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Goya: The Last Carnival (Reaktion Books - Essays in Art and by Victor I. Stoichita

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By Victor I. Stoichita

This exciting booklet on Goya concentrates at the last years of the eighteenth century as a missed milestone in his life.Goya waited until eventually 1799 to post his celebrated sequence of drawings, the Caprichos, which provided a private imaginative and prescient of the "world became upside down". Victor I. Stoichita and Anna Maria Coderch contemplate how issues of Revolution and Carnival (both noticeable as inversions of the status quo) have been obsessions in Spanish tradition during this interval, and make provocative connections among the shut of the 1700s and the tip of the Millennium. specific emphasis is put on the artist's hyperlinks to the underground culture of the gruesome, the grotesque and the violent. Goya's drawings, regarded as a private and mystery laboratory, are foregrounded in a learn that still reinterprets his work and engravings within the cultural context of his time.

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Extra resources for Goya: The Last Carnival (Reaktion Books - Essays in Art and Culture)

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An examination of such sketches reveals that the carnivalesque theme of reversals was constant and that it accompanied Coya throughout his long and turbulent career. The later formalization of the relationship of reversal can only be understood once a thematically structured study 37 of his work has been undertaken. Only within the framework of such a study will carnivalesque 'disorder' reveal its figures. Let us begin with the most important. THE THIRD SEX (OR NEITHER AND BOTH) There is an early piece of work produced by the young Coya (by this we mean produced before his 1792/} crisis and illness) that anticipates the reversal of sexual roles, which became a much more frequent theme in his later drawings and prints (illus.

6 The custom was widespread in Spain and also in the Western Pyrenees, but the story of what actually took place is ambiguous and not without contradictions. According to tradition, it was not a 'sardine' that was buried (for sardines would become essential nutrients during the days of abstinence to follow) but half a pig. This half-pig was shaped like a giant sardine, and the resulting formal and symbolic games of opposition between 'lean days' and 'fat days' initiated a whole network of propitiatory inversions and ironies.

If in this drawing Coya was seeing the 'burial of the sardine' as the victory - grotesque or burlesque, it does not really matter - of religion over the festival, in the final painting mourning becomes a triumph and is projected onto an overcast sky, as though to deconstruct it. In place of the insignias of power and death, the banner displays a broad smile. A delirious heaving crowd carries this new banner, which seems not to want to remain upright. Its oblique position at the centre of the image underscores its instability and highlights the erratic dynamism of the human mass.

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