Robin Simon at Literary Review:
Francisco Goya y Lucientes was a mass of contradictions. He was a liberal, initially sympathetic to the French Revolution, who liked nothing better than to go hunting with successive absolutist monarchs of Spain. He was deputy director of the Royal Academy in Madrid, yet believed that traditional academic training was useless, insisting that ‘there are no rules in Painting’ and the ‘servile obligation of making all study or follow the same path is a great impediment for the Young’.
Goya was by disposition anticlerical, though he happily executed countless religious images designed to satisfy Spanish Catholic worshippers. These paintings are, frankly, rather soupy. That is not what we expect from Goya, who is usually seen as more loopy than soupy: this is the man who created the ‘Black Paintings’, Los Sueños, The Disasters of War, The Third of May 1808 and Los Caprichos.