Francisco Goya was the most celebrated painter in late eighteenth-century Spain, widely known for his portraits and religious paintings. In the 1790s, following a near-fatal illness that left him profoundly deaf, Goya turned to drawing to document his thoughts, visions and dreams. In eight private albums, as well as in single sheet drawings, he recorded his astute observations of interactions between men and women, social inequality, folly and vice, as well as images of ‘fantasy and invention’. Goya’s drawings gave expression to a vision of humanity that had no equivalent in the art of his day.
This exhibition presents forty-four drawings on loan from the Prado Museum in Madrid. The works span thirty years of the artist’s career, from his earliest albums of social satires, to pages from the late albums, which contain some of Goya’s most imaginative and surreal images. The drawings are shown together with etchings from Goya’s four major printed series, the Caprichos, Disasters of War, Tauromaquia and Disparates. All of the drawings and prints in the exhibition were uncommissioned, giving Goya the freedom to critique authorities and social norms. They also reveal Goya’s insight into human nature, making his art as relevant today as it was in his own time.