Oil on plaster, transferred to canvas
7/8 inches by 33 1/2 inches
53 cm x 85 cm
image, click to enlarge
detail image to enlarge.
painted this image in his dining room at La Quinta
del Sordo ("House of the Deaf Man").
the books on Goya that I have read, there is very
little said about this particular image. Overshadowed
by the more popular paintings (such as Saturn,
and Asmodea) this painting is not so much
dismissed as unexplored.
question would be what are these two eating companions
pointing at? Goya? Like the other 'Black Painting' Two Women Laughing,
this painting seems like a combination prank and
naked expression of Goya's isolation at his home
while recovering from illness at the age of at
least 72 (he may have been several years older).
Goya uses pointing fingers in his portraits of
the Duchess of Alba to make sure the viewer sees
some message Goya has written into the ground.
Perhaps these two dinner friends were pointing
to something outside of this painting (like a
saying?) being as all of the 'Black Paintings'
were cut from the walls of La Quinta in 1874,
it's easy to speculate what obvious meaning might
have been seen from placing this painting in its
the second head is nearly a "death head"
image (i.e., no eyes, a very close to skull-like
visage) it's possible to simply say that these
two pictures of aged mortality are pointing to
Goya and saying "you're next."
life size figures were Goya's dining-room companions.
By flickering candle-light they must have seemed
to be joining him for an evening meal. Not only
are their heads modelled in strong relief, but
the brush strokes themselves appear to be three
dimensional, floating on a greenish black ground.
The form is built up by slashing and dragging
a full brush across the ground. As the paint empties
out of the brush, Goya sometimes jabs the brush
and turns it at the same time to leave solid a
dab for the highlight on a finger tip or a knuckle.
Here the grotesque masks of the Burial
of the Sardine have grown into actual
features, and we are familiar with the protuberant
Bernard Myers, Goya, Spring Art Books,
Londond, 1964, page 40.