Culture

The 'Black Paintings' By Francisco Goya Are Deeply Disturbing, And No One Knows Why He Painted Them  

Bailey Benningfield
73.4k views 15 items

At 72 years old, artist Francisco Goya moved into a two-story home outside Madrid, Spain. A 1792 illness had left Goya deaf, and in the following years, he began to acutely feel the effects of the tumultuous political climate surrounding his life and work. Shortly after the Napoleonic Wars, with the Spanish government experiencing unrest, Goya's twilight years saw him develop a negative outlook toward humanity.

From 1819 to 1823, Goya, one of the most famous Romantic artists of the era, began painting dark scenes with unsettling themes on the walls of his home. The series came to be known as the Black Paintings. Although the works weren't intended for the public, upon Goya's death in 1828, his friend and fellow Spanish painter Antonio Brugada cataloged the paintings. Goya never officially named the artwork in the Black Paintings, so the titles come largely from art historians.

The paintings are now in the collection of the Museo del Prado in Spain.

Saturn Devouring His Son
Saturn Devouring His Son is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 'Black Paintings' By Francisco Goya Are Deeply Disturbing, And No One Knows Why He Painted Them
Photo: Francisco Goya/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
The Dog
The Dog is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 'Black Paintings' By Francisco Goya Are Deeply Disturbing, And No One Knows Why He Painted Them
Photo: Francisco Goya/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Two Old Men
Two Old Men is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 'Black Paintings' By Francisco Goya Are Deeply Disturbing, And No One Knows Why He Painted Them
Photo: Francisco Goya/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Men Reading
Men Reading is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 'Black Paintings' By Francisco Goya Are Deeply Disturbing, And No One Knows Why He Painted Them
Photo: Francisco Goya/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain