Contact: Victoria Winkelman
SMU Meadows School of the Arts
(214) 768-3785

December 17, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- The Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University will present Goya’s Mastery in Prints: “La Tauromaquia” and “Los Disparates,” an exhibition of first editions of two important print series by Francisco de Goya (1746-1828), from January 27 through April 1, 2002. “La Tauromaquia,” which the Meadows Museum acquired in 1967 but has never before exhibited, includes 33 prints and illustrates the art of bullfighting in Spain. “Los Disparates” is a much more personal series of dreamlike images. It was originally published as a set of 18 prints in 1864; four additional prints were discovered and published in 1877. Both series were completed in the last years of Goya’s life and reflect the mastery he achieved in etching as well as the artistic evolution of his printing capabilities.

“La Tauromaquia” is believed to have been executed between 1814 and 1816. The first 13 prints depict the evolution of bullfighting under the Arab rule of Spain, from the 8th to the 15th centuries. They also include important Spanish Christian knights, heroes and kings, such as El Cid and Emperor Charles V, showing their courage and ability in the bullring. In the remaining 20 prints of the series, Goya moves away from the interpretation of historical events to focus on the present. He illustrates different parts of the bullfight and features famous contemporary bullfighters, banderilleros and picadores. These prints are more lively, dynamic and detailed, reflecting the artist’s preference for recording contemporary Spanish society rather than historical events.

“Los Disparates,” created between 1815 and 1824, was Goya’s last major project in printmaking and is considered his best for the virtuosity in engraving, control of color tonalities and use of aquatint and drypoint. Because of its highly personal nature, this series is also considered the most difficult to understand and interpret. The word “disparates” has no direct translation in English; in Spanish, it alludes to a combination of the absurd, irrational and impossible. Goya was over 70 years old when he completed the series, almost totally deaf, and living a lonely, solitary life on the outskirts of Madrid, away from the tumultuous life of the city. He spent his last years retreating into his interior world, painting almost exclusively for himself. These works reveal a world of fantasy and darkness, filled with images of fear, violence and sorrow: a faceless figure shrouded in a robe being swallowed by a monster, a woman being kidnapped by a horse, a uniformed man falling into an abyss. “Los Disparates” was not published until 1864, 36 years after Goya’s death.

The series are part of the permanent collection of the Meadows Museum, which houses the most comprehensive and one of the largest collections of Spanish art outside Spain. The museum also owns first editions of Goya’s two other major print series, “Los Caprichos” (The Caprices) and “Los Desastres de la Guerra” (The Disasters of War), both of which have been displayed in the past four years.

A circular wall has been constructed in the museum’s special exhibition gallery to display the 33 prints of “La Tauromaquia” in sequence. The circular space echoes the feel and essence of a Spanish bullring. An aisle connects the main gallery with an adjacent corridor, where “Los Disparates” is displayed.

A companion publication, providing an in-depth explanation of both series and written by exhibit curator Mark Roglán, Ph.D., is available for $5 in the museum’s gift store.

Admission to the Goya exhibition is free. The Meadows Museum is located at 5900 Bishop Boulevard on the SMU campus. Museum hours are 10-5 Mon., Tues., Fri. and Sat.; 10-8 Thurs.; and 1-5 Sun. The museum is closed Wednesdays and holidays. Parking is available in the museum’s underground garage. For more information, please call the Meadows Museum at 214-768-2516. Members of the media may obtain a copy of the exhibition brochure text by calling 214-768-3785.


Francisco de Goya is often considered the father of modern art, and his works mark the beginning of 19th century realism. Goya was born on March 30, 1746 in the Spanish village of Fuendetodos. After serving an apprenticeship with a painter and spending time in Italy, he was commissioned to paint frescoes for a cathedral in Saragossa, Spain; this project helped to establish Goya’s artistic reputation. He then worked at the royal tapestry factory, where he painted his first genre scenes of everyday life. Goya also began to achieve popular success as a portraitist, and became court painter to Charles IV in 1789.

In 1792 Goya suffered a serious illness that left him permanently deaf. From that point on, he turned increasingly to fantasy and social commentary. In 1799 Goya published The Caprices, a series of 80 satirical etchings criticizing the existing social order; however, these prints proved so controversial that he withdrew them from the market. During the Napoleonic invasion and the Spanish War of Independence from 1808 to 1814, he served as painter to the French court in Spain; at the same time he began The Disasters of War, a series of 82 etchings realistically portraying the atrocities of the war.

The Spanish monarchy was restored under Ferdinand VII in 1814, marking the return of absolutism and traditionalism to government. Though he was pardoned for serving the French and his salary was restored, Goya received no more commissions from the Spanish king. He was in fact called before the Inquisition to explain his earlier portrait of The Naked Maja, one of the few nudes in Spanish art at that time. Goya became increasingly depressed and withdrawn, living in seclusion in a house outside Madrid from 1819 to 1824. In 1824, he voluntarily exiled himself to France. Goya died in Bordeaux on April 6, 1828.

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