Old Man Goya
In 1792, when he was forty-seven, the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya contracted an illness that left him stone deaf. Yet he continued to interact with the world and to create, spending the next thirty-five years in a world emptied of sound but bursting with images of pageantry, cruelty, and pathos.
In this brilliant, idiosyncratic book – a kaleidoscope of biography, memoir, history, and meditation – Julia Blackburn vividly imagines the artist’s world during this time. She recreates the artist’s friendships and love affairs and breathes life into the subjects of his paintings: an ethereally lovely duchess; the spoiled grotesques of the Bourbon court; the atrocities of the Napoleonic wars. Old Man Goya is a rare work of empathy and imagination, a stunning portrait of the mind and life of a great artist.
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Old man GoyaUser Review - Book Verdict
The author of both fiction and nonfiction, Blackburn (e.g., Daisy Bates in the Desert) has returned with a m lange of biography, historical fiction, and meditation on the life of Spanish painter Francisco de Goya. Although many academic works on Goya are available, Blackburn's reluctance to conform to any one genre makes this book on the painter's last 35 years unique. Blackburn's meticulous research into Goya's life, the cast of characters around him, and the impact of his hearing loss allowed her to re-create the most intimate moments. For example, in her description of Goya's relationship with the Duchess of Alba, Blackburn imagines the newly deaf Goya being seduced by one of the legendary subjects of his portraits. Goya purists may be uncomfortable when Blackburn goes off on tangents, as when she revels in meticulous descriptions of late 18th- and early 19th-century Spain or draws parallels between the death of her mother, a painter, and Goya's own demise. But in the end, Blackburn's subjective take on Goya the man works beautifully. She successfully creates a virtual tour through Spain's past and present and fills in the gaps about Goya's personal life with details one won't get from the audio tour at the Prado museum. Highly recommended. [See the interview with Blackburn on p. 96. Ed.] Adriana Lopez, "Criticas" ...
Review: Old Man GoyaUser Review - Goodreads
Excellent, enjoyable read. What an amazing tale of when Goya lost his hearing and lived such terrible times and yet accomplished some of his best work.