I have to correct something from my previous post regarding Francisco Goya’s Los Caprichos. I stated that Goya had ended his life in madness, and that was wrong, at least according to Robert Hughes’ biography Goya. That will teach me to rely on information from Wikipedia.
Indeed, Goya lived to the ripe old age of 82, remarkable for his time, and though physically infirm at the end, he was mentally still fairly sharp. During his later years, he painted the walls of his home Quinta del Sordo with wild and sometimes macabre scenes: his so-called “Black Paintings.” These were done clearly to satisfy some personal need for expression and therefore are some of Goya’s most powerful works.
One of the paintings, “A Pilgrimage to San Isidro” (portion above) is a depicition of a local religious celebration as a hellish procession through a landscape worthy of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
Another, “The Great He-goat (witches sabbath)” depicts…well it depicts a witches sabbath. (Portion below)
And another, “Saturn devouring one of his sons” is well known and a true masterpiece of art horror. (Below) According to Hughes, there are some reports that allege when the painting was transferred from the walls of his home to canvas, long after Goya’s death, the artisans edited out an erect penis from the devouring god. If this were true, it would have made the image all that more disturbing and powerful.
So to clarify, Goya was not mad at the end, but merely a genius.
The collection of the Black Paintings can be viewed here.