Francisco Goya: A Life (英語) ハードカバー – 2003/12/18
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"Goya, A life", is not only about Goya's work, it's a book that discusses in detail Spanish history from the mid-eighteenth century to the early politically volatile nineteenth century. Evan Connell has paid great attention to the Napoleonic era, and heavily discussed the subsequent implications upon the fate of Spain.
The language is concise, rich, and full of colorful adjectives clinging to the arduous subjects intimately discussed through the book. At some point Evan Connell takes some jabs at our current political situation, or international relations stereotyping this or that country. It is all done in good taste; therefore it brought a pleasant surprise, amidst the ocean of detailed information on every aspect of Goya's life, and age.
Lastly, know your Goya for God's sake. Know every painting, etching, mural, portrait, or caricature that Goya ever painted. Do your research, as without it you will be lost. There are no illustrations in this book, so for every painting discussed you either have to draw from your memory or keep google.com within reach.
I will only recommend this book to Goya fanatics. If you think as highly of Goya as I do, you should put yourself through the pain
I wanted to learn about Goya's 'life and times', but all I found was frustration so I gave up. There were too many byways and sidelights. Too many irrelevant excursions and convoluted thought processes at work in these pages. I fear that is the end of my education about this Spanish master.
Too bad. I would have welcomed a good biography.
One sees that Connell did his homework - the book smells of archival searches, but you are not overwhelmed by it: if more than one versions of an account exists, Connell presents them all, and very gently and wittily gives more weight to one over the others.
True - there are no illustrations except for the jacket and a poorly reproduced portrait inside, but seeing Goya's paintings would have been distractive from submerging into thinking about the artist's life. When necessary, Connell gives visual descriptions of the paintings he describes, and the verbal pictures are so good, that they revive even the most distant memories of reproductions seen in art history books.
I highly recommend this book, especially for artists.