Goya Disparates - Strange Madness
"...the dark paintings belong to the great Disparates.
The subtlest of these, Strange Madness, plays on the precariousness of life, suggested by the branch of the dead tree, on the cadaveric face of one of the women, on the owl's face of another, on the group's resemblance to a nest of night birds, on the strangeness of the meeting, of the garrulous hand, and of the check pattern of the shawl, and lastly on sleep and night with the pallid dash of colour below that hints at the moon ...Let us not forget the part played in the story by the hand - - where fate is written - - and by the birds of night, which symbolize or accompany the Devil. The Family of Charles IV would be less disturbing if the face of the Queen did not rise above it like an owl's head."
Andre Malraux Saturn: An Essay on Goya, Phaidon Publishers 1957, page 142.
"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).