Meadows Museum hosts lecture on Goya’s final years

Susan Galassi spoke on Spanish artist Francisco Goya’s shifting styles at the Goya in Bordeaux lecture in the Meadows Museum Thursday at 6 p.m. The lecture, in celebration of the museum’s newest addition to the Goya exhibit, focused on Goya’s final four years in Bordeaux, France, and his transition to modern style during that time.

“If we look at what contributed to Goya’s final flourishing, what I find, is a combination of genius and a powerful will to go on in the face of any and all obstacles,” Galassi, PhD from New York University, said. “A temperament opposed to rules and driven to invention.”

During his years in Bordeaux, Goya was deaf, had failing eyesight, and needed assistance to walk. He continued to paint, and he continued to draw, but his style changed. He switched from using the sharp tip of a pen, to the more soft end of crayon. His works were simplified and emotive.

“Goya seems to have recognized that new times call for new manners of representation,” Galassi said. “The old models of representation were out-born, and in this way he anticipated modernism.”

Galassi also talked about how his transition in style marked a pivotal point in the history of art. He became “the last of the old pastors, and the first of the moderns.”

“To me, his willingness to put everything he had into a painting, with bold use of paint and composition, paved the way for future modern artists like Picasso and Manet,” Melissa Emmert, Art History SMU grad, said in an earlier interview.

Goya used people he knew, rather than commissions, for his paintings in his late years. Meadows Museum Curator, Nicole Atzbach talked about a sense of sweetness that this brought to his work during a Q&A; after the lecture.

“It’s a very nice period, his late period,” Atzbach said. “It was genius, and also a very beautiful part of his life.”

The museum acquired the Goya exhibit’s sixth piece, one of Goya’s last works of art, this past October. The painting, Portrait of Mariano Goya, is of his 21-year-old grandson from when he visited him in Madrid in 1827, just months before is death at 82 years old, April 16, 1828. Meadows Museum also looks to add 200 prints of Goya’s work next Fall.

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