To its credit this exhibition (10 March-2 June) considers Goya’s myriad images of women not as clues to his putative trysts with the rich and famous, particularly with the Duchess of Alba, but as evidence of broader social, political, economic and popular issues of his time. Particularly in the drawings and prints we find a range of representations of women unmatched by any contemporary artist. Goya trains his cynical eye on the young and old, elite and common, but neither a proto-feminist nor a sardonic chauvinist picture of the artist emerges. Although the show has an organising idea or principle, the 50 paintings and 65 works on paper have been arranged chronologically because the National Gallery also recognised that the US public had not seen a Goya survey for decades and would need an overview. Top billing goes to the popular Majas, of course, but “The family of the Infante Don Luis” (above) from the Fondazione Magnani Rocca in Parma, nine oil-on-canvas tapestry cartoons along with six of the silk tapestries woven by the Royal Tapestry Factory of Santa Barbara make their US debuts. The exhibition is curated by Francisco Calvo Serraller, the former director of the Prado and is sponsored by the Friends of the Prado for their 20th anniversary.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Goya: images of women'