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The scribbles of a colossus of western art

All research to fund the work of an artist makes that emerges the essence of his way of creating and, often, the personality of the author. In these scientific

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The scribbles of a colossus of western art

All research to fund the work of an artist makes that emerges the essence of his way of creating and, often, the personality of the author. In these scientific studies often produce surprises about the authorship. Sometimes pleasant and other not so much. Two conservators from the Prado, Manuela Mena, maximum expert worldwide in Goya, and José Manuel Matilla, head of Drawings and Prints of the Prado, take five years working on the most important research done until now about the painter from Fuendetodos. This Wednesday has finally released the first of five volumes dedicated to the drawing of Goya, a project funded by the Botín Foundation in which you outline the stroke the more genial and personal of the artist, “a colossus of western art”, in the words of Falomir.

Letter from Goya to Martin Zapater.

But also serves to put an order in for some of the tasks that had given by good to date. The bad news affects six drawings: a portrait of the Boston museum, two of the Academy of Zaragoza, one of the Institute Valencia de Don Juan, another of a private collector, and the San Francisco de Borja property of The Prado. The positive attributes its authorship to a preparatory drawing for the Prairie of San Isidroy a letter addressed to his close friend Martin Zapater headed by a heart surrounded by a peculiar network of vessels. This letter, the property of a particular has been acquired for the Prado by the Botín Foundation and the Association of Friends of the Prado. Be presented to the public next Tuesday and has called the attention during the presentation. What pays this letter the theory of the alleged homosexuality of Goya? Responds Manuela Mena: "it Is impossible to deduce anything of the letters. They were very good friends but no one can reach beyond. It is said that a nephew removed the cards more committed but I think he did it for political reasons, not sexual".

a Thousand drawings

the director of The Prado, Miguel Falomir valued the desatribución of one of the drawings owned by the museum, saying that when “decisions are well argued, is placing value on the content of the collection. It is good for all. In addition, we lose one (San Francisco de Borja), we won another one (the preparatory of the Prairie), and add the letter”.

When you have published the five volumes that comprise the project, will have been reviewed about a thousand drawings. In the study presented in Santander, titled Volume II (the first will be the last and will draw the conclusions), 520 pages discusses 76 drawings, the Notebook Italian with his illustrations, and 242 letters. They are dated from the spring of 1769 and from 1771 until 1790, with examples of his books of drawings and etchings of the Caprichos. Written in the catalog Virginia Albarrán, Juan Carrete Parrondo, José Manuel Matilla, Gudrun Maurer, Manuela B. Mena Marqués and Gloria Solache.

Head of an angel drawn by Goya.

scientific findings of all this research, explain Mena and Matilla, certify that Goya had a unique ability to produce images and in something as personal as is the drawing, outside the paint made for hire, the artist poured all of his sense of humor and his capacity of innovation. The Notebook Italian is full of tracks unique, according to forward Manuela Mena. “There we see that, for him, the basis of everything is drawing. In Italy you learn to seek perfection through the study of Anatomy. Is an artist, incredible, fast and accurate. Both 25 years of age as at the end of his life.”

José Manuel Matilla specifies that in the always contentious question of the desatribuciones, in the study it outlines the scientific arguments, but that the works remain open to other possible contributions. “Everything is reflected in the catalogue raisonné, including that which we have seen has not come directly from the hand of the artist. We do not make erasures in the history”.

The analysis of the Notebook Italian has also served to examine the roles and the treatment of them was the artist. Missing pages, but this has not been an obstacle to reconstruct the way in which the ordering, the precision with which the rose and many other details that speak of a world as fantastic as rigorous.


Manuela Mena: “For many, it is clear that the letters of Goya to reflect a homosexual love” Goya, painter of the crisis

is There a way to retrieve those lost pages? Matilla responds that everything can be rebuilt but you have to be very careful with who they believe to have these pieces. Note that it is common to the calling of antique dealers or collectors, ensuring that they have in their possession some of those lost pages. “Not usually the case. Many are recreations of recent or belonging to other artists. There is No doubt when it comes to Goya”.

the conclusion of all The work, the four volumes remaining, it seems that it is going to extend in time beyond the next year. When the project was presented, in 2014, there was talk of 2019 as the date of delivery. It shall not be so, nor it seems that you worry a lot Javier Botín, president of the Foundation funding the project, who recalled that two decades of work with the Prado for the research of the Spanish design - (Rosales, Solana, Murillo). It is a project that originally participated Pérez Sánchez, director of the Prado for six years, until his death, in 1891. “Gather, play, and study every one of the drawings of Goya has been for us the example of how a private institution can collaborate with a public entity such as the Prado. The result is a reference work of the world,” he says.

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