The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (/ˈɡɔɪə/; Spanish: [fɾanˈθisko xoˈse ðe ˈɣoʝa i luˈθjentes]; 30 March 1746 – 16 April 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker. He is considered the most important Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Los caprichos (The Caprices) is a set of 80 prints in aquatint and etching created by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya in 1797–1798, and published as an album in 1799. The prints were an artistic experiment. (source by Wikipedia)
The period in which Goya was active was an 'era of upheaval' in which major historical changes took place in Spain as well as in all of Europe. Revolutions by citizens influenced by the Enlightenment took place everywhere, and there were constant clashes between the citizens who wanted to abolish the monarchy and establish a republic, and the aristocrats or royals who wanted to maintain their vested interests.
In this turbulent time, Goya captured the situation of the time in a satirical and realistic way with his own colors and style of painting on canvas.
<The Sleep of Reason Begets Monsters>, the 43rd work of the print book <Los caprichos>, depicts an artist sleeping on a desk. A lynx, a cat, a swarm of bats, and seven owls surround him in the dark space.
From the point of view that it is impossible to separate the life and art of an artist, Goya can be seen as one of the painters who expressed his life as art. And he wanted to criticize and analyze the times with his own color and experimental spirit as an artist.
The artist who falls asleep when looking at his paintings like that is our state.
Especially, "The Disasters of War (Spanish: Los desastres de la guerra)" is a series of 82 prints created between 1810 and 1820. The first 47 pieces show the horrors of war. The second 18 works depict the effects of hunger. The last 17 days reflected the disappointment associated with the restoration of the Bourbon family.
This engraving series starts with the copper engraving below. As if foreshadowing the aura of war, the face of the man kneeling on his knees is full of fear and anxiety.
In the fifth engraving, women are fighting with swords. If you look at the current situation in Ukraine, women are also making Molotov cocktails and older people are training to shoot. Even the socially weak are engulfed in the flames of war.
Goya realistically captured the horrors and misery of war in a series. A war breaks out and her mother takes her child and flees with her children in horror.
The picture below depicts people or corpses who are all dead and left alone. It is more like a documentary than a painting because it realistically depicts the tragedy of war.
In series 71, the devil is writing something to a book. What does the devil want to write in history? At this time, a person very similar to this devil's face comes to mind. I pray that the war in Ukraine will end soon.
Myungja Anna Koh