Saturday 31 August 2013

Goya Tapestries

In my youth, I admired some simple Goya sketches of peasants I found in a folder in a small shop in Bloomsbury near the British Museum in London. I could almost have afforded one at the time and thought that the following month, with a few economies, I could probably have the savings to purchase one. The problem was, as with samplers, was which one would I choose? It was impossible to make a choice. Besides, I told myself, I could enjoy the sketches any time I passed the shop, so in a way they were already mine. Or such was my youthful logic at the time. Apart from his noble portraits, the work of Goya conjures for me the sketches he made of the unspeakable acts of men against men when set free to war. Brought up with the romantic and heroic films of WWII, I was plunged into the truth that everyone who had been at war knew, might have hinted at in their sad cups, but never spoke of openly. It was only recently that I found out that all the while, Goya had been one of the chief and most famous designers at the royal tapestry workshops founded nearly 300 years ago by Philip V and located a short walk southeast of Atocha railway station. Goya’s original drawings are in the Prado. The sheer joy and bucolic nature of them like these playful laundresses below is a world away from that dreadful Peninsula War.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder why he was so fond of making such sketches of war. Perhaps he has experienced the bitterness of living life in times of war and comparing them with the playful and happy life of the people away from war. :)