Francisco Jose de Goya (1746-1828) Yard with Lunatics, 1794 Oil on canvas Goya started discovering art at a young age. He was born to Jose Benito de Goya y Franque, a gilder, and Gracia de Lucientes y Salvador. Francisco spent his childhood in Fuendetodos, Spain then later moved to Zaragoza. He often moved, mastering art along the way. In 1773 Goya married Josefa Bayeu. Over a period of five years he had painted about 42 designs. His popularity began to lead him into an entire world of art. During the middle of his career, Goya often painted for royalty.
He had reached his peak of popularity with the noble ones. However between late 1792 and early1793, a serious illness, whose exact nature is not known, left Goya deaf, and he became withdrawn. During his recuperation, he undertook a series of experimental paintings. He turned to more manageable and more personal projects, perhaps inspired by works from abroad that he had seen while in Cadiz. His small pictures of 1793-4 introduce a new era in his art, and it was now that his style began to emerge.
Many of his scenes depict bullfighting, intense, haunting themes, reflective of the artist’s fear of insanity, and his outlook on humanity. Although these themes can be seen in many of his paintings, I believe “Yard with Lunatics” depicts his style the best. Yard with Lunatics was painted around the time of the French declaration of war on Spain, when Goya’s deafness and fear of mental illness were developing, and he was increasingly complaining of his health. The painting came about in his stage of darkness. This painting is usually compared to “The Madhouse”, a similar painting by Goya.
Goya wrote that the works served “to occupy my imagination, tormented as it is by contemplation of my sufferings. ” The series, he said, consisted of pictures which “normally find no place in commissioned works. ” It has been described as a somber vision of human bodies without human reason and as one of Goya’s deeply disturbing visions of sadism and suffering. “Yard with Lunatics” opposes his previous designs, which depicted the way he wanted the rest of his career to be like. They were full of fantasy and naturalism. However, he had an alternate future.
In a 1794 letter to his friend Bernardo de Yriarte, Goya wrote that the painting shows “a yard with lunatics, and two of them fighting completely naked while their warder beats them, and others in sacks; (it is a scene I witnessed at Zaragoza)”. To some art historians, this picture portrays a point in Goya’s career where he moves from a world in which there are no shadows to one in which there is no light. Meadows Museum editors quote the agreement: This small but surprisingly powerful work was produced at a most critical juncture of Goya’s long career.
In the last months of 1792, the artist suffered a mysterious illness that left him physically debilitated and permanently deaf. While recuperating, he undertook a series of small-scale paintings in which, as he wrote, “I have succeeded in making observations which ordinarily are not allowed in commissioned works. ” Although Goya’s work conveyed how he saw the world at that time, it was also symbolic. Yard with Lunatics as a whole symbolizes the chaotic lifestyle of the world. The fighting naked men are trapped in a hole where psychotics were thrown away and forgotten.
The French War probably inspired the chaos in the painting. Peter K. Klein’ argument also corresponds: Towards the eighteenth century, there was a growing interest in and fascination with manifestations of insanity and its relationship with reason, hand, and contemporary medicine considered madness in a rationalistic, enlightened and increasingly scientific way, starting to isolate lunatics as potentially curable patients in special institutions and attempting empirically to classify the various mental diseases.
On the other hand, there was a more ambiguous, partly romanticizing and idealizing attitude in literature, philosophy and art, which placed madness next to genius, as a source of creativity and as an opportunity for a deep, more genuine and non-alienated experience of human life. The dark, grey, and green colors symbolize the way Goya pictured his life. His entire world had taken a turn for the worse and his view of his life was altered. Goya was in a very ill state and he could not see the light or goodness in his situation.
As a result of this, his paintings represented how he felt on the inside. All in all Francisco Goya’s life experiences, as you can see, contributed to many of his paintings. Although, all of Goya’s work was beautiful and unique, I believe “Yard with Lunatics” had the most awing affect. To me it was the most fascinating, how Goya portrayed real life situations into a piece of artwork. He included personal complications which others could relate to. This work stands as a captivating image portraying real world situations.