Updated: Apr 20, 2020
Following the death of renowned painter Francisco Goya, a series of paintings were discovered covering the walls of the "Quinta Del Sorda". The series now known as the Black Paintings are generally as the most disturbing works ever created. Filled with dark imagery and subject matter, the series is rooted in Goya's growing pessimism for humanity and life itself. Much of the unsettling nature of the Black Paintings comes from the context behind their creation. Francisco Goya had suffered a horrible case of the flu which lead to his decline in mental health. It also left him for the most part deaf. All of this came during arguably the height of his career. Leaving him isolated. Alienated from the art community that lead to his success. The painting were done on the walls of his home with no intention of ever being shown. In this way the paintings become Goya's personal journal and notes on the world during his darkest times. They are intimate and display the true feelings of a defeated man. Ironically the name of the location translates to "villa of the deaf man".
While the entire series is not one you would want to delve into alone at night. There is one piece that stands out to me. It bears just as much weight as the others but presents it through a digestible image of a dog.
You may be wondering why this dog fits in with the rest of the series. At first glance it seems out of place when considering Goya's state of mind upon completion. This work lacks the striking visual cues driving a disturbed reaction. After all the face of fairly harmless dog is the only recognizable feature in the frame. For this reason this painting is often left out when analyzing the series as a whole. After spending some time with the work, I have arrived at the conclusion that for me this is the most disturbing work at all.
Abandonment. Lacking direction or motivation. Defeated. That what I am getting from this dog and by extension the artist. Locked away in his villa. Trapped in the silence of his own thoughts Goya's faith in the direction of society collapsed. The dog looking aimlessly up for motivation touches on the innate fear of being alone and insignificant. There are many things that a person may find disturbing. This piece does not frighten the viewer visually necessarily. Rather it attacks their psychological security. Sending them spiraling down the conceptual rabbit hole of introspective review. Questioning their own motives and goals. Wondering why they are doing what they are doin and if any of it is of worth. The viewer begins to realize they are buried up to their necks in the stress of life that they have chosen to surround themselves with. Unable to free ourselves we look to something greater to pull us up and in Goya's account there is nothing. No one to help.
Here are the other Paintings discovered at Goya's residence. Further review may be coming soon.