The Black Paintings Were Not the Work of Francisco Goya
We wouldn’t dream of diminishing the work of any of the great masters on this list, or insist you start enjoying it less. But even great artists are just fallible human beings, which is why we can’t dismiss these theories about their famous work being the result of accidents, trickery, or outright fraud.
Some of the theories on this series will be pretty bizarre, but if you’ve found your way here, you’re probably okay with that. These ideas are rife with speculation; art historians, stick with your books and academic journals. In this article we will talk about The Black Paintings. The Black Paintings is the name given to a group of fourteen paintings by Francisco Goya from the later years of his life, likely between 1819 and 1823.
The Black Paintings are 14 murals supposedly painted by Francisco Goya on the wals of his house late in his life. Goya was a Spanish romantic artist of the 18th century, and his early work is dramatically different in subject matter and style from the Black Paintings.
As the story goes, Goya isolated himself for the final years of his life. Either he was mad or afraid of going mad (which may amount to the same thing), and the murals he painted on the walls of his home during that period reflect his mental state. His family had no idea what he was doing, and discovered the murals after Goya died.
There’s a theory Goya didn’t paint these murals. Art historian Juan Jose Junquera has collected several pieces of evidence suggesting the paintings are forgeries. For example, an inventory taken of the paintings uses words that were not used until the 1870s, though the inventory was supposedly written in the 1820s.
Junquera’s theory is Goya’s son, Javier, painted the murals, and Javier’s son, Mariano, passed them off as Goya’s so he could sell the house for a higher price. Why someone would radically divert from an artist’s style and subject matter when creating a forgery remains unclear.
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