The Prado Museum and the Museo Nacional Arte Reina Sofía Museum set the cut of their collections with the birth of Picasso in 1881; however, since 2009 the “Reina” has a series of engravings by Francisco de Goya (Fuendetodos, 1746-Burdeos, 1828) corresponding to the Disasters of War, Caprichos and Disparates.
Why is Goya’s work included in room 201 of this museum if he was born, worked and died long before the birth of Pablo Picasso? With his condemnation and critique of the society in which he lived, he moved a century ahead of what are considered the main premises of modernity in art.
The industrial revolution, the rise of the bourgeois classes and the technological discoveries made the last years of the 19th century, the starting point of the artistic avant-garde and the recreations of utopian ideals that highlighted the contradictions of the events that took place at that time. Goya dared to do so in his time.
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The exhibition commemorating the Prado Museum’s 200th anniversary shows a wide selection of the master’s drawings. The title “Solo la voluntad me sobra” (Only my Strength of Will Remains”) reveals how Goya ended his days, with almost no faculties to exercise his profession but with the tenacity of a creative genius that never surrenders. In addition to the audacious, psychologist, satirical and tormented artist shown in his best-known series, we also find the first artist, a man, who we can call feminist, in the most contemporary sense of the word.
Francisco de Goya tirelessly draws the tortures to which the woman of his time is subjected, sometimes disguised with the smile of the Majas, other times veiled in the sadness of the faces of prostitutes or young girls who are used by the “Celestinas“. The violence practiced by the men of the daily environment of the women of this time is evident in his sketchbooks.
More than three hundred drawings make up this exhaustive catalogue that covers the artist’s entire artistic career. From his youth, where the freshness of the most realistic stroke surprises because it is the least shown work, to the representations of old age, Goya does justice to so many subjects that needed their own voice and reflects the vulnerability of human beings.
Goya cannot therefore fail to be considered the first painter of modernity and not only because of the condition granted to him as the predecessor of Zuloaga’s Black Spain as presented to him in the Museum of Contemporary Art, but also because of the solid and resounding commitment he acquired in his own time. A tireless chronicler of the abuses of power, of the false vocation of the religious and of the attitudes furthest from human rights. The painter, engraver and cartoonist of “aragonese” origin made it clear in his artistic creation that the main facet of a creator is to be a witness of his time, with sincerity and objectivity that serves to analyse the present and to leave a legacy that can serve future generations.
Only my Strength of Will Remains”. Goya. Drawings.