GOYA Y LUCIENTES, Francisco de
(b. 1746, Fuendetodos, d. 1828, Bordeaux)

The Giant

Aquatint with burnishing (first state), 292 x 210 mm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Goya was a fashionable and successful painter of royal portraits and tapestry cartoons when in 1799, three years after surviving a nearly fatal illness, he published a set of 80 satirical etchings called Los Caprichos, now the best known of his prints. He went on to produce three other sets of etchings, and at the age of 80 in Bordeaux, he took up the brand-new medium of lithography and created some of the greatest lithographs ever made. This print is not part of any series, although it was done during the period of The Disasters of War, between 1810 and 1820, while Spain was devastated first by the armies of Napoleon and then by famine and civil disorder. The Giant, of which only six impressions are known, stands out as the most monumental and powerfully sculptural single figure among his dramatic etchings. It resembles the "black paintings" that Goya painted about 1820 on the walls of his house near Madrid. The Giant announces not only 19th-century Impressionism but also 20th-century Surrealism and Expressionism.

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