Goya in the Twilight of Enlightenment


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Janis A. Tomlinson


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The great Spanish painter Francisco Goya has long been considered an artist of the Enlightenment who took a heroic stance against the forces of political oppression, and critics have read his art as a reflection of his renegade ideas. In this book Janis A. Tomlinson offers a fresh and innovative interpretation of the major paintings of Goya's mid-career, disentangling the historic Goya from the romanticized Goya and placing his works in the context of the ideological, social, and artistic changes of the times.

Tomlinson examines the social history of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Spain from the outbreak of the French Revolution and its effect on Spain through the restoration of Spain's Bourbon monarchy in 1814. She discusses such well-known works by Goya as the Family of Carlos IV, the Maja vestida and the Maja desnuda, and the Second of May and Third of May, reassessing them in relation to Goya's changing patrons: Carlos IV and María Luisa, the court favorite Manuel Godoy, the rulers of the interim regimes of the Napoleonic years, Fernando VII, and, finally, the broader public characterized by its alienation from a conservative restoration regime. Emphasizing the complexity of the context that engendered these paintings, Tomlinson demonstrates that any reading of Goya's works must acknowledge the unique circumstances of their patronage and ideology in a period of transition and ambivalence.

Janis A. Tomlinson is associate professor of art history at Columbia University.

"This will be the basic book on Goya for some years to come. It revises fundamental beliefs about Goya and his participation in a variable and sometimes violent era."—Gridley McKim-Smith, Bryn Mawr College

"Tomlinson looks at Goya without the blinkers of old mythologies or current ideologies. The meticulous reconstruction of Goya's changing world and his ability to adapt to it restores the human and historical dimensions of the artist and permits new readings of some of his major works. This is the most stimulating book on Goya to have appeared in recent years."—Jonathan Brown, Carroll Milton Petrie Professor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

"This book challenges accepted notions of Goya as an artist of the Enlightenment who shared the same concerns and preoccupations as his intellectual friends and patrons. . . . An absorbing and intelligent study of Goya's secular paintings in context."—Gabriele Finaldi, Art Newspaper

"Erudite, vigorous and demythologizing. . . . A work of formidable intellectual and analytical power whose contextual recreations and lucid readings of major paintings will become the point of departure for all future studies of middle-period Goya. . . . Her outstandingly successful enterprise is magnificently supported by the publisher, both in the attention given to layout and in the excellence of the reproductions."—Philip Deacon, Art History

"[A] fascinating book . . . [Tomlinson] moves the study of Goya into new and immensely fertile terrain."—Robert Professor, Times Literary Supplement

"A fascinating read. Profesor Tomlinson is refreshingly stubborn in her desire not to bow to received opinion."—Paul Humble, British Journal of Aesthetics

Winner of the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies’ 1993 Eleanor Tufts Award
ISBN: 9780300054620
Publication Date: October 28, 1992
296 pages, 7 1/2 x 10
70 b/w + 30 color illus.

Images of Women

Edited by Janis A.

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