INSPIRED BY GOYA'S DOG | LOUISVILLE PHOTOGRAPHER


GOYA'S DROWNING DOG

We had the opportunity a little over a year ago to visit Madrid, Spain.   One of our first stops was the amazing Museo Del Prado which features many must see masterpieces including works by Goya.  One of the most famous exhibits on display are Goya's Dark Paintings including the very disturbing and cringe worthy  Saturn.  They are referred to collectively as the "Dark Paintings" because of the dark pigments and blacks he used, and also because of their somber subject matter.  

When we visited, Drowning Dog (click here to see the original version by Goya) stopped me in my tracks.  I loved the colors, the composition and the use of negative space.  In all the dark paintings this one offered some light.  When I read the title card as "Drowning Dog" I found it to be troublesome as a pet owner and in conflict with my initial impressions.  As we continued to explore the exhibit I continued to be pulled back to the enigmatic image and it has continue to stick with me.  I choose to interpret the painting as the dog swimming towards it owner and safety with a theme  redemption and hopefulness in a time of struggle.

I decided to try an inspired version with my own much loved Beckett - who doesn't like water, rain, showers, swimming, or baths - but was willing to model for the sake of art.


From the Muso del Prado:

"This scene decorated one of the walls alongside the door of the upper floor. The dog´s head appears behind a large area of color which Goya didn´t define. He is in front of an empty and naked space and looks forward toward something or someone outside the composition. This piece has been related with the idea of the inevitability of death and is, beyond doubt, the most enigmatic of the Black Paintings. Despite the multiple explanations offered by art historians, these works continue to be mysterious and enigmatic, yet they present many of the esthetic problems and moral considerations appearing in Goya´s works."


Click here to see Margitte's Son of Man, the second of my Inspired By series.


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