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"Goya: Los Caprichos"
2001-01-10 until 2001-02-28
Dimock Gallery, George Washington University
Washington, DC, USA United States of America

The George Washington University Dimock Gallery presents Goya: Los Caprichos. This exhibition will feature the Spanish masters celebrated collection of eighty prints. The series, which is part of the holdings of the Museo de Zaragoza, Spain (Diputacion General de Aragon), has already traveled to four countries in the Americas; The Gallery will be its only venue in the United States. The Embassy of Spain provided major funding for this exhibition and GWs Diversity Program Clearinghouse provided additional funding.

The Caprichos have never been presented in its entirety in the Washington area. Goya: Los Caprichos offers the most comprehensive overview of the suite and provides a rare opportunity for examination by print aficionados and art lovers.

The Caprichos are one of the most influential graphic series in the history of Western art and continue to inspire contemporary artists. Although comparable in importance to works by Tiepolo, Hogarth and Turner, the prints echo the Baroque tradition of Rembrandt‚s dramatic lighting effects and Piranesis grotesquely fanciful interiors. The peculiar sense of timelessness expressed in the prints may be attributed to Goyas choice of aquatint for its tonal properties and ability to weave an abstract aura of shadow and light.

Goya acknowledged the influence of nature, Rembrandt and Velazquez in his work. Of his legacy, which included some 280 etchings and lithographs, the Caprichos are the most celebrated. The works continue to be as current today as they were two hundred years ago, perhaps because Goya lived in times of deep transformation and his work expresses contradictions not too different from those of our own times.

Enigmatic and controversial, Goyas Caprichos were published in 1799 at a time of social repression and economic crisis in Spain. Influenced by Enlightenment thinking, the painter set out to analyze the human condition and denounce social abuses and superstitions. The Caprichos was his passionate declaration that the chains of social backwardness had to be broken if humanity was to advance. The series attests to the artist‚s political liberalism and revulsion towards ignorance and intellectual oppression at the same time as it mirrors Goya‚s ambivalence toward authority and the church.

The Caprichos deal with themes such as the Spanish Inquisition, the abuses of the church and the nobility, witchcraft, child rearing, avariciousness and greed and the frivolity of young women. The subhuman cast of the Caprichos includes goblins, monks, celestinas (procuresses), prostitutes, witches, animals acting like human fools and aristocrats; these personages populate the world on the margins of reason, where no clear boundaries distinguish reality from fantasy.

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
Plate 43: El Sueno de la razon produce monstruos
(The sleep of reason produces monsters), 1799
Etching and aquatint

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