The Easel

Goya and the art of survival

Review of a new Goya biography. In his lengthy career as painter to the Bourbon court Goya produced admirable, naturalistic portraits. His modern appeal does not rest with these works but others “of blistering negativity”. The Disasters of War series depicts “universal depravity”. In his later Black Paintings Goya is the “tour guide to Hell”. Collectively, these are “a homing beacon for worried people in worlds that are subject to unpredictable changes”.