Critical Debate: Madrid – Dreams, Nightmares and Reflection


Francisco Goya – Saturn  devowering his children, 1819-23        -At the Prado

    Goya – Didn’t title any of these paintings as they were on the walls never to be publicly viewed thing — closest thing to the Saturn and his children story (Greek myth) gives it context.                         

  See construction of Goya’s house

  Rubens made same titled piece – is seen eating a live baby — Goya seems to be saying that he is mad – it is based in a state of mind is the villain based on us 

Unknown artist; Neptune c.135CE

 Do we see the same statue that the original viewers saw?

  Does it make any difference if we thing if this as an original sculpture or a copy 

  Does it make any difference when this may be a copy of a bronze sculpture — the eyes would have been painted, yet all we can see is blank white eyes has it been restored?

Salvador Dali, The precistance of Hitler, 1939     – At the Reina Sofia 

“Hitler turned me on in the highest” Salvador Dali

Is this a political painting? Does the age have an influence on it? The colour? The greyness may have had an influence – Is it a premonition of the war? Black dog in the background – Symbol for depression?


Richard Estes, Telephone Booths, 1967    -At the Thynessen

John Updike quote: on Richard Estes website 

“The reflections are really abscracted for the scale of the painting – interested in the idea of the reflections of mirrors and windows

“Utterly tender artistic irony” conditions of city life + mechanical development means he’s only just capturing the human essence their last few traces

Max Beckmannn – Cafe interior with mirror play, 1949        – At the Thynessen

What kind of world does this show? Do the reflections work in the same way they do in Estes picture? Are the reflections pleasurable? The way its painting is it like a vortex? The lines are off parallel? Is he after some form of vertigo?

Jan Van Eyck and Studio, The Fountain of Grace, c.1432      -At the Prado

The detail in the painting is very precise e.g. the 4 statues around him – related to the Hubert + Jan van Eyke, Ghent altar piece,1432

To the left of the painting in the bottom – good christmas to the right there were Jews so this painting is Anti-semantic (After this painting the Jews were expelled from Spain) The Ghent altar piece is going to heaven

MOVIE: THE MONUMENTS MEN – About the Nazi Artwork


Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights, 1490-1510      -At the Prado

Not the Bosch title – known as the strawberry tree

Not an altar piece – yet made to look like one – tryptic

Giraffe and elephant drawn accurately yet Bosch would never have seen one, yet next to it is a Kangaroo-Dog  / ironically there is a bear climbing a tree, the symbol of Madrid, yet there may have been no intention of the painting ending in Madrid. There is a few three headed bird  and a book reading bird thing — there could be literal readings of proverbs e.g cat out of the bag

1st panel- Adam and Eve and God 

3rd Panel- hell

What lives between Eden and hell? The middle of the tryptic could be seen as a “riot of pleasure” birds in the water // fish in the air bizarre   Carnival of people – inhabiled expression of sexual pleasure.   The top right panel shows towns burning – is that now? Did Bosch train as a manuscript illustratior 


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