History of Art II
Term Project – Essay – Romanticism, Goya, Saturn Devouring His Children The field of visual arts, too, had seen this progression. As the years went by, art had grown more and more realistic, controlled, and perfect. Everything was rationalized by science. And then came the revolution known as Romanticism.
One notable artist that partook in the Romantic Movement was Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes. In spite of his initial lack of success, and even being denied entrance to the Royal Academy of Fine Art, Goya eventually found his way amongst the monarchy and the royalty by designing patterns that would soon decorate the residences of greatly important people, and then by painting commissioned portraits of counts, dukes, and even the king. These events allowed him to rise into fame, as Goya became painter to Charles III and court painter to Charles IV themselves. As the years went by, though, Goya had contracted cholera and dove into withdrawal and isolation, creating more bitter and sombre paintings. In the later years of his life, he isolated himself in a two-story house baptised “the Deaf Man’s Villa” (in reference to the previous owner and not himself, who was coincidentally left deaf from his cholera.) Here, he painted a series of fourteen untitled paintings known as the “Black Paintings.” To say the least, each of the pieces were more bitter and macabre than the next, the ultimate one being Saturn Devouring His Son. Thoroughly haunting and uneasy on the eye, Saturn Devouring His Son depicts the Roman God, Saturn (or Cronus in Greek myth), feasting upon the flesh of his offspring in an act of pure cannibalism. In the painting, he looms out of the darkness with the child’s left arm in his mouth and a facial expression that can only be described as being one of pure madness. The painting is rather lacking in terms of color, using only un-vibrant flesh tones, red for the blood, and deep black, all of...