Goya catalogue raisonné
February 26, 2010
Digital catalogue raisonné of Goya works underway
The site goyadiscovery has long been working toward a scholarly alternative to the traditional authentication methods of the past century. In particular, the site has championed the work of Goya expert Antonio Pereles. They have now announced an effort at a digital registery of Goya works:
"The catalogue in question is now being worked on and it will contain a body of yet undiscovered Goyas paintings and etchings that have all been subjected to the strictest digitalized, computerized examination following the procedures and quality standards of the Technical University of Mataro,Spain copyrighted method."
In particular are the efforts about Goya graphisms (or micro-signatures) used to distinguish Goya works, which is a field Dr. Pereles has labored on.
In reference to this subject, the Polytechnics School of Mataró in Spain has released an academic paper describing a digital method for examining Goya works. This is one of the methods adopted in the effort on the digital catalog of Goya art works. From the paper:
"Goya is one of the greatest painters of 18th century. Goya taught a lot of students his technique and style of painting and drawing in his school, so there are a lot of works that are not authentic of Goya but they can be catalogued as Goya’s, because they were made by their disciples. Also, some contemporary painters imitated and falsified Goya’s work [Mor94]. Goya constantly experimented on new techniques and broke his own rules, developing a very sharp style [Sch07]. He mixed portraits, self-portraits, landscapes, religious themes and others. So the work of the expert specialists is very hard as they must study a lot of parameters in each work of art.
After studying a great number of Goya’s work, it is possible to claim the next hypothesis [Veg91]: “Goya carried out his work with characteristic strokes, made up with spelling of his surname (G – o – y– a). He shaped to lines, outlines, light touches, shadows, contrasts, … always being covered up”.
These small prints are called graphisms. Different authors have shown those small prints in Goya’s work ([Med70], [Fau96]) as particular characteristics of painter. But since the works of [Agu97] and [Rod99] the extraction of this characteristic was not automated. Another work [Veg00] was previously made but this one was not automatic.
...This work does not intend to look for signatures as other authors have done. It only looks for small prints present in Goya’s work ([Agu97], [Rod99]). Other painters’ works of art were processed with this application but graphisms were not localized. In general, all of segmented areas were classified as no-graphisms, only in few cases the Graphisms Recognition localized some lines as graphisms ‘A’ and ‘O’, which are not significant. Other painters’ works of art (Velazquez, Dalí, Picasso and Fortuny) have also beeen analyzed to prove that lines as graphisms were not unwilling painted in Goya’s."
The entire paper is well worth reading, and I am seeking permissiion to present the entire piece online here at this web site. Meanwhile, goyadiscovery has the PDF of the article online for download.
"From this headlong seizure of life we should not expect a calm and refined art, nor a reflective one. Yet Goya was more than a Nietzschean egoist riding roughshod over the world to assert his supermanhood. He was receptive to all shades of feeling, and it was his extreme sensitivity as well as his muscular temerity that actuated his assaults on the outrageous society of Spain." From Thomas Craven's essay on Goya from MEN OF ART (1931).
"...Loneliness has its limits, for Goya was not a prophet but a painter. If he had not been a painter his attitude to life would have found expression only in preaching or suicide." From Andre Malroux's essay in SATURN: AN ESSAY ON GOYA (1957).
"Goya is always a great artist, often a frightening one...light and shade play upon atrocious horrors." From Charles Baudelaire's essay on Goya from CURIOSITES ESTRANGERS (1842).
"[An] extraordinary mingling of hatred and compassion, despair and sardonic humour, realism and fantasy." From the foreword by Aldous Huxley to THE COMPLETE ETCHINGS OF GOYA (1962).
"His analysis in paint, chalk and ink of mass disaster and human frailty pointed to someone obsessed with the chaos of existence..." From the book on Goya by Sarah Symmons (1998).
"I cannot forgive you for admiring Goya...I find nothing in the least pleasing about his paintings or his etchings..." From a letter to (spanish) Duchess Colonna from the French writer Prosper Merimee (1869).