Goya and the grotesque: a study of themes of witchcraft and monstrous bodies
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Francisco de Goya lived during the "Enlightenment," an age associated with reason, when traditional superstitions became viewed as ridiculous beliefs of the ignorant poor. Goya adopted the theme of witchcraft into his artistic oeuvre from a desire to experiment with invention and fantasy. The Malleus maleficarum, 1487, which promoted stereotypes of witchcraft in order to eradicate witches, influenced the artistic iconography of witchcraft established in the Renaissance and further developed in the Baroque period. Goya revived the subject in the 1790s and incorporated a burlesque tone to expose and satirize the superstitions behind it. Goya ridiculed the vices of clerical institutions and mocked the former stereotypes of witches and their deviant acts. Goya also used grotesque figures in his Caprichos prints to satirize human folly, incorporating images of the monstrous body in men to implicate them. His late career would see a change in style in the Black Paintings, again using the theme of witchcraft in a darker, more pessimistic integration of humor. The monstrous male also appears in the Black Paintings, in the form of Saturn, using the grotesque as a means to represent melancholy and to explore the boundary between horror and humor.
Table of Contents
An introduction to Goya's use of the grotesque -- A history of the iconography of witchcraft -- Satire and the Osuna paintings -- The Monstrous body