Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Goya's Paradox of Human Life

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday [www.pbs.gov.ph]
Goya's painting of two men clubbing each other while
being swallowed by quagmire to their inevitable death.


If there is Plato's Allegory of the Cave - a man escapes and sees the truth and that it is his obligation to lead others to get out of the cave of ignorance;

If there is Thoreau's Walden Pond that man's isolation from society is realization of his inseparability, however principled he may be;

If there is Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo that tells at the end the emptiness of the soul, triumphant one may have revenged on his enemies;

If there is Burnett's Secret Garden that has long been forgotten and that having the courage to open it is discovering the joys of the past and starting a new life.

If there is Picasso's Guernica mural, symbolic of peace triumphant over war, coded secretly to carry on the message in novels, sculpture, movies, photographs, etc., to this day;

If there is Rizal's Noli and Fili denouncing abuses of colonial masters, demanding reform and equitable governance, and inevitably igniting the flame of revolution as the ultimate recourse;

If there is Goya's Two Men Fighting in a Quicksand, exuding strong and direct message to warring nations, that no one wins at the end, mankind ultimately the loser;

It is art - the brush and the pen - that has really changed the world - and is still changing it. ~


Francisco Goya (1746-1828), Spanish painter, is considered "the Father of Modern Art." His career began at the close of the late Baroque period, and the rise of Gothic art, extending over a period of more than 60 years, for he continued to draw and paint until his 82nd year.

To understand Goya's paintings, it is equally important to know the life of painter. Three stages marked his long active life.

  • His attitude towards life in his youth, when he accepted the world as it was quite happily,
  • His manhood when he began to criticize it, and
  • His old age when he became embittered and disillusioned with people and society.
The world had changed completely during his lifetime. He saw the society in which he achieved great success dissolved during the Napoleonic war, so that he turned to new ideals, as reflected in this painting of two men clubbing each other while being swallowed by quicksand.

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