As a transitional figure who bridged the gap between the old masters of Spanish art and the first of the modern artists, Francisco Goya’s prints are known for their satirical and acerbic views of social norms and the futility of warfare.
A new University of San Diego exhibit, Goya’s Restless Monsters: “Los Caprichos” and the Birth of the Modern Print, demonstrates not only his prowess as a virtuosic and experimental printmaker but also his critical views of late 18th century Spanish society and biting cynicism about the human condition. Epigrams inscribed under the images reveal Goya’s facility with puns and his innate sense of how word and image can be powerfully combined.
The exhibit runs from Nov. 11 through Jan. 17 in the Robert and Karen Hoehn Family Galleries in Founders Hall. It’s a companion to another Goya exhibit, Disasters of War, currently on display until Dec. 12 in the Fine Arts Gallery of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice.
“Goya’s Los Caprichos is a major monument in the history of printmaking and offers today’s viewer the chance to see the full expressive potential of the etching and aquatint print techniques,” said Victoria Sancho Lobis, USD’s curator of the Print Collection and Fine Art Galleries. “Beyond this, the ambiguous symbolism of Goya’s compositions provokes unending debate about how these works may be interpreted.”
The 80 prints known as Los Caprichos were a product of their times but at the same time the clear, eloquent images were entirely new to their audience, setting the stage for foundational figures of modernism, such as Daumier, Manet, Redon and Picasso, Sancho Lobis said. The prints are on loan to USD from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The second exhibition, Disasters of War, chronicles the horrors of war in early 19th century Spain during the Peninsular War.
“It is our great privilege to exhibit these prints from the Los Angeles museum in the Hoehn galleries, particularly while we are able to present Goya’s Disasters of War from USD’s permanent collection,” Sancho Lobis said.
The public is invited to an opening reception for Los Caprichos at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 11. Regular hours for the exhibit are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, and noon to 6 p.m. on Thursdays.
Hours for Disasters of War are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Thursdays. Both exhibits are free. They are closed on university holidays.
— Liz Harman
Digital Image information: Los Caprichos no. 80 Ya es hora (It’s Time to Go), 1799; Paul Rodman Mabury Trust Fund (63.11.80); Digital image © 2009 Museum Associates / LACMA / Art Resource, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art.