Eyewitness Art: Goya by Patricia Wright
Eyewitness Art: Goya
By Patricia Wright
64 page Hardcover
Published by Dorling Kindersley 1993
"Reading level: Ages 9-12"
There is a 1999 edition of this work with a different cover. I do not know if the contents were revised from the earlier 1993 version. To see the current edition for sale, you can go to Amazon Goya - Eyewitness Art - Patricia Wright
This is an excellent volume for children with serious interests in the fine arts. The reproduction quality is very good, and Wright's concise, short written notes provides a sort of illustrated timeline overview of Goya's work and life. Includes analysis and excerpts of Goya's private letters, "key" biographies, glossary of words, and a map showing the locations of museums and galleries owning at least five Goya paintings (I noticed that the USA National Gallery is not mentioned: they have more than five).
Although these DK books (in the Eyewitness Art series) are directed at a certain young age group, I have picked up the volume many times for reference. It covers so much in such a short "blurb" style that it's a handy reference tool. It also shows off the kind of analysis that is not easy to find elsewhere, for example pages 14 and 15 which break down Goya's "The Parasol" into picture elements, showing the color palette used and kinds of brush strokes.
The graphic design of the pages are not unlike that of a magazine in some way. It is crammed with text and imagery that utilizes all of the available space, and the photographs of unusual odds and ends (for example, page 17 has a foto of Goya's actual etching plate for Sebastian de Morra along with a copy of the print itself) is interesting and personable.
I wish there was an equivalent "adult" version of this kind of book that was as lively in it's design and images, though with a greater emphasis on written information. That is not a negative remark against the 64 pages making up Wright's book, rather a simple note of space limitations.
(below) The dust jacket flaps from the book
More Goya Books
"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).
Original page January 7, 2005 | Updated December 10, 2020