The following description of the Goya exhibition which will open at the Fogg Museum on Tuesday, February 24 was written by a member of the print department at the museum.
Goya's prints and drawings will be on exhibition at the Fogg Art Museum from February 24 until April 1. Philip Hofer of New York, and W. G. Russell Allen of Boston have lent fine impressions of Goya's most important prints, and in addition, proofs which are so rare that the catalogues call them "Introuvable." All but a few of the subjects will be shown. Of those which are lacking, many are to be found only in European collections. All of the great series will be on exhibition--The Caprices, Disasters of War, Proverbs, and Bull-fights. The Bulls of Bordeaux, a series of four lithographs, done when the artist was nearly eighty years old, will be shown. These series passed through a number of editions, and the plates in their successive printings, lost much of their freshness. These changes are of great interest and importance to the student and collector. This exhibition will afford a splendid opportunity to study the changes which the artist himself made in the plates and the variations which are the results of wear.
"Disasters of War"
Goya came at a time when the spirit of revolt stirred all Europe, and his own country, Spain, ruled over by a weak monarch, Charles IV, was the prey of stronger nations. Goya saw the follies, the weaknesses, and the misdemeanors of the people and the court, and in his Caprices and Proverbs, he denounced them in the most scathing manner. Napoleon's ambition to add Spain to his list of conquered nations, resulted in years of fighting accompanied by starvation, mutilation, and all the horrors of war. These hideous scenes accompanying Spain's struggle for independence, were translated by Goya's imagination into the series of the Disasters of War. They do not depict specific events but represent what might and probably did take place.
An Independent Artist
Goya, coming as he did when Spain was fighting for independence, declared his independence as an artist, and stood as a revolutionist in art. He abandoned the old classicism which had held sway over art, and turning to nature, looked at her with the eyes of his time, and interpreted her in the spirit of his age. Interested less in the representation of form than in the expression of character and movement, he was the fore-runner of modern expressionism.