Goya in therapy – The Mysterious Pinturas Negras

The series of fourteen murals was painted in the last years of Goya’s life. Aged 72, he moved outside of Madrid to a house once inhabited by a deaf man. Hence the name, but it was well-fitting also for Goya who was nearly deaf after a fever he had suffered 26 years earlier. The murals were executed with oils directly onto the walls of the dining and sitting rooms, intended only for private use as there is no documentation that they were commissioned. The old painter most probably never intended for them to be public, as he imbued them with his greatest fears, delusions and indignations.
All the monsters from his soul found their reflections in the dark colours and eerie themes, as if the painting of ‘pinturas negras’ (black paintings) was a sort of an auto-therapy  - writes Magda Michalska. 

What could have pushed Goya to execute these grim murals? A combination of ever-deteriorating health and first-hand experiences of warstate terror, violence and of course the conflict with the Inquisition. The amounts of fear, panic and suffering that Goya experienced exceeded the limits of the bearable. The only way to let his suffering out was to paint the bizarre worlds able to contain these quantities of pain.
Two Old Men
The lack of balance recurring in all the compositions confirms Goya’s innovative and very progressive style, heralding the 20th century’s Expressionism. The figures appear off-center, suspended, weirdly cut-off  ...

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