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The Anxiety in life and work of Goya

A short story.

By F.R. GautvikPublished 3 months ago 4 min read
The Anxiety in life and work of Goya
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

An angry twelve-year-old girl stops by a Goya painting at a museum while waiting for her mother to return from the toilet. A guard walks over to her and starts to talk ...

Guard: "Goya is often referred to as “the last of the old masters,” and the first of the modern."

Girl: "The last and the first? What do you mean?"

"Hang in there, Francisco Goya was born in Spain on March 30, year 1746, and was a Spanish painter and graphic artist who also has an asteroid named after him."

"Asteroid …?"

"It is called “Asteroid 6592 Goya.”

"You know a lot about Goya for being a guard —"

"Anything wrong with being a guard?"

"No, it is not what —"

"In 1786, Francisco Goya was appointed court painter to the Spanish royal family, and in his early career he painted many portraits of the royals, and others in the aristocracy."

"So … Goya was not a true Rococo painter?"

"Rococo painter? Francisco Goya’s art ranges from Baroque and Rococo to the Romantic movement, of which Goya can be considered the first of the great masters."

"In the romantic movement? Do you think he was romantic?"

"ROMANTICISM was an artistic and intellectual movement that focused on emotion, sentiment and chivalry, and emerged after the French Revolution. Nature, with its potential for disaster, was a favorite subject of Romanticism, as were powerful emotional motifs that evoked emotion in the beholder. Many renowned artists throughout the history were inspired by Goya, among them the great Manet and Picasso —"

"Picasso? I have heard of him."

"Goya was a pioneer in new artistic forms of expression, and he is considered by many as ‘the father of modern art."

"Seriously? The father of modern art?"

"Yes, Goya is often referred to as the last of the old Masters, and the first of the modern."

"You have said it twice, the last and the first … confusing … who was his role model? Who inspired him?!"

"The earlier Spanish masters inspired Goya, and at the beginning of his career, Goya made a whole series of prints after the works of Diego Velázquez, who was his greatest artistic influence. In addition, he recognized Rembrandt van Rijn as a master."

"Diego Velázquez? The man that some think was the greatest European painter in history, the man that made the famous Las Meninas painting, the man that …"

"So, you know about the Las Meninas —"

"Of course! He painted it in the Baroque period, and the center of the painting is Princess Margareta Teresa, the princess who married her uncle, and still called her husband UNCLE, also after the wedding. Sick, sick!"

"You know a lot of art for being a little girl ..."

"Anything wrong with being a girl?"

"Why would there be anything wrong with that? However, in 1792 Goya was struck by a painful, inexplicable illness that left him deaf for the rest of his life."

"Poor thing —"

"Yes, and towards the end of his life, Goya lived a secluded existence, producing terrifying and enigmatic images that dealt with madness and the dark side of existence. In the period between 1819 and 1823, he painted a series of fourteen black paintings on the walls of his own house, Quinta del Sordo, which was also known colloquially as ‘the deaf house.’

Photo: Saturn — The Collection — Museo Nacional del Prado (

"Gloomy days. Is it a troll?"

"Troll?! The painting is called SATURN and is a mirrored image of FEAR itself. Saturn, one of the Titans who once ruled the earth in Roman mythology, devours the infant he holds in his arm. According to a prophecy, Saturn was to be overthrown by one of his sons. In response, he ate his sons as soon as they were born. But the mother of his children, Rhea, hid one child, Zeus. In the image, Saturn is transformed into a monster through his fear, his eyes bulging, and his hands clutching his son’s battered body before taking another bite."

"Yum, yum, crazy man."

"— and as you see, he emerges from the darkness and is brightly lit from the side …"

"Yes! It is painted with clair-obscure … sharp contrast between light and dark … like a Caravaggio!"

"The picture illustrates the dark potential that exists in people to do horrible things. It shows a fear out of control. Goya’s paintings from this period are called PINTURAS NEGRAS and are said to anticipate the later ART period, Expressionism. Due to their modernity and powerful expression, these pictures are among Goyas greatest works. The black paintings he created in his own house reflected his own fear of Spain and not at least, himself. "

"My mother is coming, can we sum it up?"

"Francisco Goya was, and is, considered the most important Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries."


(The girl closes her eyes and hugs the guard, before she walks towards her mother.)


worktraumapanic attacksdepressionart

About the Creator

F.R. Gautvik

Author & screenwriter. I love outdoor sports and sitting in front of a fireplace on a cold day - writing.

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