Thursday, April 13, 2006

Songs Of Almodóvar

I have been thinking about Goya and Spanish painting while in the studio recently.

Songs Of Almodóvar
Gregg Chadwick
"Songs Of Almodóvar"
48"x36" oil on linen 2006

In Southern California, Spain is never far away. The lilting sound of Spanish is almost an aural fragrance in the air.

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746 - 1828)
"Woman with Clothes Blowing in the Wind"
Carbon and Watercolor on Ivory

"I've no more sight. No hand, no pen, nor inkwell, I lack everything - all I've got left is will."
- Goya in a letter to a Spanish friend. 1825

There is a wonderful piece by Robert Hughes on Goya in the Guardian. I have quoted a few lines concerning Goya's late paintings on ivory:

"He was short of money, and friends proposed that he should make himself some by doing a new issue of the Caprichos, but Goya refused to compromise himself by repetition.

Instead he spoke of something entirely new in his work: miniatures on ivory. Not the licked, frozen, highly detailed miniatures one associates with the period, but expressive ones, tiny but broadly brushed relative to their surface, full of accidents, blots and runs, "of a kind I've never seen before, done entirely with the point of a brush". He said he had finished about 40 of these. Not that many survive, but the Frick show is by far the largest group of them that has ever been exhibited. And they are wonderful, charged with all the sensuality and terror of his larger works, but rarely more than three inches square, and painted in carbon black and dilute watercolour on little plaques of ivory. One is enchanted by their spontaneity - how a mere drip of paint, blotted and diluted, becomes a face, or the looming mass of a majo's cloak, or the engulfing shadow behind a figure.

These miniatures are tiny in size but large in scale, and they contain some of the most beautiful feats of controlled chance that would be seen in art until the 20th century. They show that, almost to the end of his life, to paint and to invent were, for Goya, the same."
- Robert Hughes on Goya in the Guardian.

More on Spain:
*"Goya's Last Works" is at the Frick Collection, New York, until May 14-
Goya at the Frick

*Robert Hughes' volume on Goya is a must read -Goya by Robert Hughes

*Jeanette Winterston on Goya

*The Films of Pedro Almodóvar

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746 - 1828)
The Forge
71 1/2 in. x 49 1/4 in.
oil on canvas
Frick Collection

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