Exhibition presents a timely exploration of the horrors of battle: Goya's etchings on Spain's brutal war with Napoleon.
Berkeley, CA, October 11, 2007- The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents Goya: The Disasters of War, an exhibition of Spanish artist Francisco Goya's landmark prints about Napoleon's bloody war with Spain. This particular edition of Goya's series from BAM/PFA's permanent collection will be presented in its entirety for the first time. The exhibition, which coincides with the bicentennial of Napoleon's invasion of the Iberian peninsula, has lost none of its power over the ensuing two centuries. The etchings resonate strongly in another time of conflict: images of death, torture, and famine are depicted unflinchingly, attesting boldly to the statement that war is hell. Goya: The Disasters of War opens November 1, 2007 and runs through March 2, 2008.
The exhibition features prints made from Goya's original copper plates in 1937 (the final printing of this historic work). Though created between 1810 and 1820, The Disasters of War was first published by Madrid's Royal Academy of San Fernando in 1863, thirty-five years after Goya's death. At the time of their creation, Goya continued to work as the Court Painter for Ferdinand VII, creating official portraits of the monarchy and other dignitaries. This position required Goya to remain politically neutral regarding the war, which the Spanish monarchy had framed as a religious conflict-Spanish Catholicism defending itself against the "Antichrist" (Napoleon). The Disasters of War, however, ably demonstrates Goya's private political inclinations. The series features intense scenes of battle and its bloody aftermath as well as satirical pieces that question religious institutions and the monarchy's culpability in wartime atrocities.
In these works Goya does not lay blame solely on the ruling class, though. On Plate 74, a wolf inscribes a message that quotes “The Talking Animals," a poem written by Goya's Italian contemporary Giambattista Casti: "Misera humanidad. La culpa es tuya (Miserable humanity. The blame is yours)."
Goya: The Disasters of War anticipates BAM/PFA's upcoming exhibition Enrique Chagoya: Borderlandia (February 14 through May 18, 2008), a retrospective of the Bay Area painter and printmaker, for whom Goya has been a key influence.
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) aims to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through contemporary and historical art and film, engaging audiences from the campus, Bay Area community, and beyond. BAM/PFA is one of the largest university art museums in the United States in both size and attendance, presenting fifteen art exhibitions and five hundred film programs each year. The museum's collection of more than 15,000 works includes exceptional examples of mid-twentieth-century painting, including important works by Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, Eva Hesse, and Mark Rothko, as well as historical and contemporary Asian art, early American painting, Conceptual and contemporary international art, and California and Bay Area art. The PFA film and video collection now includes the largest group of Japanese films outside of Japan, as well as impressive holdings of Soviet silents, West Coast avant-garde cinema, seminal video art, rare animation, Central Asian productions, Eastern European cinema, and international classics.
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Additional support is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the Bernard Osher Foundation, Packard Humanities Institute, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Columbia Foundation, the Christensen Fund, and other private foundations and corporations, and our individual donors and members. Major endowment support has been provided by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and by George Gund III.
University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
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