Image of two people viewing black and white prints from artist Francisco Goya
2021 | World Without Reason: Goya’s Los Disparates

EXHIBITION | April 6, 2021 – August 7, 2021
Gallery 03 | Borth Gallery

PROGRAM |  Wednesday, April 21, 2021 – 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Livestreamed Lecture by Janis A. Tomlinson, Los Disparates and Goya’s Late Works: Triumphs of Caprice

ABOUT | Dreamlike and wondrous, yet gravely dark and harrowing, are all descriptors associated with Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes’ (1746-1828) last major print cycle, Los Disparates (or Los Proverbios). Published in 1864, thirty-six years after the artist’s death, these masterful etchings are still considered to be enigmatic and ambiguous, eluding definitive explanation and interpretation. While the Spanish term “disparate” translates imperfectly to “folly”, in Goya’s time the term held harsher connotations closer in meaning to stupidity or madness. And yet, Los Disparates were born of specific circumstances referencing fanatic religious practices of the day, the plight of political prisoners, and the decadence of court life and the aristocracy. Within these remarkable etchings is a realm of witches, ghosts, and fantastical creatures that invade the mind; Goya’s troubled visions remain a potent warning against a world without reason.

At the time of Los Disparates’ creation between 1816 and 1824, Goya was in his last years, largely isolated from the political and intellectual life of Madrid, his outlook colored by years of national unrest and social turmoil. Spain’s period of enlightenment, resulting in economic, industrial, and agricultural reform, had come to an end when Napoleon’s armies invaded in 1808 leading to mass executions of Spanish citizens and an occupation that continued until Napoleon’s fall in 1814. The new king, Ferdinand VII, declared himself absolute monarch while reinstating the Inquisition and launching a reign of terror. Most of Spain’s best artists and writers had fled to England or France to escape the disorder of their homeland. Goya stayed and from this context completed Los Disparates prior to departing for Bordeaux, France, where he died in 1828.

BIOGRAPHY | Goya is regarded as the most important Spanish artist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Often considered the last of the Old Masters, Goya came to artistic maturity during an age of Spanish enlightenment, yet he also experienced the worst of humankind resulting in a profound disillusionment. Known for his paintings, Goya produced four masterpiece collections in the history of the graphic arts: Los Caprichos (The Caprices), Los Desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of War), La Tauromaquia (The Art of Bullfighting), and Los Disparates (The Follies).

The museum is pleased to present from its permanent collection this first edition portfolio including the eighteen etchings and title page originally published in 1864 by the Royal Academy of San Fernando. Four additional Los Disparates plates were identified following the first edition and are not included in this exhibition.

Organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU and curated by Ryan Hardesty. Funding for this exhibition is provided by the members of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU.

LOCATION | The  Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU is located in the Crimson Cube (on Wilson Road across from Martin Stadium and the CUB) on the WSU Pullman campus. For more information please contact the museum at 509-335-1910.