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Old Man Goya

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In 1792, when he was forty-seven, the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya contracted a serious illness which left him stone deaf. In this extraordinary book Julia Blackburn follows Goya through the remaining thirty-five years of his life. It was a time of political turmoil, of war, violence and confusion, and Goya transformed what he saw happening in the world around him into his visionary paintings, drawings and etchings.

These were also years of tenderness for Goya, of intimate relationships with the Duchess of Alba and with Leocadia, his mistress, who was with him to the end. Julia Blackburn writes of the elderly painter with the intimacy of an old friend, seeing through his eyes and sharing the silence in his head, capturing perfectly his ferocious energy, his passion and his genius.

From Publishers Weekly

08 April 2002 – A portraitist for the Spanish aristocracy before being struck deaf after an illness in 1792, Goya (1746–1828) subsequently developed a bolder, rougher style of religious fresco, sided with the French after they invaded, was pardoned by the Spanish king in 1814, and lived a more and more reclusive life, finally going into exile in Bordeaux in his final four years. In a conceit familiar from her previous titles (including The Emperor's Last Island, where British writer Blackburn juxtaposed a chronicle of Napoleon on St. Helena with her own life and travels), this book is as much about Blackburn's life as it is the second half of Goya's. Blackburn free associates, for example, from memories of her mother's paint studio to episodes from the life of Goya, finding parallel grotesques in each world. She interlards her narrative of Goya's life with her own tourist trips tracking his movements through Spain and France to the point where it can be difficult to tell the sets of experiences apart. The faux naïve tone that dominates the book seems to be an attempt to imitate the art writer John Berger's famed "peasant" style, with vastly inferior results: "Goya the deaf man makes me think of a toad.... But before he was deaf he was able to hear and before he was old he was young." For those serious about Goya's life and work, this book obscures more than it reveals.
Old Man Goya
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  • 9,49 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Art & Architecture
  • Published: 30 September 2010
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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