The Easel

To look a courtier in the mouth: how to see beyond the stiff upper lips in Goya’s portraits

The English poet Craig Raine is a highly original writer on art, providing you can tolerate weighty literary references. His assessment of Goya’s portraits (see last week’s Easel) is focused on mouths. “Mouths in nature are often wrong…There are many brilliant mouths on show here – for example, the vacant, open mouth of the Infante Don Luis de Borbón (1783). You can almost hear him trying to breathe through his blocked nose”.