Sponsored Content

Intermarkets' Privacy Policy

Donate to Ace of Spades HQ!

Recent Entries
Absent Friends
moon_over_vermont 2023
westminsterdogshow 2023
Ann Wilson(Empire1) 2022
Dave In Texas 2022
Jesse in D.C. 2022
OregonMuse 2022
redc1c4 2021
Tami 2021
Chavez the Hugo 2020
Ibguy 2020
Rickl 2019
Joffen 2014
AoSHQ Writers Group
A site for members of the Horde to post their stories seeking beta readers, editing help, brainstorming, and story ideas. Also to share links to potential publishing outlets, writing help sites, and videos posting tips to get published. Contact OrangeEnt for info:
maildrop62 at proton dot me
Cutting The Cord And Email Security
Moron Meet-Ups

The Morning Report - 7/30/20 | Main | The Morning Rant: Minimalist Edition
July 30, 2020

Mid-Morning Art Thread [Kris]

Goya Madhouse.jpg

The Yard Of A Madhouse
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes

Goya’s career was slow in taking off until he married the sister of a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. His new brother-in-law got him a job and commissions, including some that would decorate the royal palaces. These works eventually got him noticed by the king and would lead to his rise as a court painter in 1789, and as First Court Painter to Charles IV in 1799.

Around 1794, Goya’s suffered an illness that left him completely deaf. His work became moody and introspective as a result. Among these was “Yard of the Madhouse.” He describes it in a letter as something he witnessed personally that affected him. He was acutely aware of the painting’s disturbing imagery and that people might not like it. He didn’t seem to care if anyone ever saw it or not.

“Yard of the Madhouse” is a dark work and probably my favorite Goya. It is a long, thin, vertical work with almost nothing going on in the top half. The top of the arch in the background is about the half-way point of the composition. Above this is quiet, but ominous. There’s a large wedge of empty blue sky and then two large, brown/grey walls that come together at a corner. This effect creates a bright blue arrow that drives my eye down to the lower half of the work and keeps it there, but its moody stillness does nothing to ready us for the chaos at the bottom.

The bottom of the painting is a mass of writhing, yelling forms. In the center are two grappling figures. Their muscles ripple with effort as they try to thrash the other. Meanwhile, a hospital staff member whips them. The violence of the whipping can be seen in the arc of the rod, but the two do not feel it. This scene reminds me of a dog fight I once witnessed. The viciousness of the fight was terrifying to watch and very difficult to break up. Nothing seemed to work. Only brute strength finally tore the dogs apart, but some of us were seriously hurt doing so.

In this painting, I think Goya may be using the classical nude against itself. The Classical Era was believed to be the absolute Golden Age of human civilization. Its ideals became one of the foundations of Western culture, and art would adopt the older era’s themes and motifs. By making the central lunatics nude, Goya may be criticizing the contemporary idealization of Man and Human Reason, instead showing humanity as he saw it. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the central figures are the only nudes, and that they are the most violent figures in the work. Physically, these figures are ideal male specimens, but their mind, what made them human, is gone. The ideal is shattered like their minds.

In the painting, the rest of the inmates react to the fight. They panic, scream, hoot, run around and flip out — it’s bedlam… except for one figure.

The figure in the lower right foreground, for me, lifts this painting to greatness. I cannot stop looking at him. He just sits there. Smiling. At me. The smile is a big, toothy grin. He’s probably giggling too. Everyone else is immersed in the fight; he, alone, is not. He is reacting to my presence. Now go back to the walls in the upper half of the painting. There are only two. The other two are behind me… meaning I am in the yard of the madhouse with the lunatics, and there is no barrier between me and them. Back in the day, asylums were tourist attractions, like zoos for crazy people. Goya may have went on such a tour to have witnessed this scene and this figure watched the tourist go by, and just smiled.

Goya had a fear of going insane and like many other Romantics of his era, explored the relationship between sanity and insanity. In a society that celebrated the achievements of human reason, ability, and ingenuity, the Romantics were fascinated by the deception of human ability and the dark areas of the mind and human nature. Goya would go back to this theme several times during his career. After the fallout of the Napoleonic Wars, he would withdraw from court and society all-together, create his “Black Paintings” that were intended for his eyes only, and die a near-recluse just outside Madrid.

digg this
posted by Open Blogger at 09:30 AM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
President Skroob: "[i]379 Everyone knows the launch code is 000000000 ..."

Yudhishthira's Dice: "The SS agents are shits and treat the dog like shi ..."

Oldcat: "356 I got an alert on my cellphone that some cellp ..."

Jordan61: "st ..."

weft cut-loop[/i][/b] [/s]: "Wait, Goog is ending GMail? ..."

bonhomme[/i][/i][/i][/b][/b][/b][/s][/s][/s][/u][/u][/u]: "> I got an alert on my cellphone that some cellpho ..."

Joe Mannix (Not a cop!): "In most homicide cases across the country, it woul ..."

jim (in Kalifornia) [/b] [/s] [/i] [/u]: "362 Why do we need pronouns? ... Posted by: Cat ..."

Super Judge Roberts: "372 Biden's dog is biting his bodyguards because h ..."

Cat Ass Trophy : "Everyone knows the launch code is 000000000. ..."

ghbucky: "In an interesting coincidence? I work in support o ..."

TheJamesMadison, finishing up the Best Pictures: "372 Biden's dog is biting his bodyguards because h ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64