery”). Fuseli also wrote the painting “Nightmare” in 1782, which embodied the dark, irrational vision, performed by the virtuoso technique of graphic images (Wohlgemut, 35-48).

Looking at paintings of famous representatives of romanticism you can not remain indifferent. You can like them or dislike, but they just cause a storm of emotions inside you. That means that the artists have achieved their goal.

Works Cited:

Clark, Kenneth. Romantic Rebellion, The Romantic Versus Classic Art. 1975. Print.
Cole, Michael. Inventions of the Studio, Renaissance to Romanticism (Bettie Allison Rand Lectures in Art History). 2005. Print.
Hauser, Arnold and Harris, Jonathan. The Social History of Art: Rococo, Classicism and Romanticism Vol III. 1999. Print.
Junquera, Juan Jose. Black Paintings of Goya. 2008. Print.
Kinney, G.S., Sainty, M. European Paintings From 1600 to 1917: Baroque, Rococo, Romanticism, Realism, Futurism (EUROPEAN ART). 2001. Print.
Wohlgemut, Esther. Cosmopolitanism (Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and the Cultures of Print). 2009. Print.

Written by

Our professional writers will be happy to help you with your essay paper, term paper or research paper. All papers are written from scratch according to your instructions. We deliver PLAGIARISM FREE papers only.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a Reply