Goya’s Prison at the Bowes Museum
Started in the 1960s, the Park West Gallery collection is one of the world’s finest, with artwork by masters of art history, including Francisco de Goya. Goya was considered to be among the last of the Old Masters, an artist whose work uncompromisingly captured the horrors of war and the darker side of human nature. More at Park West Gallery Artist Biographies >
DURHAM, ENGLAND — A prison scene painted by Francisco de Goya is the centerpiece of a new exhibition at the Bowes Museum which explores a landmark year in the Spanish master’s life and work. Goya became seriously ill in 1792 and lost his hearing. Turning his back on a lucrative role at the Royal Tapestry Factory, he moved to Andalusia, where his subject matter became darker and more personal.
Along with prison, he painted shipwrecks, fire, murder, robbery and the inmates of a lunatic asylum. Six bullfighting scenes also express his mood at this time. His first new pictures were set into cabinets and executed on tin plate.
Following his illness, Goya went on to create what museum director Adrian Jenkins calls “one of the defining testimonies of humanity. Out of his despair he found a freedom of artistic expression that was to define the rest of his life and reputation.”
Goya’s Prison offers the chance to study Interior of a Prison with reference to the other cabinet paintings. Works by Joshua Reynolds, Allan Ramsay and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo are also on display.
During his recovery, Goya stayed with private collector Sebastian Martinez and spent much time looking at British painting.
Goya’s Prison: the Year of Despair is on view through April 11, 2010.
For more information, please visit www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk