The Cronus Complex and Goya's Paintings

Topics: Saturn Devouring His Son, Francisco Goya, Black Paintings Pages: 1 (250 words) Published: June 28, 2011
“The Cronus Complex is not a murderous tendency per say, since Cronus did not just got rid of his offspring, but a destructive ingestive process which hinders the child’s capacity to exist separately and autonomously from the parent. In consuming his child, Cronus does not only aim to annihilate him but does so by making him part of himself. According to Bolen, since ancient times, the Cronus Complex is a tendency through which male oriented cultures have maintained power. That is evident is systems such as Fascism, one of the most radical mutations of patriarchy.“ - John W. Crandall, The Cronus Complex

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Goya's Devouring Monster
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The Mystery of Goya's Saturn
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The painting known as 'Saturn Devouring One of His Sons', by Francisco Goya, presents us with a terrifying cannibal god, Kronos, whom he depicts as a wild, revolting figure, consuming his offspring. The ancient deity looks crazed, his eyes are atrocious and the painting is one of those which imprints itself on the psyche of those who examine it closely.

Before he began the Black Paintings, Goya survived a near fatal illness, documented in his Self-portrait with Dr. Arrieta. Goya depicts himself as a "pained and weary artist, surrounded by dark, phantasmal faces." It is plausible that Saturn was painted as a way to express the lonely terror of mortality. I imagine Goya must have smiled wryly when he realised that he had captured the demonic figure who had lived with him all his life.
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